This Women’s History Month, we’re honored to join the National Women’s History Alliance in paying tribute to female caregivers for making a mark on the lives of those they serve day and night.

Caregiving is universal

As Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter correctly stated, “There are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.  Caregiving is universal.”

Throughout history, in all cultures, women have traditionally acted as the primary caregivers for children, for the home, and for older adult family members. The meaning here is deep, and clear: from ancient times to our own, we’ve placed the well-being of the most important people in our lives in women’s hands.

Whether it’s from an innate desire to nurture and help or from a societal obligation and familial responsibility—or a combination of both—the contribution that women in caregiving make to the lives of those they care for cannot be overestimated. While
physical assistance is essential, so is being present, with an open heart.

From the home to the battlefield

Centuries ago, “all nursing was home nursing.” That changed during the Civil War. With countless injured soldiers needing care, women burst onto the public scene. They were neither invited nor often formally trained. Driven by compassion, will, dedication, and enormous courage and spirit, they took to the battlefield.

That’s where, arguably, the most famous nurse of all carved out her place in history: Florence Nightingale. Empathy for those suffering propelled Nightingale to abandon the comforts of upper-class social comforts and expectations for the nightmarish conditions of a Crimean war hospital, where she became a beacon of hope to countless soldiers.

In fact, it was Nightingale’s spirit that inspired BAYADA's iconic Heroes on the Home Front television commercial campaign, which expresses that caregiving’s “tradition was forged on the battlefield.”

Back home, again

Today, with more and more older adults choosing to age in place, caregiving has returned home. Of the 2 million nurses, personal care aides, home health aides, and nursing assistants who help older adults and people with disabilities live and thrive in the comfort of their own homes, according to a 2014 report by PHI, 90% are women. At BAYADA, our caregiving staff mirrors this statistic.

Given women’s service on the battlefield, it’s notable that over the past two years of pandemic, home health care has become synonymous with working on the front lines. Once again, it’s women who’ve been at the sides of the most vulnerable people among us.

Caregiving is a family affair

According to the Caregiving in the US 2020 study by AARP and the National Caregiver Alliance, nearly 42 million Americans provide some kind of unpaid care to a family member over 50 years old. With many older Americans wanting to stay in their own home for as long as possible (aging in place), there is a growing need for caregiving. Since the role of family caregiving can be challenging at best— and often mentally and physically  exhausting—it is often best addressed by a combination of paid and unpaid

Thousands of women who are professional BAYADA caregivers bring assistance—and comfort and joy—to countless homes across the US. From help with bathing and dressing to simple companionship, our army of caregivers serve and protect those who need care most. 

Want to learn more on how the collaboration of family and professional nursing and caregiving can help your loved one stay safe at home? Find a local BAYADA office 

Home Health Care Graphic

About the Author

BAYADA’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is responsible for developing and sustaining an environment where all employees can thrive, and their clients can receive high-quality personalized care with a sense of well-being, dignity, and trust. The DEI office works across the organization to support and enhance a sense of belonging for all our employees.

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