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November 2023: Family Caregivers Month

WHEREAS, Michigan is home to an estimated 1.4 million family caregivers based on Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (MiBRFSS) data from 2021, with one in five (21.4%) Michigan adults currently providing care to family members or friends; and,

WHEREAS, family caregivers provide a broad range of assistance for older adults, service members, veterans, people with disabilities, and those with serious and/or chronic health conditions, yet many family members don’t think of themselves as caregivers; and,

WHEREAS, people of all ages are caregivers and recipients of care from family and friends, and caregiving provides tremendous benefits to the health and well-being of others; and,

WHEREAS, the estimated economic value of family caregiving was $600 billion nationally as of 2021, based on about 38 million caregivers providing an average of 18 hours of care per week for a total of 36 billion hours of care, at an average value of $16.59 per hour; and,

WHEREAS, while the opportunity to provide care to a loved one can be rewarding and a source of connection that is often taken on without hesitation, it often requires sacrifice. Thousands of Michiganders have sacrificed jobs and altered careers to perform caregiving duties; and,

WHEREAS, nearly half (47%) of caregivers nationally have experienced at least one financial setback because of their caregiving, including dipping into personal savings, cutting back on their own spending, and reducing how much caregivers save for their own retirement; and,

WHEREAS, caregivers in Michigan had a significantly higher prevalence of poor mental health than non-caregivers (19.6% vs. 12.9%) and a higher prevalence of activity limitation due to poor health (14.3% vs. 7.0%); and,

WHEREAS, direct care workforce shortages result in more hours of care and higher-intensity care by family and other unpaid caregivers, who are often relatives but may also be friends, neighbors, and coworkers; and,

WHEREAS, resources for family caregivers such as support groups, toolkits, and workshops are available through Area Agencies on Aging, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, advocacy organizations, and community-based services; and,

WHEREAS, celebrating family caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month enables all of us to raise awareness of family caregiver issues, celebrate the efforts of family caregivers, educate family caregivers about self-identification, and increase support for family caregivers;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim November 2023 as Family Caregivers Month in Michigan.