Caregivers are essential to promoting health, inclusion, and support. Caregivers perform an enormous service not only to those who they directly help but also to our entire society. However, their contributions often go unrecognized and unnoticed. This is one reason that the Christopher Smith Foundation, a Las Vegas non-profit, is committed to celebrating and honoring the contributions of caregivers through our Christopher’s Caregivers initiative.

The fact is, caregivers make the world a better place. Whether they care for the sick, support people with disabilities, or share their lives with elders, caregivers truly are America’s unsung heroes.

1. Caregivers Provide Emotional Support

There are both family and professional caregivers, and both provide critical services. In many cases, professional and familial roles overlap. Patients often struggle with the emotional difficulty of the physical pain and changes that come with their condition. While caregivers, especially those who are bonded with their patients, also face emotional distress and physical needs, they provide the support, strength, and safe space to allow their patients to process these issues and express themselves freely. Caregivers dedicate themselves to encouraging their patients to keep going despite the difficulties they face. In many cases, caregivers may provide emotional support to the entire family network. Open, empathetic caregivers are a loving blessing, even when they deeply need self-care for themselves.

2. Caregivers Give Voice to the Voiceless

Advocacy for a patient’s needs and rights is critical to their well-being. It can be all too easy for people to become “lost in the system,” especially if they face challenges advocating for themselves due to developmental disabilities, challenges with age, vocal problems, or other concerns. In some cases, patients may simply not feel strong enough to ask for what they need. Caregivers make all the difference. They can seek the treatment that patients need and deserve and make it impossible to ignore or brush aside the feelings and concerns of those who are too often considered voiceless.

3. Caregivers Save Lives

Of course, caregivers also provide direct medical care. Even when they are suffering and struggling with their own health issues and concerns, they administer medication, transport people to appointments, deal with billing, handle insurance, and schedule patients. They make sure that patients are cared for, clean, and safe. They may administer treatments, provide therapies, and offer life-saving care. Millions of Americans are alive today because of the intervention and care of professional and volunteer caregivers.

Professional caregivers in schools, communities, organizations, and hospitals ease the path of people who are living with disabilities, who are elderly or who are ill to be fully included in society. The Christopher Smith Foundation invites you to join us in honoring America’s unsung heroes. Our Las Vegas non-profit distributes gifts, hugs, and kind words to the family and professional caregivers as we celebrate love, hope, and healing.