It’s Not about Being Warm, It’s about Knowing Someone Cares


We all hear about the importance of sleep. What does a caregiver do when responsibilities take over and good sleep becomes harder and harder to claim? We smile at Charlie Brown and his security blanket. There are many Charlie's among caregiving youth!

Caregiving Youth often have trouble sleeping at night. Children have told us they wake up when grandma goes to the bathroom and stay awake until they know she is back in bed safely.

One day, a woman from the Linus Project—an organization that gives blankets to kids in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies, or anywhere a child is in need of comfort—who had read about the Caregiving Youth Project called and offered us blankets to give to the kids. We happily accepted her generous gift!

Of course, we didn't know exactly how it would work out. The girls would probably be excited, but would the boys want the blankets? They did! We planned to give them out in school—the kids were thrilled; however, we didn't think it through enough to know they didn't want to be "different" and carry their new treasure back to class. Now, we provide an opaque cloth bag for them to transport their blanket in—what is in the bag is their secret to share as they wish!

Today was a blanket distribution day. One of the girls who was especially grateful had been caring for her dad who died several months ago and now her mom is very ill. Her face lit up as she hugged her new blanket and delighted in the thought that someone cared enough to make it for her. The weather in South Florida is typically warm, so for her, hugging the cozy blanket was not about its warmth.

For caregiving youth and any caregiver, knowing you are not alone is ever so important. And right next to that is knowing someone cares about you and recognizes the value of your caregiving role. After all, caregivers of every age are a national treasure!

Connie Siskowski, RN, PhD has a broad background in health care and a dedication to diminishing caregiving ramifications for family caregivers of all ages. Her passion led to the establishment of a nonprofit that evolved from supporting homebound adults and caregiving families to become the American Association for Caregiving Youth.

American Assoc. for Caregiving Youth

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The blanket is a really nice thing to do for young people who are caregivers. But somehow it seems wrong that under-age children are responsible for caregiving duties. Hard enough to do as an adult.
It does seem wrong for under-age children to be responsible for caregiving duties. If they are doing caregiving for an older adult, then who is taking care of them?
It is hard for caregiving youth and that's why they need support in school, out of school and at home. The US is way, way behind other countries in recognizing and supporting them...and they do need to be cared for, thus the Caregiving Youth Project which needs to be spread throughout America. It is not that they should be caregiving but many system gaps do not provide coverage to help. Thanks to federal support, adult caregivers can access some help however there is no support yet for a child or teen who fulfills the same role.