November 9, 2012
Recognizing au pairs during National Caregivers Month

Each year in November, the President of the United States makes a proclamation to acknowledge National Caregivers Month. President Obama recognized the individuals whose roles it is to give care. “With profound compassion and selflessness, these caregivers sustain American men, women, and children at their most vulnerable moments, and through their devoted acts, they exemplify the best of the American spirit. During National Family Caregivers Month, we pay tribute to the individuals throughout America who ensure the health and well-being” of those for whom they care.

Caregivers come in all shapes and sizes. Janet Cromer, RN, LMHC provided a few profiles in a recent article in Psychology Today. “That young mother who campaigns for sensory integration therapy for her two year old autistic son is a caregiver. The eighty year old man across the table from you at Mc Donald’s is a caregiver. Watch how he feeds his wife, who has Alzheimer’s, dainty bites of her burger with a smile. The newlywed wife guiding her Marine husband as he practices crossing the street safely is a caregiver. Since he suffered a severe traumatic brain injury inIraq, their lives have been in turmoil.”

All areas of care giving have countless stories of heroes. The au pair program, in which young people from overseas live with and care for American children, is no exception. There is the story of Simone from Switzerlandwho cares for 20 month old Orson with autism who taught herself sign language and extends lessons from speech and behavior therapy into play time at home. And Lisa from Germany who cares for a child who is very mentally and physically challenged and requires full care for her activities of daily living – Lisa attends therapies with her, is an advocate for her in the classroom and does it all with a smile, a positive attitude and lots of energy. And Nadia fromDenmarkwho cares for six year old Trudie who has severe emotional challenges and anger issues made worse by the death of her father. Nadia is an exceptional caregiver, keeps everyone on a even keel

It takes a special person to be a caregiver – patience, empathy, a big heart. Day in and day out caregivers fulfill a vital role and provide continuous care for those who need it most. Take a moment this November to thank someone who provides care for your loved ones.

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