Homewatch Caregiver's WNC Family Caregiver Award

I'm very honored to be the recipient of Homewatch Caregivers "Family Caregiver of the Year Award," which was given to the top three family caregivers in Western North Carolina by an independent review panel from local leaders at Land of Sky Regional Council, Buncombe County Council on Aging and Project C.A.R.E.(North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services: Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty) A big thank-you to Linda McLean of Little Pearls for nominating me! (see one of Linda's Little Pearl videos on our homepage!)   

The award was a beautiful and unexpected gift to me. Huge appreciation to Homewatch for taking the time to shine a light on Family Caregivers in our area and across the country. It is wonderful to have our stories told and to have a national organization shine a light on family caregivers. The statistics*, alarming as they are regarding the number of family caregivers in our country, do not remotely show the human reality of day-to-day life and sacrifices people make to stand by their loved ones in times of medical crises. Statistics outline the economic impact, the vast number of family caregivers, the work and career issues and the impact on the health of the family caregiver themselves as they work to help their loved one.  Statistics alone, however, are academic and far removed from the wheelchair at the family dinner table, the anxiety over the pile of unpaid bills, the lost dreams and opportunities, the hours at a hospital bedside, the social isolation, the relationship challenges, the slow onset of stress related illnesses, and, one must not forget, the bright, genuine smile that has learned the value of small things and little victories, the strength of spirit and will that keeps doing what must be done, and the love that bears all things. Thank you, Homewatch Caregivers, for putting faces and personal stories to these statistics.

Here is a link to the Homewatch newsletter, which tells about all three recipients (elder care, spousal care, and special needs child care are all represented), including Anne and Jose Cortez, also of Asheville (she is a cancer survivor now caring for her husband who has an inoperable brain tumor) who received the top honor this year!  Blessings to this family, who will be sent on to be reviewed for the National Family Caregiver of the Year award!  The third recipient is Jessica Young, who is a 24 year-old recent college graduate, who is now a full-time caregiver for her mother.  Jessica's mother is very disabled, and has multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.  

*Statistics on Family Caregivers: From the National Family Caregivers Association

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