5 Things You Can Do to Help a Caregiver
By Rachel Barrett
Former first lady Rosalynn Carter said, "There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers."
You probably know someone who is a caregiver, or you may be a caregiver yourself. Informal caregivers are often friends or family members provide care for someone who is ill or needs assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing and medications. Caregivers may run errands, assist with doctor’s appointments and help with tasks around the house. Caregiving can be rewarding, and it can be time consuming, stressful and overwhelming.
If you’d like to make the life of a caregiver a little easier, here are five ideas:
1. Provide emotional support
According to AARP, caregivers often appreciate it when someone is willing to just lend an ear. Listening, especially listening without judgement can be helpful. Additionally, providing a caregiver with recognition for their efforts occasionally can help people feel appreciated.
2. Bring them a meal
A warm meal can help relieve caregivers of the responsibility for cooking. Food can also brighten people’s spirits. Aging Care suggests considering dropping off a meal or treat for a caregiver and their care recipient.
3. Lend a hand
This can be tasks around the house like changing a light bulb, cleaning, mowing the lawn, shoveling the driveway or helping with a grocery run.
4. Assist with caregiving
A lot of people would like to help with caregiving, but don’t know exactly what to do. Lyngblomsten offers In-Home Respite Companion Training for Family & Friends which can help people fee prepared to offer caregiving assistance.
5. Gift them time
Caregiving can leave less time for someone to take care of their own needs. Stay with the person who is receiving care while the caregiver takes time for themselves to be social, run errands or attend appointments.
The ideas above are just a few ways to aid a caregiver. Pick one that works for you and the caregiver you know or ask them what you can do to help.
Rachel Barrett is a social work intern at Wilder Healthy Aging Services working in Caregiver Services and the Adult Day Health Program. She is a Master of Social Work student at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul.