The everyday needs of a child born with a birth defect can be challenging to parents or family members caring him or her. For the month of November, these family caregivers, who improve the quality of life for millions of people, are celebrated.
CAN is a non-profit organization that provides free education, resources and support to family caregivers, including those parents caring for children with special needs. In a study listed on their website, 80% of caregivers believe their role has given them more meaning in their lives, but 85% are “exhausted,” 82% “frustrated” and 70% “overwhelmed.”
The role of caregivers often means putting their loved ones’ needs over their own. This selflessness can face its share of challenges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the following tips to maintain the safety and health of caregivers and the ones they provide for:
- Keep informed about special need requirements
- Seek support from local or online groups that provide information and programs
- Be an advocate
- Be empowering and focus on what your child can do (rather than what they cannot)
- Practice self-care
Celebrating a Lifetime of Care
Parents who have a child born with a brain, spinal or congenital birth defect are dedicated to a lifetime of care that exceed beyond childhood. In fact, it has been reported that 80% of long-term care is provided by family members or friends.
Honoring National Family Caregivers Month is one small way to show appreciation and support for parents who are caring for a child with a birth defect or other special needs. Suggestions to lend a helping hand include:
- Help a family caregiver at the holidays with decorations, meal preparation or addressing holiday cards
- Take a few minutes to write a letter, or to send flowers or a card of appreciation
- Offer tickets to a comedy show, movie or simply a few hours of time to allow the caregiver a break for themselves
Small gestures can often have big impact for caregivers — not only for the month of November, but year-round.
Find Your Support
There is support and resources available for those who are caring for the ongoing, special needs of their child. There is also legal support for parents whose children were born with a birth defect. Multiple studies have shown the link between certain medications and birth defects.
If you were taking medication during pregnancy and your child was born with a life-long defect, we may be able to help you seek compensation. We want to help give you the support you need and address the legal options available. There is no obligation and the case evaluation is free. Contact us today.
image credit: CDC