As a physician, I recognize the great, unsung heroes in healthcare and in life are caregivers. These are family members and friends who provide much needed assistance to an adult who is elderly or who has a limiting health condition or disability.
They may provide physical, financial, spiritual and social support to their loved one, friend or family member. They do this with a sense of duty. They are the ultimate volunteers.
As a doctor, I appreciate how invaluable they are to my patients’ wellbeing. Friends and family caregivers make it physically possible for these patients to come to the office, fill prescriptions and attend lab tests. They fill in the information gaps when a patient is forgetful or is no longer capable to make their own decisions. They are the patients’ advocates.
Without caregivers, I may not know that the patient isn’t eating properly, taking medications as instructed or coping well in the community.
Caregivers are true heroes; they have answered the call, stepping in when help was needed. They have accepted a role that they may not have expected or been prepared for. Unlike mothers and fathers, they are not celebrated with their own special day.
So it’s appropriate that next week is Family Caregivers Week, and I’ll be speaking at the Paetzold Health Education Centre, Jim Pattison Pavilion in Vancouver General Hospital on Thursday, May 12th at 7 p.m. as part of A Celebration for Family Caregivers.
The event is sponsored by the United Way, the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia, the Parkinson Society British Columbia, Vancouver Coastal Health, and the Stroke Recovery Association of British Columbia. It is a celebration of the important role of caregivers – to offer encouragement, support and inspiration. There will be live music and artwork created by caregivers and care recipients.
To RSVP for free but limited seating call 604-877-4650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.