November 4, 2009

November is Caregiver Appreciation Month!

In recognition of all that caregivers do to support their families, Alternatives for the Older Adult would like to offer the following excerpt from

Caregiver Appreciation Month – Five Ways to show Your Appreciation

1. Know what the caregiver does. In other words, make sure to find out (or think about) exactly what services the caregiver in your life provides. One way to get an idea of what a caregiver does is to sit and make a list. Caregivers do things during the day, often without thinking about it themselves. A list will help other family members know and appreciate the care that is being provided for a loved one, help caregivers to put their efforts in perspective, and help anyone who provides respite to keep the same schedule.

2. Arrange to provide some time off. Time off. Respite. Relief. Vacations are a regular benefit of most jobs because employers realize that employees need time away to get refreshed so they can continue to perform at peak levels. Family members may not realize that caring for a parent or other loved one requires work, but it does. Cargivers need time to get away, run errands, spend quality time with other family members, take care of their own health, or just sleep. Show appreciation on behalf of your loved one by making sure the person caring for them is getting regular breaks. You can fill in or arrange for respite care through a reputable service. Another option is to give gift certificates for respite that the caregiver can redeem as desired.

3. Provide a meal. When someone we know is sick, has given birth, or has suffered a loss or other crisis, we tend to go into nurture mode. Food is one of the first things most people think to provide, because we all know that cooking is not a priority at these times, but people still need to eat. When the “crisis” is long term, we tend to forget the importance of food. We can show appreciation to family caregivers by feeding them and their families on occasion. Whether you drop by with a meal, send restaurant gift certificates, or have pizza delivered, the caregiver’s load will be lightened just a bit.

4. Talk. Empathize. Listen. Find out what’s on the caregiver’s mind. People may not openly discuss the things that concern them, particularly if they feel guilty about their thoughts. If you do some research on issues that concern caregivers, you can ask pointed questions or bring the conversation around to specific topics as the situation warrants. Show appreciation to a family caregiver by offering an ear, a shoulder, or a sounding board. there are links to several resources below that will give family members a starting point for understanding what caregivers think, and helping caregivers to realize that others share their thoughts.

5. Take some responsibility for care and support decisions. Once you know what the caregiver’s concerns are, do what you can to help. You know the list; you know the worries; take some time to find out what would help most and then do it. Your caregiver will appreciate the support. You should also remain concerned about your caregiver. Watch for signs of stress or burnout. Help caregivers to realize that their own needs are important and that they have to look after themselves.

Bridges offers support to caregivers on the 2nd Friday of each month at 10 a.m. Caregivers can also call Alternatives for the Older Adult at 800-798-0988 for over-the-phone counseling.

Filed Under: Community, Health & Wellness, News

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trackback URL: