This November, Honor Washington’s Family Caregivers
OLYMPIA — Washington state honors more than 860,000 unpaid family and kinship caregivers every November. Caregivers are the backbone of our long-term services and supports. Every year, they provide countless hours of essential help to loved ones, friends and neighbors with chronic illnesses, disabilities and other special needs.
In a proclamation commemorating November as Family Caregiver Month, Governor Jay Inslee honored Washington’s family caregivers for the countless hours devoted to their loved ones’ care.
“Washington state is recognized nationally for its unique approach to providing services to support family caregivers and ranked by AARP as a leader in the nation for long-term care services and supports,” the proclamation reads.
This year’s Family Caregiver Month theme is “Caregiving Happens,” and we encourage all Washingtonians to praise the service and support that unpaid caregivers provide to their family members and friends who need care. Family caregivers manage health emergencies, juggle priorities and suffer isolation. Washingtonians caring for loved ones may be able to receive support for doing so, which can help ease the burden of caregiving.
Because many family caregivers do not see themselves as caregivers, they do not seek out supports and services available to them through Washington’s caregiver programs. Especially now, these programs can help reduce the burden on caregivers while helping their loved ones remain in their homes for a longer period.
If you are helping care for a family member or friend, you are not alone. We have a variety of ways to find information, resources and people who can help:
- Searching for effective education, training, advice or referral? Washington’s Community Living Connections will link you to personalized care and support options. You can visit their website at waclc.org or call at 855–567–0252.
- Talk to caring people for practical caregiving information and help finding local resources/services by calling your local Community Living Connections/Area Agency on Aging or Home and Community Services Office.
- The Family Caregiver Support Program is a service available to unpaid caregivers of adults who need care. Staff at local offices throughout Washington can give you practical information and advice and connect you to local resources/services that meet your needs. Services are free or low cost.
- Medicaid Alternative Care (MAC) and Tailored Supports for Older Adults (TSOA) are two programs offering free services for unpaid family caregivers of adults (age 55 and older), or to people without unpaid caregivers. Contact your local Community Living Connections/Area Agency on Aging or Home and Community Services Offices.
- By Cynthia Shipley, DSHS Aging and Long-Term Support Administration