Have you hugged a Caregiver today?

Ideas on how to help your friend or family member who is caregiving for a loved one:

 

1. Instead of saying “You should…“, say something like “You are doing an amazing job.  If you need to weigh the pros and cons of your decisions by talking them thru with someone, I will be glad to listen.” The person doing the caregiving is intimately involved in the journey.  They can feel judged and defensive when other people who aren’t intimately involved tell them what to do. Provide an ear not an earful.

 

2. Instead of saying “you need to take care of yourself”, do something for them.  Bring over a healthy meal, offer to sit with their loved one for 2 hours so they can get a massage or take a nap. Trust me, caregivers already know they are tired, stressed, not looking or acting their best.  No need to tell them what they already know.  Help them do something for themselves.

3. Instead of saying “Let me know how I can help”, offer something specific.  An overwhelmed, stressed out, and exhausted person can not think clearly enough to come up with ways someone can help them. They also don’t know if something they really need is too much to ask of another person.  Take the burden of coming up with something off their plate.  Ask the person, “would it be helpful if I brought you a meal?”, “could I come sit with your Mom next Sunday afternoon so you can take a walk?”, “Could I run some errands for you”.

4. Instead of saying “at least your mom or dad has had a long life” say something like “I know watching someone you love suffer must be so difficult” or “I cant imagine how hard this must be for you..it’s so painful to lose someone you love”.  The long life comment makes people feel like an elderly person’s life is not valuable and that death is not a big loss.  Caregivers are emotionally invested in the lives of the person they are caring for in a significant way.  Loss is huge.

Caregivers could always use support, practical help, and a show of appreciation.  

Have you hugged a caregiver today ?

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