We believe it’s important to acknowledge November as National Caregivers Appreciation Month. Chances are either you, or someone you know are caring for a loved one. In fact, the CDC tells us that more than 34 million unpaid caregivers provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability, and an estimated 21 percent of US households are impacted by Caregiver responsibilities.
It is a vital, yet often, undervalued role done from a place of kindness and necessity. Many people put their own lives on hold to care for someone
close to them. While this role can be rewarding, it is also very demanding. While other jobs have a start and end time, a caregiver’s role doesn’t stop
at the end of the day. Almost all of this work is unpaid and often performed around the clock with no breaks. Most Caregivers juggle other responsibilities such as jobs, raising children, and managing their own households. Whether you need help or can provide some help, we’ve put together some ideas of how to lighten the load.
- Substitute. Can someone sit with the loved one for a little while so they can run errands, take a break, see the doctor, or attend church or a caregiver’s support group, whatever they need to do to take care of themselves.
- Combine. Going to the grocery store, pharmacy, post office? Call and ask if there’s anything you can pick up or drop off for them.
- Contribute. If your employer allows, donate paid sick time, vacation days, or personal time to a coworker caring for a relative who is
hospitalized or needs post-hospital care.
- Volunteer. Offer to mow the lawn, weed the garden, rake the leaves or shovel the snow.
- Share. Bought too many apples? Flowers taking over the yard? Fresh produce and fresh flowers are cheerful and sharing is thoughtful.
- Double it. Double cook a meal, preferably one of their favorites, and send over a dinner or a batch of cookies.
- Accomplish. Offer in a way that works for you. Think about it, do you or someone you know have special skills? That can provide help with
handyman services, oil changes, dog walking, haircuts?
If you are not able to help physically, don’t forget other ways you can lift their spirits. A simple act of including them in your prayers, acknowledging their value in a card or reaching out with a phone call or text.
Caregiving is a lonely and isolating role. Caregiver’s have been described by some physicians as the “hidden patients.”
They too need a support system in place to help them cope with the extra stressors associated with taking on this responsibility. For more information on caregiving help, please visit our resources page and reach out to us. We’ve been there and know what you’re going through.