How to Help a Caregiver

We caregivers are experts at keeping a “happy” face, even when times lack happiness and joy.  Our constant smile and understanding gives the impression that everything is always OK.  True feelings are pushed aside for the benefit of the patient.  We never ask for help because caregiving duties are solely our responsibility.  However, there are times when we need help, but don’t voice our feelings.

When asked if he/she needs help, a caregiver will often respond, “No thank you.  I have everything under control.  I appreciate the offer.”  So, how can you help a caregiver that refuses help?  Try indirect help.  Provide items or services that make their caregiving duties easier.

  1. Provide encouragement in the form of a card or casual conversation.  Let the caregiver know he/she is doing an excellent job and you appreciate their devotion.
  2. Caregiving is costly especially when you’re living on a limited income.  Give the caregiver a gift card that can be used for everyday expenses.
  3. Most caregivers have very limited time for errands.  Volunteer to grocery shop or pick up the patient’s medications.
  4. Balancing family and caregiving can be very stressful.  In this situation, offer free childcare services to the caregiver.

Trying to offer help can be tricky especially when you’re trying to directly help the caregiver in their environment.  Most have a set daily schedule.  Any deviation from this set schedule can cause unwanted stress.  So, how can you directly help a caregiver without interfering with their daily schedule?  

  1. Prepare meals for both the patient and the caregiver and deliver the meals a few times a week.  When preparing the meals be sure to abide by proper diet restrictions.
  2. Depending on the patient’s medical condition, home-care can involve a massive amount of laundry on a daily basis.  Volunteer to pick up and drop off laundry a few times a week.
  3. Offer to transport a patient to medical appointments.  These few hours allow the caregiver to take a break and catch up with daily tasks.
  4. Provide RESPITE CARE.  Allowing the caregiver a short-term break from their daily monotonous schedule is extremely beneficial.  The caregiver is able to enjoy activities outside of their duties, thus enabling them to de-stress and recharge.  A healthy caregiver can consistently provide top-notch care to the patient.

Caregivers can be stubborn.  This stubbornness will eventually lead to caregiver stress and burnout.  As a third-party to the situation, you can indirectly and directly help the caregiving process by providing your time and services.  Help the caregiver so they can successfully care for a loved-one.  Don’t take “NO” for an answer.  Work behind-the-scenes and give them the support they deserve.  Let me know how you help the caregivers in your life by leaving a comment!  Thank you and good luck!



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I'm just your average thirty-something woman, living in Small Town, USA. I graduated college with a B.S. Degree in Chemistry in 2008. While pursuing my passion for Chemistry, my life took an unexpected turn and I became my grandmother's 24 hour caregiver....for 11 years. During this time, I married and became a very independant woman. We Are Chemistry combines my love of Chemistry with eventful life experiences. It's Chemistry, caregiving, and me!

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