Contributed by Hal Chapel, CEO and Co-Founder of Lotsa Helping Hands
At Lotsa Helping Hands, we are committed to shedding light on the needs of caregivers across our country. At some point in our lives, most of us will become caregivers. But the truth is, most of those who care for a loved one do not even consider themselves caregivers.
65 Million Caregivers
This week as the Supreme Court considers the legality of the Affordable Care Act, attention is focused again on the many healthcare issues facing Americans today. Over 65 million parents, children, grandparents, sisters, brothers, partners, friends, and neighbors silently go about their daily lives caring for a loved one facing a medical crisis, continuing long-term care, or simply aging in place.
Regardless of where you stand on the government’s role in healthcare, no one argues the fact that there will never be enough money to support these 65 million caregivers who ensure their loved ones get the medical attention, nutrition and rest that they need – not to mention the emotional and physical support that results in better and speedier outcomes.
Who Supports the Caregivers?
Who takes care of these caregivers? Who provides the lost financial resources when their loved one loses his or her income – or when the caregiver must take off from work in order to tend to their loved ones’ needs? Who takes care of the daily household needs when there is suddenly a medical crisis? Who provides food for the children, helps them with homework, drives them to after school activities? Who offers respite to these caregivers when they feel isolated, trapped, guilty, and hopeless?
We’ve grown up with images from the past when family lived nearby and friends and neighbors felt an unquestioned responsibility to help each other out. Today, you’re more likely to correspond with someone via email than run into him or her at the mailbox. Yet here at Lotsa Helping Hands we are profoundly inspired from witnessing the willingness of people all around us to offer help to those in their community who need it. Whether that community consists of the family’s circle of family members, friends, and colleagues or their broader community of religious members, neighbors, and townspeople, there has been a cultural shift in how we support one another – from teenagers and young adults committed to public service, to aging boomers and retirees ready to offer their experience, wisdom, and time.
The Power of Community
Ultimately, each of us is not an island. We grow through our connections with others, and we will continue to survive and thrive because of folks who come together, “in community”, to help one another. The most amazing thing is that those providing help often report getting more from the experience than those receiving it.
At Lotsa Helping Hands, we envision a world where, through community, everyone who needs help receives it, and everyone who wants to lend a hand can. That’s why we are launching our blog – each week we’ll be sharing insights from our own team, stories of caring communities here at Lotsa, as well as special guest posts from our partners and bloggers in the caregiving world. Look to our blog to get at the heart of what Lotsa is about: peace of mind, support, and community. And we’ll look to you to comment, share and keep the conversation going.