Caring for an ill, elderly or aging loved one requires a family caregiver to wear many hats—often without any formal training or medical experience themselves.
Today’s caregivers are often part of the “Sandwich Generation,” a term for baby boomers raising their own children while also taking care of elderly parents. Beyond their daily work, they take on the roles of nurse, chef, maid and companion. While these tasks are rewarding, they can also be a drain on a family caregiver’s time, energy and resources. Some caregivers ultimately find that it becomes a problem to continually “shelve” their own health and personal duties, which can also lead to feeling overwhelmed or resentful.
If you know a family caregiver who is supporting an aging loved one, you may find they need care themselves. Below, we outline a few ways you can support the caregiver in your life.
1. Take Something Off Their Plate
With all their additional responsibilities, family caregivers may let their personal chores or professional work fall behind. To help take an item or two off their list, offer to accomplish a few of their daily tasks, whether it be for them or the person they care for. Offer to cook dinner, organize a cluttered space or wash their car. While these items may not take you a ton of time, a few simple tasks help shave time off the nearly 25 hours per week they may spend caring for others.
2. Send a Small Gift
Show the caregiver in your life you support and appreciate their hard work with a small token of gratitude. Pick up flowers, send a card or gift one of their favorite foods. Choose something that brings the person joy. In just a small amount on your end, you can make their day and show your gratitude.
3. Promote Their Personal Care
Caring for others leaves little time for family caregivers to invest in their own self-care. Offer to take over their responsibilities for the day, so they can catch up on relaxation or basic needs. To go above and beyond, find a local spa that specializes in relaxation and treat them to a day of pampering.
4. Recommend Resources
Caring for ill or aging family members is emotionally exhausting. Recommend resources that can help family caregivers cope with stress and find answers to common questions about senior issues. If you sense the stress is weighing too heavily on a caregiver, suggest a support group, so they can find a community of individuals that understand the daily hardships and rewards.
>>>Related Resource: Download the Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements to help a family caregiver learn and talk about preplanning.
5. Share Your Appreciation
Sometimes, all we need in life is a few kind words of thanks and encouragement to make our “load” feel a whole lot lighter
Give a caregiver the recognition they deserve by letting them know that they are making a difference. Whether you thank them personally or publicly, let them know their selflessness is noticed. There are many local or national awards for professional and volunteer caregivers that will help you publically share your appreciation.
Show a Caregiver How Much You Appreciate Their Hard Work
Do you know a professional or volunteer caregiver that deserves to be honored for their selfless acts? Nominate a caregiver for the Busch Recognition Program today for the chance to really show your special caregiver how much you care.
Our monthly caregiver application takes a few minutes to complete and submit for consideration. Busch selects a one winner monthly, and winners are presented with a gift and decorative plaque for the amazing work that they do.
Image credit: Pexels