Healthfirst Shines Light on National Family Caregivers Month

Nov 17, 2023

Regional Health Plan Honors All Caregivers and Offers Tips for Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

In observance of National Family Caregivers Month this November, Healthfirst, New York’s largest not-for profit health plan, is raising awareness about the important role that caregivers play in the lives of many New Yorkers. Running errands, providing transportation to and from a doctor’s office, or helping a loved one with most day-to-day activities are among the simple tasks that qualify someone as a caregiver. According to the New York State Department for the Aging (DFTA), New York City is home to more than 1.3 million caregivers, many of whom do not identify themselves as caregivers and therefore often do not seek support.

“Healthfirst encourages those who care for a family member, friend, or neighbor to honor their contributions and take a first step in self-identifying as a caregiver,” said Tamara Romero, Vice President of Long-Term Care products at Healthfirst. “This National Family Caregivers Month, we salute the millions of people who provide commitment and invaluable care to many of New York’s most vulnerable individuals. At Healthfirst, we know caring for someone else can be fulfilling and exhausting at the same time. We are here to help support our members and their caregivers.”

Healthfirst Associate Vice President and Medical Director Dr. Karen Costley offers the following tips on how to avoid caregiver burnout:

  1. Prioritize yourself.
    While caring for someone else, sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. Remember to maintain a regular exercise schedule, even if it means just taking a 15-minute outdoor walk.
  2. Take a break.
    Providing care to someone can often feel like a 24/7 job. At least once a week, break out of your routine and enjoy yourself. It’s OK to ask for help, especially if your mental health is lacking.
  3. Seek support.
    Support groups are included in many of the resources available to help caregivers. Seek help if you need support. Know that you are not in it alone.

This year’s theme for National Family Caregiver Month is #CaregiversConnect, which aims to encourage making connections to share info, experiences, and support. With this theme in mind, Healthfirst will host a celebratory event at their Jamaica, Queens, community office on November 28 to honor caregivers. The event’s purpose will be twofold: (1) to celebrate the critical role of both family and professional caregivers in maintaining the health and quality of life of their loved ones, and (2) to offer insights on how caregivers can manage caregiver stress (and accept help) by “sharing the care.”