Superheroes are a huge part of our modern popular culture. Unfortunately this grand universe doesn’t include many women. In fact, only one quarter of comic book characters are female. In our universe, however, female superheroes abound.
Women make up the majority of caregivers in America – more than 60 percent. A family caregiver is someone who provides unpaid physical and/or emotional care for a loved one. Like their fellow caped crusaders, female family caregivers are mighty:
- The average family caregiver is a 49-year-old woman caring for her mother.
- On average, a family caregiver provides 24.4 hours of care per week.
- Unpaid family caregiving is valued at 470 billion dollars per year.
Like many superheroes, much of a caregiver’s best work goes unnoticed. This includes daily tasks such as picking up groceries and ensuring that a loved one takes their daily medication.
This November, as we celebrate National Family Caregivers Month, we recognize and honor family caregivers with the theme “Supercharge Your Caregiving.” It is a time to consider how we may better support the 43.5 million people in the United States who take on family caregiving responsibilities each year.
More must be done to support these indispensable members of our families and our society. Batman had his Batmobile. The Black Panther had his Vibranium-lined suit. Our caregivers are no less in need of supportive technologies and policies that provide the information, resources and flexibility they need to make their worlds a better place. For example, family caregivers need access to paid family and medical leave that will allow them to take care of loved ones without sacrificing their income and well-being. Caregivers also need tools like mobile health apps that make it easier to access, compile and coordinate health information.
This Thanksgiving, as you sit down with loved ones and consider what and for whom you are grateful, consider the caregiving superheroes in your life. You will likely not have to look far.Back