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Column: Caregivers: The Selfless Citizens

The National Family Caregivers Association announced that November is National Caregivers Month, and Senior Services of Alexandria salutes all the loving people who care so tenderly for their loved ones. The caregivers are husbands, wives, daughters, sons, other relatives and friends. All, who most-likely have full-time jobs and a host of responsibilities themselves, lovingly take on this duty. Too, we salute the professional caregivers who care for complete strangers, but do so while maintaining respect for the recipient and perserving his or her dignity. These good people are unsung heroes who do not seek praise and glory, but the community should never ignore their hard work.

It is important to recognize that the need to provide care giving to the elderly who can no longer care for themselves can affect anyone at any time. Daily lives suddenly change. And, sad, but true, none of us likes to think about becoming the one needing to receive care from a family member or professional. What if we need help dressing, and with personal hygiene, or cooking or just moving around in our homes? It can be a big surprise when the tables turn. Yet, it is something to think about and think about seriously.

Senior Services of Alexandria is devoted to helping others and it is appropriate for us to recognize the good and kind people who are known as “caregivers” but who are selfless people.

Senior Service of Alexandria is also actively involved in providing home care referrals for families and individuals who need care-giving assistance. Through our Resource Center, we work with individuals, families, professional caregivers and caregiver companies to match the right person with the senior. We refer only those caregivers, whom we would choose for our own loved ones, after a series of interviews, background checks and reference checks.

It was President Bill Clinton who recognized November as the month to honor caregivers in 1994. Such people are to be remembered and honored for their dedicated work.

President Obama has issued a proclamation this month honoring all caregivers. “I encourage all Americans to pay tribute to those who provide for the health and well-being of their family members, friends and neighbors.”

On behalf of the staff and board of directors of Senior Services of Alexandria, we salute America’s caregivers in general and those in Alexandria in particular, true super stars all.

Janet Barnett is executive director of Senior Services of Alexandria.