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Care for the Caregiver

Care for the caregiver and we care for the care receiver, as well. Family caregivers take on an overwhelming load of responsibility when caring for a loved one. Few are trained for the position, and the care comes with sacrifice of time, energy, and income.

Caregivers, especially for those with dementia, often are lonely. Opportunities to socialize with peers are rare, and conversation with their loved one is one-directional. Reaching out to the caregivers in our lives is particularly important at this time of year when they are even more isolated.

Here are a few suggestions for helping caregivers. If you only choose one of these, you'll help the caregiver immensely.

  • Ask how you can socialize with your caregiver friend. Is it best for them if you call, text, or visit in person?

  • Offer to run errands.

  • Take on one of the heavier household chores that is difficult for the caregiver.

  • Send or drop off flowers or other little gifts. If the caregiver is caring for a spouse, that spouse isn’t likely to be able to pamper their caregiver/partner.

  • Drop off a healthy meal. You'll not only save the caregiver time but nourish the caregiver and receiver's bodies.

  • Either care for the loved one in need of care or pay for a professional caregiver to do so on set times and days, preferably on a regular schedule, such as every Tuesday afternoon from 12-4. This will allow the caregiver to get out for a haircut, meet a friend for lunch, take a quiet walk or workout at the gym, or simply soak in the tub.

  • Assist with medical or financial decisions. There is an overwhelming stream of important decisions to be made.

  • Act as an absolutely nonjudgmental sounding board.

  • Text a bit of humor.

  • Reassure the caregiver that their TLC matters, is important, and is recognized.

  • Pass on valuable resources for books and organizations that may be of help.

**Photo: Anderson Gardens, Rockford, IL

**Inspired Caregiving. Weekly Morale Builders was written for the caregivers in your life. You can find the book on Amazon, ACTA Publications, or my website. Also see The Alzheimer's Spouse for a better understanding of the challenges the caregiver is dealing with.

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