International Day of the Family
Friday, 15th May is the International Day of Families. It has been in existence since 1995 after the year 1994 was proclaimed as the International Year of Families by the United Nations. This was a response to changing social and economic structures, which have affected and still affect the structure and stability of family units in many regions of the globe. The International Day of Families, on May 15, is an occasion to reflect on the work started during 1994 and to celebrate the importance of families, people, societies and cultures around the world.
Every family life is different and the UN Family Programme recognises this. Apart from the difference in cultures, people interact differently with each other, the dynamics in every family is different. Every year there is a different theme for the UN Day of Families and this year it is focusing on gender equality and the rights of children in contemporary families.
Role of the Family
At Comfort Keepers, we are going to reflect on the role of the family in looking after elderly relatives. Many family members really tend to downplay the amount of work and care they do – from phone calls to calling in regularly to providing permanent and long term care. As Home Carers, our first responsbility is to the client and within that, we are in regular contact with other family members, apart from the quarterly review session. We help family members by providing respite care so they can take a holiday or get away for a weekend together or even to get a full night’s sleep if attention is required during the night. Family members, while devoted, often take time to realise that they need to look after their health too, caring can be exhausting both physically and emotionally.
Part of the Family
Our Home Carers often feel that they become part of the family when caring for an elderly relative. They become very fond of their client and indeed, at Comfort Keepers we offer bereavement counselling to our carers whenever they feel they need it after a client has passed away. They get to know other family members very well too, often seeing them during the week or in regular contact.
Spending Family Time Together
How will you spend the day? Our lives are so busy now, it can sometimes take the focus of an internationally marked day to make us stop rushing around the mark the day as a family – whether it is going on a picnic, playing board games (our May weather is quite wintry at the moment!), or going out for a family meal. It would also be a lovely idea to visit or invite anyone who doesn’t have family living nearby and who might be on their own for the day.
How will you spend the International Day of the Family?