Practical Tips: 50 Ways to Support a Caregiver: For family & Friends
Have you ever wanted to help a friend or family member who is overwhelmed or stressed because of their caregiving duties? Here are 50 things you can do that can make a real difference.
- Let the caregiver know that it is OK to ask for help-no one can do it alone.
- If your offer of support is turned down, keep trying. Accepting help from others may not come easily to some people.
- Offer to bring the caregiver a meal.
- Create a sign-up calendar (online or offline) for others who want to bring food.
- Buy a gift certificate for a favorite store or takeout restaurant.
- Pick up a few extra groceries when you stop.
- Ask friends to chip in to hire a cleaning service (every week or every once in a while).
- Help with home safety changes like grab bars or ramps.
- Help organize the home to reduce clutter and avoid accidents.
- Help make a list of regular household tasks that others can do.
- Mow the lawn, rake leaves or shovel snow.
- Vacuum the house.
- Offer to pick up laundry. Return it clean and folded.
- Clean the refrigerator.
- Wash and vacuum the caregiver’s car.
- Pick up medication at the pharmacy.
- Help organize medications (create a chart or calendar).
- Send a card, email or text-let the caregiver and the family know you are thinking about them. Let them know you don’t expect a response.
- Offer to keep friends and family informed.
- Create a schedule of visitors or others who can help.
- Arrange for a trusted person to call regularly to check in.
- Join the caregiver for a walk.
- Walk the dog.
- Troubleshoot computer problems.
- Watch the caregiver’s kids.
- Give the caregiver a break.
- Stay with the person who needs care for an afternoon or weekend.
- Take the person who need care for an outing.
- Share a joke or humorous story-laughter is a good way to relieve stress.
- Lend a good book or movie-it may encourage the caregiver to rest.
- Return library books or movie rentals.
- Gently ask direct questions such a “Are you able to sleep?” or “How is your own health?”
- Encourage the caregiver to visit his or her own doctor or dentist.
- Treat the caregiver to a haircut, massage or manicure.
- Bring flowers.
- Find benefits, programs or community resources for the disabled, veterans or seniors.
- Find an attorney who can help with legal issues. Many communities offer free or low-cost legal services.
- Help with financial or insurance paperwork.
- Make calls for the caregiver.
- Help connect with other caregivers.
- Look online or in the community for chat or support groups.
- Research information about the loved one’s condition.
- Send links to sites that have helpful hints.
- Be thoughtful about the information you provide-don’t overwhelm them with too much.
- Allow the caregiver to complain, laugh or cry. You may not be able to fix the problem, but listening can help ease the stress.
- Offer to drive them to appointments.
- Offer to drive to their place of worship.
- Ask if you can research counseling options for the caregiver or the person who needs care.
- Find classes, books or online resources that teach stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, yoga or medication.
- Help a caregiver create a list of things they are grateful for. Post the list where they will see it often. Positive thoughts can help get them through hard moments.
**Providing care for an older, ill or disabled loved on can be very rewarding. But it can be stressful too. Getting support from others can help caregivers cope with the stress. Look inside to find 50 ways to help support a caregiver.
**Disclaimer: This pamphlet was written by Nancy Calhoun for Journeyworks Publishing. This pamphlet is not a substitute for medical care. If you have questions or concerns, please talk with a healthcare provider.
Don’t go out this alone, learn to ask for help!
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Santa Cruz, CA 95061