Newswise — NEW YORK – April 6, 2020 – The Monday Campaigns, a nonprofit public health initiative, has announced Sherri Snelling, caregiving expert and corporate gerontologist, is taking a leading role with Caregiver Monday, a program dedicated to supporting the self-care of 65 million family caregivers by offering weekly health and wellness practices, research and collaborative activities through partner organizations. Family caregivers are under added stress now, with older people being more vulnerable to COVID-19.
“Family caregivers are the nation’s largest volunteer health-care army with four generations performing 83 percent of the long-term care in this country, often at the expense of their own health and wellness needs,” says Snelling. “Right now our nation is engaged in fighting a pandemic where our senior population is more at risk and the side effect is an increased risk to the health and wellness of family caregivers. We know added stress and a sense of isolation for caregivers ultimately impact their immunity and ability to continue to care for their loved one. This makes the Caregiver Monday campaign a powerful tool to help alleviate stress and depression that can occur at this uncertain time.”
The Caregiver Monday program will be offered through Caregiving Club, a leading organization founded by Snelling that calls attention to the issues facing caregivers by offering practical health, wellness and resource-based information. Every month, the program will offer a themed article with evidence-based research information on specific topics related to caregiver self-care, as well as provide weekly practices and health promotions related to that monthly theme. Organizations supporting the campaign can access these materials on the updated Caregiver Monday site.
Research shows people are predisposed to healthy behavior on Monday and are more likely to start exercise routines, eat healthier and schedule doctor’s appointments on Mondays, more than any other day of the week. Ron Hernandez, managing director of The Monday Campaigns says the “Monday effect” can be a powerful tool to help caregivers focus on their health. “Stress, exhaustion, and inadequate physical activity can adversely affect a person's health. Encouraging caregivers to commit themselves to their own health every Monday can help promote sustainable behavior change that can have long-lasting outcomes.”[i], [ii], [iii], [iv] Research shows 64 percent of respondents said if they start with a positive frame of mind on Monday, they are more likely to stay positive for the rest of the week.[v] In the same survey, people reported that starting the week with exercise and healthy eating helps continue that behavior for the rest of the week.
Data shows caregivers often suffer from high levels of stress and personal health challenges, and those around them may not always recognize their need for respite.[vi] Numerous studies have shown the negative impact of stress, burnout, depression, anger, guilt, loneliness on caregiver health.[vii], [viii], [ix] In addition, more than 1 in 6 employees juggles their job with the demands of being an unpaid caregiver, spending 80-160 hours a month caring for a loved one with physical or cognitive health issues.[x][xi] This leaves little time to practice self-care.
Studies also show caregivers who report more stress feel less healthy, adopt poorer health behavior and spend more money on their health care.[xii] Researchers have found they have 24 percent more stress hormones, 15 percent less antibodies to help boost immunity and 2-3 times the prevalence of depression as compared to the general population.[xiii] The World Health Organization (WHO) declared 2020 the “decade of healthy aging” and The Monday Campaigns is supporting this revitalized program effort by promoting better caregiver health, resiliency, and stamina to improve care for an aging nation. Learn more at: Caregiver Monday.
Mr. Hernandez says, “We are thrilled to work with Sherri, combining her expertise with our marketing knowledge, to encourage caregivers to start each week with a focus on self-care, which enables them to receive much needed support as they continue caring for their loved ones.”
About The Monday Campaigns
The Monday Campaigns is a nonprofit public health initiative associated with Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse universities that dedicates the first day of every week to health. Every Monday, individuals and organizations join together to commit to the healthy behaviors that can help reduce chronic, preventable diseases. The Monday Campaigns helps organizations incorporate the evidence-based Monday concepts into their own health promotion programs by providing free research, creative materials, case studies and ready-to-scale programs with concepts including: Meatless Monday, Move It Monday!, Quit & Stay Quit MondaySM, DeStress Monday and The Kids Cook Monday!
Learn more: The Monday Campaigns.
About Sherri Snelling and Caregiving Club
Sherri Snelling is a corporate gerontologist and founder/CEO of Caregiving Club, a strategic consulting and content creation firm focused on caregiver wellness and aging health issues such as Alzheimer’s. Her innovative wellness programs include the Me Time MondayTM and 7 Ways to Caregiver Wellness workshops. She is the author of A Cast of Caregivers – Celebrity Stories to Help You Prepare to Care and is a contributing columnist for PBS Next Avenue, Forbes.com and Thrive Global. Sherri was the chairman of the National Alliance for Caregiving, advised for the White House Middle Class Task Force on Family Caregiving and is currently a local board member of the Alzheimer’s Association. With a master’s degree in gerontology, Sherri speaks to organizations and employers across the nation on a variety of aging and caregiving topics. Learn more: Caregiving Club
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[i] Ayers, J.W., Althouse, B.M., Johnson, M.J., Cohen, J.E. (2014). What’s the Healthiest Day? Circaseptan (weekly) Rhythms in Healthy Considerations. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 47, 73-76.
[ii] Dai, H., Milkman, K.L., & Riis, J. (2013). The fresh start effect: Temporal landmarks motivate aspirational behavior. Management Science, 60, 1-20.
[iii] Unpublished data gathered from NY-based gyms and the Johns Hopkins recreation center
[iv] Orsama, A., Mattila, E., Ermes, M., van Gils, M., Wansink, B., & Korhonen, I. (2014). Weight rhythms: Weight increases during weekends and decreases during weekdays. Obesity Facts, 7, 36-47
[v] Data Decisions Group. December 2019. Nationally representative survey of 1000 adult Americans.
[vi] Ingber, R. 2018. Caregiver Stress Syndrome. Today’s Caregiver. December 18. https://caregiver.com/articles/caregiver-stress-syndrome/
[vii] Ho, A., Collins, S. R., Davis, K., & Doty, M. M. (2005). A look at working-age caregivers’ roles, health concerns, and need for support. Issue Brief (Commonwealth Fund), 854, 1-12.
[viii] Vitaliano, P. P., Zhang, J., & Scanlan, J. M. (2003). Is caregiving hazardous to one’s physical health? A meta-analysis. Psychological bulletin, 129(6), 946.
[ix] Blackburn, E. H. (2005). Telomeres and telomerase: their mechanisms of action and the effects of altering their functions. FEBS letters, 579(4), 859-862
[x] Cynkar, P., Mendes, E., (2011, July 26). More than one in six American workers also act as caregivers. Gallup.
[xi] National Alliance for Caregiving, AARP Public Policy Institute, (2015). Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 report. Washington, D.C.
[xii] Son, J., Erno, A., Shea, D. G., Femia, E. E., Zarit, S. H., & Parris Stephens, M. A. (2007). The caregiver stress process and health outcomes. Journal of aging and health, 19(6), 871-887.
[xiii] Vitaliano, P. P., Zhang, J., & Scanlan, J. M. (2003). Is caregiving hazardous to one's physical health? A meta-analysis. Psychological bulletin, 129(6), 946.