10 Easy Ways to Support the Caregiver in Your Life
Family caregivers are resilient and devoted individuals who take on many difficult tasks and wear many difficult hats, sacrificing their own needs to help loved ones who need an extra hand. National Family Caregiver’s Month is an opportunity to reflect and reset how we care for the caregivers in our life.
Dannelle LeBlanc, host of The Caregiving Soul podcast, shares 10 easy and effective ways to support the caregivers in your life:
1. Check in
Caregiving is an isolating experience. A simple phone call to ask, “How are you?” can be so helpful. We can’t “fix” how difficult it is to care for someone with critical care needs, but listening in a caring, non-judgmental way helps a family caregiver feel better.
2. Give Them a Break
Offer to take care of a family member receiving care for a day or a weekend (or longer), when possible. Providing a regular morning or afternoon off, whether weekly or monthly, makes a difference in a caregiver’s quality of life.
You can also suggest a visit to keep them company while they care for their loved one, or sit with them while the caregiver gets an overdue nap or errand done.
3. Bring/Arrange Meals
Whether occasionally or on a regular schedule, calling/texting to let a caregiver know you’ve got dinner handled (and by a time that works for them) is a very thoughtful and helpful offer. Extra help with meals during times of crisis is a big relief.
4. Support Personal Interests
By encouraging and helping caregivers make time for their personal pursuits, goals, and hobbies, you can help the quality of their personal well-being.
5. Help with Errands
Offer to take an errand off their plate like making a grocery run, taking their loved one to an appointment, walk their dog, etc. Ask them what it is they need to get done but don’t have the time or energy for.
6. Help with Household
Maintaining a caregiving household takes more time, finances, and energy than a typical household. Help with laundry, small home repairs, lawn care, installing adaptive equipment like grab bars, and other household chores. Whether you do it yourself or offer to fund a hired service, it’s a load off a family caregiver’s back.
7. Assistance with Administrative Work
A close family member or friend’s help with paying bills, organizing medical records, taxes, research, and other organizational concerns can help a family caregiver manage an overwhelming amount of paperwork.
8. Help With Downsizing
Moving from a residential home to service-enriched housing, such as assisted living, is overwhelming without help. You can assist by organizing movers, packing/sorting a home clean out, and other logistics. Moving is especially stressful when a lifetime of possessions and memories are involved. Consider offering to hire a senior move manager or other professionals experienced in helping families navigate difficult life transitions.
9. Encourage Community Support
Help connect family caregivers to local community programs via a local “Area Agency on Aging” or “Aging and Disability Resource Center,” online support groups, faith-based organizations, and/or other community resources.
You may also consider sharing links to the Caregiving Community Guide, a free 150+ page digital resource, available for free download at CaregiverTransitions.com
10. Send a Caregiver Card
Sending a Caregiving Card is an inspired way to let a family caregiver know you’re thinking of them. Check out original Caregiver Cards here.
Whichever way you choose to support them is a step toward a happier, healthier, and therefore, more helpful caregiver and human. A little goes a long way!
If you’re looking for more caregiver content, check out ‘The Caregiving Soul’ podcast on Apple and Spotify.
Getty image by FG Trade