By their very nature, caregivers are usually thinking of others. They don’t ask for help, and when it’s offered, they usually refuse.
That’s not a flaw. It’s just part of their “can-do” nature.
However, there are ways you can support caregivers. While Hope Grows supports caregivers by giving them a respite from the stress of their caregiving duties, individuals also can help.
The following represents seven ideas for supporting caregivers. Not all will work with everyone. But by looking at the list, something might jump out at you as a good way to offer support for a caregiver you know.
What Not To Do
A caregiver can range from people taking care of elderly parents to those helping a good friend or neighbor. Whatever the case, there are certain issues you should have in mind before approaching them to offer support.
- Be ready to be persistent – they are likely to say no the first time (or even few times)
- Don’t be vague. Simply asking “what can I do to help?” will probably just get a “thanks for asking, but I am Ok” response.
- Try to come up with specific tasks
It helps if you can do it without really asking, but including the task with something you were doing already, like the first item on this list.
Offer To Get Groceries
Getting to the store to get groceries can become a real burden for caregivers. If you are running to the store anyway, call and offer to pick something up. If they say “no,” go ahead and pick out some healthy snacks and simple items such as soup. When you show up, they will be grateful.
Bring Pre-Made Food
Along the same lines, it is really helpful for caretakers to have meals ready to go. Drop buy with meals that can be heated and served. Making meals sometimes can prove very difficult for caregivers who are spending time on other things, so this is a huge way to show support.
This is a big issue for many caregivers. It’s hard to find time to mow the grass or trim the hedges when you are a caregiver, and often they do not have the money to hire someone else to do it. Taking care of the lawn is a great way to support caregivers in your life, taking one burdensome item off their list.
Spend Time Visiting
This also is a huge help for caregivers. Loneliness is one of the issues many caregivers cite, and visiting both them and the person they are caring for will be greatly appreciated by both. Remember to bring something they like to do, such as cards, a board game and, of course, good conversational skills. Some care recipients also like to be read to as reading themselves might prove difficult.
Offer a Break
Volunteer to come by for a couple of hours and give the caregiver time to do what they need to do – perhaps relax a little or run a few errands. Just a short break will be much appreciated and you will have shown support and understanding for what they do every day.
Yet another household chore that often gets neglected. Tell the caregiver you are doing laundry and will come by to pick up some from her and drop it off later in the day. Much like yardwork, this is a chore that caregivers sometimes have a hard time getting around to doing.
Keep In Touch
In addition to personal visits, don’t hesitate to send texts, emails and even cards. Isolation and loneliness, coupled with the physical and emotional strain of being a caregiver, can really wear on a person. Reaching out to say hello or let them know you are thinking of them can brighten a caregiver’s day in way that nothing else can.
Try One of These Tips to Support Caregivers
These represent just some of the ideas that you can use to improve a caregiver’s day and show them you support caregivers in what they are doing. Consider which ones might work best for you and put them into action!