Learn how to help a caregiver to show appreciation for all that they do.
Caregivers, have a lot on their plate, everyday. And we may not always know the best way for how help a caregiver in a way that is actually HELPful.
Whether they are caring for a family member of any age or caring for themselves they are struggling in some way, reaching out and expressing love and kindness is always appreciated. When you do reach out, don’t immediately ask how the patient is. Ask the caregiver how THEY are doing. And as with all our hurting friends – just being there, and showing your love will be the greatest support of all. Here are a few ways to help, to reach out and care for your friend or family member. Remember you are reaching out to care for the caregiver!
Write a letter – “To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”
— Phyllis Theroux.
If a letter seems overwhelming, do not underestimate the power of a simple card that says “I am thinking of you”, I am here if you need me, I am sending you my love. Even easier in this time of cell phones is when you think of this person take action and text them, or message them in some way. There is great power in just knowing that someone is thinking about you, missing your, and sending you love.
Bring over food – “Sometimes a little comfort food can go a long way”
— Benjamin Bratt.
Drop by with the caregiver’s favorite meal or a plate of cookies. If you choose to do this, just remember to think if they have any allergies or food restrictions. If you are not sure, then keep it simple or ask another one of the caregivers friends or relatives who might know what they would enjoy. I will never forget a friend bringing me a meal when I was supporting someone else. It was hard to accept but oh so wonderful. It was a gift for both of us. My friend felt useful and involved, and we all ate better that night than we had for weeks! .
Visit with the Caregiver or Patient – “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. “
Give the caregiver a break by visiting. Spend time with the caregiver or the patient. There are three approaches. One ask to visit the patient, to take the patient to an appointment or play cards etc., this then gives the caretaker some much needed time and space away from the patient. The second approach if the patient can be left alone for a period of time is to ask the caregiver to go out and do something, have lunch, get a pedicure, go to a driving range, for a walk, bowling, etc. you get the idea, help the caregiver get out and have a little fun. The third approach is stop by with a cup of coffee or tea for your friend and yourself and see if they have a few minutes to catch up. You can always test “I am making a coffee run and will be by to drop off your order in a few” Smile have a little fun with it and don’t stay long read the non verbal queues.
Here are a few more quick ways for how to help a caregiver feel appreciated and valued.
- Buy them a subscription to a Caregiver Magazine like ‘Today’s Caregiver Magazine‘.
- Phone at appropriate times (check any time differences and never call after 9pm their time).
- Offer a few hours of care if the situation allows.
- If the patient is unable to be alone perhaps visit and occupy the patient giving the caregiver a few minutes to catch up on paperwork.
- Offer to research into respite care, and community and professional assistance. Check out resources like the links listed on this site.
- Offer to do specific household chores, run errands or cut the lawn.
And if you really want to wow them, reach out to us or visit our website and browse the many many options of caregiver gifts or other fabulous, fun finds and put together a little treat for them.
There are so many options for how to help a caregiver and they all start with just letting them know how much their efforts are appreciated or valued. When you start there, everything else is easy!