Although similar to motherhood and caring for a small child, a caregiver in the medical world is primarily aiding an adult or Senior. Society needs to understand more people are caregiving. This could easily become a monumental culture change.
A large percentage of people are in Skilled Care due to a caregiver no longer being available. Caregivers tend to give their all to the person they care for and not attending adequately to their own needs. There are ways to help and support caregivers as they care for others.
Be Helpful – Doing laundry or the dishes, mowing the yard or changing a lightbulb are simple tasks one could offer to do for a caregiver. They would appreciate a few minutes to simply take a breath.
Be Thoughtful – The smallest gestures of kindness often mean the most. A box of chocolates brightens a caregiver’s day immensely but a simple text or call also lets them know you are thinking of them.
Be Proactive – Is there some part of the caregiving job you could do? Would you be able to help by purchasing groceries or running an errand? Remember the likelihood of a caregiver asking for help is rather slim. You may need to make the first move.
Be Encouraging – A caregiver’s life soon revolves completely around the requirements of the one needing assistance. Interrupt the cycle by encouraging respite time. Find organizations providing volunteers who would help a few hours and provide opportunities for caregivers to have a break.
Be Caring – Taking care of another person is physically and emotionally draining. Life takes a decidedly different meaning when caring for another. Express your appreciation. Words of support backed by caring deeds are positive moments in a caregiver’s life.
Be Empathetic –Caregivers go through a roller coaster of emotions. Know what is best to do and say while being helpful. Treat a caregiver the way you would want to be treated if you were in their role.
Be Available – Active listening is almost an art form as it is so rare in this busy world. Be available as a sounding board. Chances are the caregiver may have many pent-up emotions and thoughts they feel unable to express. Give them permission to share concerns freely. Listen and provide a shoulder to cry on if needed.
Be an Advocate – Caregivers may forget about taking care of themselves after a period of time. Step forward and help advocate for self-care. Emphasize the need for personal health in order to provide adequate help to others. Caregivers need plenty of rest, exercise and healthy foods to remain at their best. Consider giving them a gift certificate for a massage.
Be Generous – Share your time. Whether treating a caregiver to dinner or coffee or staying for a few hours to provide respite, offering your time is one way to be generous. Order their favorite meal and have it delivered or organize a group to provide a weekly meal.
Show Gratitude –Find ways to show your appreciation for the time and effort spent caregiving. The role of spouse, child or sibling is often lost in the role of caregiving. Always show your appreciation for other’s time and love.