Caring for another person is one of the greatest callings, but also among the most tiring responsibilities. For family members who must fill the role of caregiver for a loved one, it’s a job that asks for so much of us – physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is why it’s so important to support anyone you know who may be in a caregiver role. This could be a spouse caring for a spouse, an adult child caring for an aging parent, or a friend or neighbor who is stepping into this role when the family cannot. Every caregiver situation looks quite unique, but one thing remains the same. Everyone will get fatigued in this role at some point. How can you help support the caregivers in your life? Keep reading for our tried-and-true advice.
Check In – This is the easiest piece of advice, yet so often we allow the busyness of life to prevent us from simply checking in with someone who is in a caregiver role. This often leaves them feeling alone and unnoticed, which can increase the fatigue they feel. If you find that you keep forgetting to send a text or call the caregiver in your life, set a calendar reminder! Be intentional about touching base with your mom, dad, sibling, or friend who is caring for an aging loved one on their own. Better yet, spend time with them in person and make plans to enjoy an activity together that gives them a break from caregiving.
Listen – When a caregiver and family member spend hours upon hours every day together, they are likely both in need of a listening ear of someone else. Tensions can run high and often they just need someone to talk to, to vent about anything that might be weighing on them. Keep in mind that they don’t likely need you to solve all their problems, but really just listen. Agree and acknowledge, and when appropriate offer some advice or encouragement.
Don’t Just Ask…Do – For those who assume the role of caregiver, it can be easy to forget about your own needs. Therefore, these individuals may not be the best about reaching out for help when it’s needed. When you ask them how you can help and you’re not given any tangible response, take it upon yourself to help without having to be asked. Small gestures like bringing a meal, giving a small gift, or offering them some time away while you fill in and spend time with that loved one could be exactly what they need at that moment without knowing to ask for it.
Help Arrange Outside Help – Finally and most importantly, keep a keen eye for when a caregiver may be in over their head. As the loved one’s needs increase and as they become more fatigued in this role, it may be time to look for the outside help of a professional caregiver. At Ella Home Care, we speak from a place of knowing when we say that the investment in a professional caregiver can allow a family member to return to being a spouse, child, or friend – rather than a caregiver. This can be a huge relief for everyone involved that allows them to find peace, rest, and repair a strained relationship.
Do you know someone who is currently caring for another aging adult? We hope this advice offers some inspiration for ways you can be a blessing in their lives and help to alleviate some of this weight. Even if it’s simply checking in or acknowledging their efforts, these small affirmations can go a long way to give thanks to an often thankless job.