If you know a Caregiver and would like to do something for them, please do it. Don’t just think about it. Don’t wait till later when you think you’ll have more time. You’d be surprised at how even a small kindness might be appreciated.
Be realistic, offer to do something that you’re good at and with which you’ll follow through. The Caregiver needs to know that in accepting your offer they can feel safe. Consider the situation as if you were in their place. With what would you need help? By all means ask what you might do, but don’t be surprised if you’re told, “Nothing, thank you though.” Caregivers are not used to getting help and want to make sure things are done properly or they will feel that they’ve failed or were selfish at a cost to the person in their care. It’s their nature. Show them that you sincerely want to help and will do a good job.
You need to make a suggestion. You might say something like, “I could come over on Tuesday for two hours while Joe is resting so you can go do whatever you want to do.” Even if it’s for just one time, that would be great. Several family members could take turns at something like this. Be creative.
Most family members don’t know what it actually takes to be in charge of another’s life. I’m here to tell you; it takes physical energy, decision making, nursing skills, management of doctor appointments and medicines, equipment assembling, cooking and feeding, shopping for food and other necessities (often from the drug store), driving, dressing, cleaning…..need I go on? They’re usually going to want to handle the paperwork, insurance issues and legal work themselves, but there’s that, too. Did I mention MONEY and TIME? In which of these areas could you be of help? Did I mention MONEY and TIME? Maybe you can afford to pay someone to do something for a Caregiver, if you don’t have the time. Every little bit helps.
All this and more needs to be done while the Caregiver is managing their own life and maybe there’s a family involved. Some Caregivers are working full time, have children and are caring for an older parent that used to be helping them. Is the caregiver an older spouse taking care of their husband or wife? Do they need someone to stay with the person in their charge and have someone else go with them to a doctor visit as an advocate to make sure they, themselves, are getting good care? Here’s an opportunity for two friends to team up.
Please notice that on each page of my website there’s a message box. I would love to hear from any of my readers who have a suggestion for something that can be done to help a Caregiver. I post on Facebook and Twitter and so can you. Getting this message out to as many people as possible could help hundreds of thousands of Caregivers. I’ll post many of your ideas in a blog soon, so please tell me what you have done or what you would like to have someone do for you (it will be anonymous, of course). What have others done to help you that you’d like to share? I’ll share how others helped me in that upcoming blog, too.