Caring for a family member can sometimes feel like a roller coaster ride. It can deepen the bond you have with your loved one, but it can also be physically and emotionally draining. Caregivers are usually so busy giving care that they often forget to take care of themselves.
Caregivers can be better caregivers if they have breaks in the caregiving routine to rest and rejuvenate. The break can range from a free hour to run an errand or get a coffee to a weekend away to attend a family event. There are adult day centers that can free up a portion of the day for the caregiver to focus on themselves and assisted living communities that offer respite care options when the caregiver needs to be away overnight.
Friends and relatives can also be vital support systems for caregivers, but usually if you ask a caregiver what kind of help they need they will say that they are fine and don’t need anything. So, you may have to offer suggestions as to how you can help them take a break rather than wait for them to ask you for assistance.
For example, you can ask a caregiver if you can pick up something at the grocery store for them or offer to stay with the family member so that the caregiver can do some holiday shopping. You could bring the caregiver dinner for the family or a special treat you know the caregiver likes. It doesn’t matter what you do, it matters that the caregiver feels supported and gets a break of some sort.
So, during this National Family Caregivers Month, take a minute to recognize a caregiver, thank them for the vital job they perform and do something to make their day a little easier.