National Family Caregivers Month: Celebrating the Selfless



National Family Caregivers Month: Celebrating the Selfless


November heralds a time of reflection and appreciation for the unsung heroes among us—those dedicated individuals who lovingly provide care for family members confronting health challenges. As we welcome National Family Caregivers Month, let's embrace this opportunity to celebrate the profound impact these caregivers have on the well-being of their loved ones and the health of our communities.

This time of recognition, spanning from the 1st to the 30th of November, is not just an occasion marked in the United States. The ethos of supporting family caregivers resonates worldwide, with events such as Carers Week in June and National Carer’s Rights Day on November 23rd in the UK, underscoring the global movement to empower those who give so much of themselves.

The impact of caring cannot be underestimated – these shocking statistics affect the UK alone, with similar figures globally:

  • The most recent Census 2021 puts the estimated number of unpaid carers at 5 million in England and Wales. This, together with ONS Census data for Scotland and Northern Ireland, suggests that the number of unpaid carers across the UK is 5.7 million.
  • This means that around 9% of people are providing unpaid care. However, Carers UK research in 2022 estimates the number of unpaid carers could be as high as 10.6 million (Carers UK, Carers Week 2022 research report).
  • 4.7% of the population in England and Wales are providing 20 hours or more of care a week.
  • Over the period 2010-2020, every year, 4.3 million people became unpaid carers – 12,000 people a day (Petrillo and Bennett, 2022).
  • 59% of unpaid carers are women (Census 2021). Women are more likely to become carers and to provide more hours of unpaid care than men. More women than men provide high intensity care at ages when they would expect to be in paid work (Petrillo and Bennett, 2022)
  • One in seven people in the workplace in the UK are juggling work and care (Carers UK, Juggling Work and Care, 2019).
  • Between 2010-2020, people aged 46-65 were the largest age group to become unpaid carers. 41% of people who became unpaid carers were in this age group (Petrillo and Bennett, 2022).

The economic impact of caring

  • Unpaid carers in England and Wales contribute a staggering £445 million to the economy every day – that’s £162 billion per year (Petrillo and Bennett, 2023).
  • The value of unpaid care is equivalent to a second NHS in England and Wales, which in 2020/21 received an estimated £164 billion in funding (Petrillo and Bennett, 2023).

As we acknowledge the physical, emotional, and financial commitments of family caregivers, let us consider how we might contribute to nurturing their vital role in our healthcare continuum. Whether you're a medical professional, a holistic health enthusiast, or a student of medicine, there are meaningful ways to offer support:

·        Extend a Heartfelt Thanks: A simple act of gratitude can uplift a caregiver's spirit. Acknowledge the sacrifices they make every day in the service of familial love.

·        Lend a Helping Hand: Consider offering your time to a caregiver in need. Assist with daily errands or provide them with a well-deserved break.

·        Foster Community Connections: Encourage caregivers to join support groups, whether in person or online, creating spaces where experiences and wisdom can be shared.

·        Champion Caregiver Rights: Advocate for policies and legislation that provide greater support to caregivers, such as expanded family leave or financial incentives.

·        Support with Generosity: Contributions to organizations that offer resources and respite for caregivers can make a significant difference.


The inception of National Family Caregivers Month in 1997 by President Bill Clinton marked a pivotal moment in bringing to light the invaluable contributions of family caregivers. This annual observance has since blossomed into a nationwide call to action, promoting the importance of caregiver health, ensuring access to essential resources, and advancing supportive policies.

In the UK, Carers UK has a vast amount of incredibly helpful information and resources for carers – including Carer’s benefits, similarly, Carers Canada, Carers Australia, Eurocarers are all excellent organisations providing much needed support.

In sharing the stories and triumphs of family caregivers across social media this month, please think of using these relevant hashtags which help to raise visibility and help us all join a larger conversation celebrating these everyday heroes. Your voice can amplify the message of appreciation and advocacy for those who give so much in the name of care and compassion.

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