The vital role of caregivers extends beyond those they care for. Caregivers contribute a vital service to their communities, often at unexpected cost to their finances, mental and physical health. With a skyrocketing elderly population, and continuing advances in modern medicine, the need for caregivers will only continue to increase. However, as a global community, we owe it to caregivers as well as those in need of care, to develop support systems and infrastructure that promote both the health of carer and recipient. This would empower individuals to stay healthier for longer, feel less isolated, and have the tools needed to deal with the emotional challenges/ramifications of their declining health or advancing age. Some actionable examples include access to safe, accessible activities and transportation, as well as wellness programs that focus on mobility, intellectual stimulation, and a feeling of inclusion on one’s community.
For the caregiver, we support increased access to community guides and counselors to aid in the steep learning curve experienced when caregiving is new, and to help families create strategies for supporting both the dependent and the primary caretaker. This includes guidance from condition-specific specialists, financial experts, support groups, and social programs that increase both the efficiency and efficacy of caregivers. We envision a world where greater societal connectedness and technological innovation prevents both care recipient and caregiver from being bound in isolation, frustration, and guilt, and instead allows them to enjoy and process the sacred moments they share by being fully equipped to face the challenges.