Many families have loved ones who require in-home care due to chronic illnesses, age, or disability. Family caregivers who help also deserve care, protection, and guidance.
They are often volunteers or unpaid care providers. Family caregivers deserve regular recognition due to:
- Their role in assisting with day-to-day activities
- Emotional support, and
- General care for our loved ones
The month of November is National Family Caregivers Month. It’s essential to appreciate the sacrifices they make and how they put our loved one’s needs before theirs.
Let’s begin by highlighting some of the challenges that family caregivers face.
Difficulties Family Caregivers Experience
Family caregivers often experience physical and mental health challenges due to the nature of their work. Since the job is demanding, caregivers may, at times, put their own needs aside.
Sometimes caregivers feel burdened or strained. They have limited time to rest, exercise, and participate in activities that promote good health.
Caregivers often have difficulty in balancing caregiving with daily activities: family, work, and leisure.
If the care recipient requires out-of-pocket financial support, caregivers can feel overwhelmed or distressed if the resources are inadequate.
Caregivers may feel lonely, isolated, and fearful, especially if the care recipient has a disability. They can develop insomnia and depression.
So, what are some ways of recognizing family caregivers’ efforts? Here are some suggestions:
1. Have the Care Recipient Write a Letter
In most cases, we expect family caregivers to perform their duties because it’s their designated responsibility. This is especially true if the care recipient is a spouse or parent.
Some honest, heart-felt, hand-written appreciation can mean the world to them. Make the family caregiver a gift bag with their favorite items for reducing stress. For instance, you can include their favorite movies, books, lotions, scrubs, and gift cards to their favorite places.
If the caregiver has children, you may offer to watch them for the day or night so they get to enjoy time alone or with company.
2. Treat Them to a Day of Fun
Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, there are many ways to have safe fun outdoors. Break the monotony and treat the family caregiver to a day of activities that they choose. You can take them shopping at their favorite place, enjoy a meal at their favorite restaurant, go hiking, or do any other things you think of. Be respectful of their preferences, both in activities and timing.
Be creative and suggest thoughtful ways of showing gratitude.
3. Facilitate Some Time Off for Them to Rest Up and Rejuvenate
Coordinating multiple responsibilities can be overwhelming to family caregivers. They need to take time off to decompress and recharge. Caregiving is a full-time job, and they often don’t get to take days off like they would in regular jobs. It’s therefore easy to get tired and burned out.
Enlist the help of some friends and family members and conceive a plan that gives the caregiver some time off work. Perhaps provide a meal for the whole family so they do not have to cook.
4. Demonstrate That You’re There for Them
Juggling full caregiving and taking care of a family can be mentally challenging for any person. Ensure the family caregiver is aware that you’re there to provide psychological and emotional support for them, when appropriate.
You can even find online support groups and encourage them to join to maintain good mental health. Socializing with other people in similar situations is beneficial.
Besides providing a sense of community, as well as a place to talk about similar stresses, the caregivers exchange coping strategies and tips on improving their overall experience.
5. Get a Spa Gift Certificate
Providing in-home care is a big responsibility as lives depend on the family caregiver. It can lead to high stress and anxiety levels. This is true especially if the caregiver feels inadequately equipped to handle the specific situation.
A spa day gives them time to relax and reduce their stress levels. A spa day increases blood circulation and releases feel-good hormones to the brain by slowing the body down. It eliminates toxins in the body. Some time away from responsibilities, friends, and family might be just what they need.
Due to COVID-19 regulations, many spas are not yet operational. However, some have come up with a gift card system where you can buy them a gift card they can redeem later when the spas re-open. Before buying your family caregiver a gift card, call the place ahead and inquire about their operational guidelines.
Family caregivers encounter numerous challenges, but you can take action to make them feel appreciated. What things have worked for you?
My passion is supporting the caregiver and advocating for those they support. Are you part of a support network that could use more tips, tricks, and solid strategies? Send me a message, and let’s discuss how to get me on your virtual or in-person workshop or meeting agenda.