Beyond the many demands of assisting with a loved one’s healthcare, caregiving encompasses much more – especially with the additional stressors of the pandemic. Childcare responsibilities, help with schoolwork, and limited access to services have been heaped onto many – not to mention the general toll that caregiving can take over time.
Caregiving is a demanding role that occasionally requires some extra help and attention. At Allen Memorial Home, our compassionate staff understands the importance of caregiving. We encourage our neighbors across Endicott to support the caregivers in their life however they can.
Here are six tips for supporting a caregiver in your life:
- Step in to help out.
Being a full-time caregiver is a difficult job that can be both physically and emotionally taxing. Taking on some of their daily responsibilities where you can help lessen their load, at least temporarily.
- Send them a self-care item.
An unexpected gift helps a caregiver feel appreciated and seen, especially if it’s a self-care item designed specifically for their use, like a bar of scented soap or a decorative candle. A gift doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. A caregiver will likely welcome anything given with intention and gratitude.
- Write them a thank you note.
A heartfelt, handwritten thank you note is a simple way to acknowledge that you care. Even if you can’t take the time to write out a note, a thank you text goes a long way too!
- Practice active listening.
Listening is the simplest tip on our list, but it might be the hardest one to practice. Try to catch a caregiver in a moment of downtime (even if this is tricky!) and ask them how they’re doing. Then really listen to what they say.
- Do little things for them when you can.
For full-time caregivers, it can be tough to find the time to get simple household chores accomplished. If you’re already out running errands like getting groceries, give them a call to see if they need anything from the store. On laundry day, offer to pick up a load for them and return it clean later in the day.
- Ask them what they need.
Before showing up at a caregiver’s door, ask them what they need or how you can help. As someone who prioritizes another’s needs over their own, a caregiver may struggle to come up with an answer to the question: “How can I help you?” Send them a text or leave a voice memo saying you’d like to help them out but aren’t quite sure how. This lets them consider what they need and then articulate it to you on their own time. You can also give them choices, such as selecting from meals you can prepare or gift cards to various restaurants.
Though they may not always ask for help, most caregivers appreciate it, as caregiving is no easy task. Take the time to support the caregiver in your life with your undivided attention, a thoughtful gift, or a meaningful act of service.