Caring for the Caregiver
- Help with Meals: Finding the time to cook healthy, well-balanced meals can be a real challenge for caregivers. One of the best ways you can help is by bringing them meals they can freeze and use as needed. They might also appreciate a fresh fruit salad or a vegetable tray once or twice a month. Another idea is to organize a Meal Train on their behalf. You can recruit friends and neighbors who want to help. The online calendar on Meal Train makes it easier for everyone to sign up and support the caregiver when they can.
- Investigate Respite Care: Caregivers usually know they need to take a break, but finding the time to investigate respite care options for their senior loved one can be difficult. Help them out by exploring the local options that are available to them. It might be a friendly visitor from their church, an in-home care agency, an adult day program or a short-term stay at an assisted living community.
- Stay Connected: One struggle caregivers have is trying to stay connected with friends and loved ones. Because they may not be able to participate in their favorite hobbies and activities, it is easy to lose touch with people. Make an extra effort to call the caregiver; Skype with them and drop them a note to let them know you are thinking of them.
- Just Listen: Sometimes what a caregiver really needs is a friendly ear. Caring for a senior who has a long-term illness or is nearing the end of life is a very emotional time. Let them know you want to be there to listen. Try not to interrupt, just listen.
- Plan for Fun: Once a month, try to plan a fun activity that includes your loved one who is a caregiver. It could be a trip to a comedy club or to see a movie at the local theater. Laughter is one of the best ways to help beat the stress caregiving creates.
- Find a Support Group: Our final suggestion is to help connect your caregiving loved one with an in-person or online support group. Sharing their struggles, guilt and fears with someone who can understand and empathize can make a real difference in how the caregiver feels about the job they are doing. SpiriTrust Lutheran Home Care & Hospice offers great support options and the Alzheimer’s Association, The Family Caregiver Alliance and Caring.com are all good avenues to explore.
We hope these suggestions give you a few ideas to better support the caregiver in your life! Contact us to find out more about how we can help you.