November is a time for giving thanks as we break bread with loved ones. It’s also a time for recognizing the many contributions of care partners and the value of hospice and palliative care.
Two observances related to the health and well-being of seniors are held during November: National Family Caregivers Month and National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.
National Family Caregivers Month
Each year, friends, family members and neighbors around the country give of their time and compassion as volunteer care partners for older adults. National Family Caregivers Month recognizes those important contributions and raises awareness among the public of the critical role of volunteer care partners.
The Caregiver Action Network selects the theme for National Family Caregivers Month and leads the annual celebration. In addition to increasing awareness about the issues facing care partners, the month-long observance celebrates the hard work of individuals who provide care for friends, neighbors and loved ones.
Various activities during the month are designed with the goal of educating care partners about the resources available to them and generating support for care partners.
The event’s theme for 2017 is “Caregiving Around the Clock,” which highlights the fact that the needs of an individual who requires care do not end. In addition, acting as a volunteer care partner can take a toll on other areas of life, including work and family responsibilities. Organizations such as the American Stroke Association are commemorating the month by offering resources to assist care partners.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Month
For individuals who have terminal illnesses — along with their loved ones and other care partners — local hospice organizations provide invaluable services, including palliative care and grief counseling.
During National Hospice and Palliative Care Month each November, hospice agencies and groups such as the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Hospice Foundation of America host events and work to increase awareness among members of the public about the services provided by hospice organizations.
The goal of hospice care is to focus on achieving the best possible quality of life in the present moment. Rather than signifying that someone has given up on life, using hospice services indicates an embrace of meaningful moments with loved ones and gaining the maximum possible enjoyment each day. Research has also found that palliative care and hospice services may even help prolong life for some people who receive services.