Giving thanks for family and for caregivers

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we come together to give thanks for the abundance and goodness in our lives and for each other — the family and friends who sustain us. November is also National Caregivers Month.

We assist one another in many ways as we grow and age. Parents raise children often with the help of grandparents and extended family. That natural occurrence is accepted and celebrated by our society.

For the eldest members in our families, not only can there be a stigma in accepting help, there’s less recognition of the one providing care. Caregiving for our elders also needs to be acknowledged and supported.

Family members who help the older members of their family often do not realize that they are considered “family caregivers.” It’s simply what we do for one another. However, it can be exhausting to struggle alone — or nearly alone — with the multiple needs of an ailing spouse or aging parents. Yet, it’s a nearly universal struggle.

Former First Lady and caregiver advocate, Rosalynn Carter, observed: “There are only four kinds of people in the world — those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”

At Community Caregivers Inc. we are grateful this holiday season for the dedication of family caregivers. Without them, services provided through the public and not-for-profit health and human services sectors would buckle and collapse. There simply are not enough programs, services, and facilities to replace what families do for their loved ones — and with little fanfare.  

In 2010, Kathy Greenlee, former United States Assistant Secretary for Aging, said: “Families are the core of the system. They always have been. They are both the center and the soul of the system. We need family caregivers — we need them because there is no replacement. You can’t make this a commodity. But we also need them economically as a nation, because we can’t afford to buy this care from strangers.”

As crucial as they are, families need a lot more support than they usually get. The saying goes that family caregiving is a marathon, not a sprint.

It’s important for caregivers to reserve strength for the long haul. One of the strategies for the long haul is to enlist a team of helpers.

Community Caregivers has as its mission support for family caregivers. So, if you are helping a loved one who needs support to live at home, we hope to be on your team. Despite our desire to “do it all ourselves,” forming a team of support and care — around your loved one and you — can make a positive difference on your journey.

Through our volunteer network of “neighbors helping neighbors,” Community Caregivers can provide rides, friendly visits, and help with shopping or errands. We also offer support groups, information, caregiver education, and referrals. All of this is provided without charge. Call us at (518) 456-2898 to find out if we can be of assistance to your family.


Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New  Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Our funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. To find out more about our services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit or call us at (518) 456-2898.

Editor’s note: Linda Miller is the Outreach and Education coordinator for Community Caregivers.