When a family member takes on the responsibility of providing comfort and care for an aging loved one, it alters many aspects of their own life. Caregiving requires the individual to reassess their personal and professional priorities to tend to the needs of someone else.
While caregiving can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life, it’s also physically, mentally and emotionally demanding at times. Family caregivers often feel like no one else can relate to what they are going through, but it’s important for us, as family members and friends, to remind them that they are not alone on this journey.
Here are five phrases you can say to a family caregiver to show your support.
1. “When are you free to catch up? Pick a time and place, and I’ll be there.”
Family caregivers often have complex schedules, so it can be challenging for them to set aside time to be social with close family members and friends. Remind a caregiver in your life that you are willing to work around their schedule to connect. Small, meaningful gestures can go a long way in showing you care.
2. “You can vent to me, I’m here to listen.”
A listening ear is sometimes the best way to show your support to a family caregiver. When you share these comforting words with a caregiver, you allow them to open up in a safe space, free of judgment. Instead of offering advice, simply listen to what they have to say. Having others to hear their thoughts and feelings can be extremely therapeutic. Give them time to process their emotions just by being present in the moment.
>>>Related resource: Uncover even more conversation starters for a family caregiver in our free resource.
3. “I care about your health and happiness. What can I do to help?”
Caregivers pour so much of their time and energy into caring for others that they often neglect their own health and happiness. Whenever possible, offer to help with daily activities, like taking your loved one to and from a doctor’s appointment or offering to make a meal. If you’re noticing signs of physical, mental or emotional exhaustion, give them the day off to do something they enjoy.
4. “I know you’re doing everything you can.”
It’s common for caregivers to experience caregiver’s guilt, which is an overarching feeling that they aren’t doing enough to meet the needs of their loved one. Reassuring them that you know they’re doing their best in hard situations can help free them of negative feelings.
5. “I appreciate you.”
This is an obvious sentiment to share, but it often goes unsaid by family members and friends who are unable to offer support. Remind him or her that you appreciate all of their hard work and that their kindness and compassion has not gone unnoticed by others. Acknowledgement is a simple way to make a family caregiver feel comforted by the people who matter most in their life.
Get Even More Resources for Family Caregivers
Connecting with a family caregiver can have a positive impact on your relationship. The next time you plan to see the family caregiver in your life, offer more than conversation with our downloadable resource, The Comprehensive Guide for First-Time Family Caregivers. This guide is packed with information to help family caregivers provide the highest quality of care and comfort.