Honoring and Supporting Caregivers in the Month of November

November 19, 2015 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: November 19, 2015

A happy senior African American couple outside a car. The man is sitting in a wheelchair and his wife is standing beside him with her arm around his shoulder.

I was supporting a friend — just doing my thing and someone told me I was a “C-A-R-E-G-I-V-E-R”.  So I was a caregiver this whole time without even realizing it and, on top of that, without realizing the challenges that people deal with when they’re really sick. Now, I’m ready to do something about this … — Marilyn

Marilyn holds a senior position in a southeastern Michigan hospital system. She is an informed health care consumer. Even with her experience, she found herself in uncharted territory when her friend was diagnosed with a serious illness. Together, they were forced to navigate through a maze of care options, settings, and medication with little information or support. Unfortunately, this is a story heard all too often.

The number of people providing “informal caregiving” is growing rapidly as baby boomers age and face the long-term, advanced illnesses that our healthcare system is not equipped to handle. Each day, about 10,000 people turn 65.

November is National Caregivers Month a time when the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care and its members recognize the acts of those selfless caregivers around the country. We reflect on how we can increase support for and awareness of them and their loved ones.

 How can you help?

  1. Recognize caregivers even though they are “doing what they always do,” as Marilyn put it. Social Security and the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care recently participated in a celebration of family caregivers hosted by the Alameda County Care Alliance. The event honored 200 people as caregivers. It was quite a celebration!
  1. Encourage people, like Marilyn, who take action. She is part of a movement led by people living with advanced illnesses, their caregivers, and spiritual leaders in southeastern Michigan. On November 15, ten churches in the Southeast Michigan Alliance to Transform Advanced Care dedicated their Sunday service to caregivers.
  1. Know your resources and plan ahead. According to NPR’s Your Money and Your Life: Smart Saving Tools, almost half of working Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. Fortunately, Social Security helps the public plan for the future by providing estimated benefits with the Retirement Estimator. Social Security’s financial support provides peace of mind to millions of Americans, many of whom care for a loved one with an advanced illness.

The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care and Social Security share a vision to protect the most vulnerable individuals and ensure that they receive person-centered care that honors their dignity. The Coalition is leading the national conversation on financial concerns for those with advanced illnesses and their caregivers. In celebration of this month and the beginning of the holiday season, the Coalition asks that you join the movement and find ways to get involved or simply let caregivers know how much you appreciate their efforts.

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About the Author

Jon Broyles, Executive Director, Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC)

Jon Broyles, Executive Director, Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC)


  1. kontakt l.

    Why this site don’t have different languages?

    • Ray F.

      We do! For Social Security information in other languages, please visit our Multilanguage Gateway web page.

  2. kontakt l.

    Why this site don’t have different languages?

  3. tim d.

    how do I apply for caregiver ssi financial help please email me with info thankyou

    • elaine

      how does someone apply for caregiver ssi financial help please email me with info thankyou

  4. Chris N.

    CARE GIVERS: ROCK. 2012 I was in a near fatal crash,flown to UC Hospital in Ohio. I and my friend fought hard to live. My girlfriend and my friend helped me with my physical therapy, and my girlfriend helped me with home physical therapy,and the 4 more surgeries i after the wreck. Regina at the time of my wreck was also taking care of her mom who had Demetcha. She also lost her father a few months before. Been 3 years and she has been terrific through all of my disabilities. And I also lost my brother and father less than a year that i finally got to come home. Her and Ellen and there family are my HERO’S. Lord please help all of us through these time of needs and our family and friends. You don’t get to make the calls on your life. U or other people can change your life before you can do a thing about it. Shelley my passenger has brain damage and pain still from her injuries. We both stay in touch and i go see her as much as I can.

  5. Igoti

    My mother cared for my father for over 40 years after he had a heart attack in 1975 dad is gone now. I would have had to move in with her and she would have had to start all over with her youngest son had it not been for a very sweet woman whom I fell in love with about a year before I got so sick I couldn’t work or live in my own house and care for myself. social security has done nothing for me in two years. Has paid for nothing. I worked for forty years and I’m not yet 55 years old yet. my life is a shambles and I only have one person to thank for that, my lovely lady. I know sometime I will win the pittance payment from social security when they have finished this political game till then I cannot give god thanks enough for my guardian angel in my time of need. Had it been that I needed to wait on social security I would surly be dead. before I got anything I needed to live and or survive. god bless the health care givers. Paid or not paid they are the real heros when it comes to taking care of the needy. the government drags their feet so long people give up. some even die. these people turning down people sighning up for ssi di need to remember someday they may be on the receiving end of this foot dragging routine. god bless.
    from a person that ended up almost dying on 20 different ocations and has every organ in my body is damaged yet I am still able to work according to SSI DI. if I was 210 pounds in my 5’5″ frame I would be able to collect a check, because I would be too fat to work. damned luck of the draw cant get fat no matter what I eat. oh well Ill stay slim and mabe before I die I’ll collect one check to pay my sweet heart for all her kindness.

  6. DAVID m.

    I found out the hard way that I was Bipolar I (severe) in 1997. It is classified as a mental illness but has a host of physical symptoms. I tried living by myself, but I couldn’t. I have very little memory, uncontrollable tremors and suffer from deep depression and overactive mania. My brother took me in and cares for me. I would probably be dead by now if he wasn’t in my life. I love him dearly and am healthy and happy because of him.

  7. Cynthia C.

    Lovely article that acknowledges the tireless efforts of those that Give So Much, & ask for very little…
    These are the real heroes & sheros!
    Thanks Jon for the super work that CTAC is forging in the USA!

  8. Romo

    So, if you are a caregiver aren’t you suppose to get paid?

    • Diane

      Most people don’t get paid, but are rewarded with the great feeling of helping someone in need. God takes care of those who do His work here on earth for Him. So, He knows about you and has great rewarrds for you someday. Keep strong, pray and have faith.

  9. bettyg

    this is the FIRST time i’ve not been a caregiver for 41 yrs with my husband’s mother, 2 children, my 2 parents, my sister w/breast/liver cancer, and sister-in-law with early onset alzheimer’s disease dying at age 40 due to it.

    the weight of the world is off my shoulders; does that pull us down.

    i’d do it all over again, but sure would be nice to space these things out without THREE at a time being in critical care!

    thanks for the recogition. i agree with the person above, caregivers DESERVE to be paid even though each of us is doing this for our LABOR OF LOVE, “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, til death due us part….”

    bettyg, iowa caregiver…just ME for a change 😉

    • tammy

      Wonderful woman you are. My husband also passed and I to miss mine always why I say a wonderful woman cause some woman get such resentment against husbands which I wouldn’t cause my vow says to honor in sickness and health. I just wonder why some women get angry but maybe they Dont have the strenght. Or maybe I’m to judgemental

  10. Regina G.

    Dear John and C-TAC

    Thank you for reminding us of the many “unsung heroes” who are caregivers and honoring them with the faith-based community.

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