November is National Family Caregivers Month. Being a family caregiver is important work that often goes unnoticed. Since over 40 million people in the United States are family caregivers, we are providing you with ways to show your appreciation during National Family Caregivers Month.
Show Your Appreciation During National Family Caregivers Month
While the work of a family caregiver often goes unseen, you know what an important role they play. Do they know how much they mean to you and your family? Here are 5 ways to show your appreciation to the family caregivers in your life.
Help with chores
Caregivers often have very long to-do lists. Gathering your friends and family together to help a caregiver you know with chores can make a difference in their workload.
Plan ahead to commit to tasks such as laundry, sweeping, and washing dishes. It might be a good idea to assign roles before arriving at the caregiver’s home for a smooth process. Be sure to have all of the necessary cleaning supplies available.
Consider rounding up individuals to help a caregiver with chores on a semi-regular basis. After all, caregivers work hard all year round. You can show appreciation for a caregiver in your life even after Family Caregivers Month is over.
Give the caregiver a break
Often, people who are responsible for the care of their loved ones forget to take time for themselves. However, it’s important for caregivers to schedule a time to do the things that make them feel relaxed and happy. Encourage a caregiver in your life to take a break. Offer to help care for their loved one while they are away.
Pay attention to the things that the caregiver is interested in. For example, does your caregiver like to go to the gym, want to get a manicure, or enjoy relaxing on the couch and watching TV?
Whatever it is that the individual wants to do, allow them the time and space to do so without feeling guilty or as if they need to rush back to their caregiving responsibilities.
Designate a specific date and time for the caregiver to take a break so that it does not fall through the cracks. If you commit to helping out while the individual is away, be sure to follow through. Make sure you have the caregiver’s contact information but try to not disrupt them unless an emergency occurs.
Write a note
Showing appreciation does not need to be an expensive grand gesture. Simply taking the time to write down why you appreciate your family caregiver can be very meaningful.
A note or letter allows you to think through your thoughts and express your personal feelings about what they mean to you. It also provides them with a physical object with kind words that they can look at in the future.
Look for programs that provide extra support
Being a caregiver can be exhausting and lonely at times. But your family caregiver does not have to do it alone. There are many support services available to help seniors age in place, as well as services to help family caregivers maintain a balanced life.
This Family Caregivers Month, help a caregiver you know by researching support services that might be right for them. For example, an individual might be dealing with the emotional toll of caregiving and could use a support group. A support group offers a caregiver the opportunity to share their experiences with like-minded peers.
Or your loved one might need to perform caregiving tasks that they are not familiar with. For example, they may need to learn how to provide medications or how to maneuver a loved one with low mobility. Find classes for your family caregiver to help them become more confident and efficient at their responsibilities.
You can also look into services that reduce the caregiver’s workload. For example, Meals on Wheels provides home-delivered meals and wellness checks to seniors who have a hard time preparing meals. This reduces the number of meals a family caregiver has to provide their loved one.
You might also suggest Home Wellness Solutions to help with simple supports such as cleaning, errand running, and personal care. Companionship programs also exist with VANTAGE’s AmeriCorps Seniors Telecare phone reassurance program. Through Telecare, your caregiver’s loved one receives friendly phone calls and check-ins from a trained volunteer.
Understand the caregiver’s needs
Family caregivers might not always ask for help. During Family Caregivers Month, reach out to the caregivers in your life to find out what they need.
Actively listen to what your caregiver has to say about their thoughts, worries, and feelings. Let them express themselves openly in a comfortable environment.
Once you know what your caregiver needs, work out a plan together for moving forward. Finding solutions to the challenges of being a family caregiver can be a great relief. Once you develop a plan, help your caregiver achieve their goals.
Do you know a caregiver that could use some appreciation? Write a post on Facebook or Twitter about them and tag @VantageAging and we will be sure to share it and celebrate them with you this Family Caregivers Month!
Interested in support services for seniors? VANTAGE Aging offers many programs and services to help your loved ones age in place, including Meals on Wheels, Home Wellness Solutions, and the AmeriCorps Seniors’ Telecare program. Call us today at 330-253-4597 to learn more or click here.
*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors