Caregivers are strong, essential members of our healthcare system, and we should be there to support them as much as possible. Caregivers can face many challenges, including stress, heartbreak, and exhaustion, so what are some ways we can be there to help our caregiver friends?
There are so many options to help our caregiver friends and family when overwhelmed. It is essential to listen to what they need and help where we can. Read on to find out some specific actions you can take to help a caregiver friend or family member if they are overwhelmed or exhausted.
How To Help a Friend Who is a Caregiver
Caregivers play a vital role in our healthcare system, and whether they are caring for a family member or a stranger, we should do everything in our power to help them if they become overwhelmed or tired. Let them vent if they become overwhelmed and just be there for support.
Surprising your caregiver friend or family member with a nice home-cooked meal or a night out at a nice restaurant is one way to cheer them up and pamper them a bit. An effective stress reliever can be as simple as running these errands for your caregiver, friends, or family members.
Be a Good Listener
Sometimes we all just need someone to talk to. When you work a high-stress job, that can be even more of a necessity. One of the best things you can do to help your caregiver friends can be to ask them if they need to talk about anything. Most times, you will get an earful, but it will mean the world to them to get it off their chest.
One of the most thoughtful things a person can do is be there for another person to lean on, and as long as you have the emotional room and capacity to receive it, you should be there for your caregiver, friend, or family member to vent to. Venting will not only make them feel better in the long run, but it will build a closer bond between the two of you.
Treat Caregivers to Dinner or Meal Service
Caregivers often work longer hours, which means they may not have time for simple things like cooking dinner, especially after a long day. Treating your caregiver friends or family members to dinner can be one extra thing that you can take off their plate.
Meal Delivery services like Hello Fresh can be an incredibly thoughtful and practical gift to give your caregiver friend. Hello Fresh will deliver pre-portioned ingredients and meal kits to your friend’s doorstep for a weekly fee, cutting their prep time by over 75%.
If a meal delivery service is not in your price range, there is always the option of treating your caregiver friend to a meal out at a restaurant once or twice a week. Saving them the time and treating them to a meal would be a thoughtful way to support your caregiver friends.
Give Them Their Space or Help Foster Some Self-Care
In times of prolonged stress, something that can help some people is just having some space to breathe. One thoughtful gesture can be to check in with your caregiver friends regularly, and if they ask for some distance, give it to them. Be sure to ask your friend if there is anything you can help them with outside of being with them, like errands.
Another thoughtful gesture that can be done while giving your caregiver friend some space is to send them a self-care gift box. Self-care is one crucial thing that often gets neglected by those that work incredibly long or awkward hours. This UnBoxMe Self-Care Gift Box is a thoughtful gift to send your friends that work in healthcare. It might encourage them to slow down and take some time for themselves.
Treat Them To A Spa Day
Another thoughtful way to promote self-care and pampering for your caregiver friend or family member is to treat them to a day of pampering at a local spa. Relaxing facials, manicures, pedicures, or relaxation in a sauna can be some fantastic treats for your friend.
If an entire spa day is not in your price range, do not panic. You can still create an equally relaxing and luxurious spa day at home. At-home spa essentials like the SpaLife 10 Piece Spa Set can give you the same relaxing experience at a much lower cost.
Help Friends with Errands Like Grocery Shopping
Grocery shopping can be a time-consuming but necessary thing to do. Those of us that work a standard nine to five relatively stress-free job can still barely find the time to grocery shop. Our caregiver friends and family experience the same thing.
One of the most thoughtful things you can do for your caregiver friends or family members is to take some time out of your week to grocery shop for them. Simply asking them for a grocery list is all you need to do. They will likely be appreciative of just the thought. A meal delivery service like Hello Fresh that we have already discussed is another alternative option.
Clean Their House or Babysit for Them
Cleaning someone’s house can be a lifesaver. It seems like those in high-stress jobs working long hours just cannot find the time to get those simple chores done, and nobody blames them. Again, taking just a bit of time out of your day to clean their house can be one of the most thoughtful things you can do for them.
If your caregiver friend has children, likely, they haven’t had a night out or to themselves in a while. You can give them that gift by simply asking to watch their child for a night or two. Possibly more than any other item on this list, watching their child for a night or two could help them relieve some stress or practice some self-care.
Take Them Out for a Movie or Host a Movie Night
Your friends who are caregivers could use a relaxing night; we have already determined that. If they happen to be a fan of films, you may find that they haven’t had the time to see one lately. Getting to do something they enjoy without planning can be a busy caregiver’s dream.
A night out at the movie theater can be a thoughtful gift to give them, but if that is not quite in your price range, no big deal. You can arrange to host a movie night. Provide some snacks, ask them their favorite movie and just plan a night of relaxation and give them the gift of something they have been missing out on.
This could be done in conjunction with a night out at a restaurant or after a spa day. If your friend happens to have a whole day off, plan the entire day for them. A day at the spa, followed by a night out for dinner and drinks, then end with a movie night. The possibilities are endless, and even one of these options will be a thoughtful gesture to them.
How To Support Family Members That Are Caregivers
Helping our caregiver friends is something thoughtful that we can do, but when we have a family member that is a caregiver, the need and ability to help them can be extremely different. If you have a family member in your home caring for a loved one, it can be even more essential to make yourself available to help them.
It is one of the most challenging things to see a family member struggling with stress, bad days, or even depression because of a job, so what can we do to help our family members that are caregivers?
Be There to Help Them When They Have Had A Bad Day
We are likely already home to help our family members when they get in from a bad day at work. We often do not have a choice but to be present for them, but one extra step to take is to acknowledge that they are struggling and express that we are here to listen to them and help when they have had a bad day.
Those phrases alone may not be something that they are expecting. That is why it is all the more essential for us to vocalize that we are here to help them. Helping a friend can be a thoughtful gift but helping a family member through difficult times seems necessary. Sometimes all it takes is you taking the time to sit with them and let them share their concerns with you.
Be Their Support System
Family is our support system, and when we have a family member struggling, it is crucial to be the strong support system that they require on both good and bad days. Check in with your caregiver family members regularly and let them know that you are here to be their support system when they need it.
Some of us need to hear that we have a support system in place and that we can reach out when we need to, but some respond to being given space. Be sure to vocalize what you are willing to offer and encourage your family members to reach out if they are struggling. If they aren’t always comfortable reaching out, be sure to check up on them regularly.
Take Their Place for The Day
One incredible act of kindness could be to work with the caregiver caring for a loved one in your home and see what they do in and out each day. Once you’re comfortable, a pleasant surprise would be to take their place for the day. Let them sit down and take a breath or tell them to go out and treat themselves to a day off.
Performing all of the duties that your family member has to perform every day will not only give them a day off, but it will also give you a greater appreciation for what they do for your loved one every day. It might even encourage you to help more on days the caregiver isn’t taking off.
Ask Them What They Need from You
A thoughtful way to help someone is to ask them clearly and concisely what they need from you. It is a gracious thing to help someone without it being asked of you, but some people don’t respond positively to it. One rule of thumb is to ask your family member what they might need while expressing your willingness to help.
If they tell you that they need help or need something done specifically that they haven’t had time to get to, you could change their world by getting it done for them. Small tasks including tasks that offer care to your loved one can ease their mind and take a bit of work off their plate.
Some small tasks you could help with include:
- Meal prepping
- Cleaning a room or two for them
- Mowing their lawn or doing chores around the house
These could be small tasks for you but mean so much more to them, especially if the person they are caring for lives at home with you.
Help Them with The Care They Provide
One incredible and thoughtful gift you can give to a caregiver caring for someone in your home is to help them with the care they provide. If you have a family member caring for another family member in your home, the best thing you can do for them is to help them with whatever they need to get done.
Some simple tasks that you can complete that will help ease the burden include:
- Making meals for them
- Helping with small daily tasks that they need to complete
- Running to the pharmacy or grocery store for them
These tasks can pile up onto a family member who is caring for a loved one, but if you can take the time to help them with their daily to-do lists, it can be a weight lifted off of their shoulders.
Send Them A Surprise Gift
May 12th is International Nurses Day, and May 6th is Nurse Appreciation day. Though you do not have to wait for these days to roll around to show your appreciation, doing so, especially on these days, will be significantly appreciated by nursing staff everywhere. Nurses, caregivers, doctors, and other caregivers in the medical field work hard day in and day out. They deserve some extra appreciation.
One option is to send random flower deliveries, pizza, dessert, or some kind of treat to your local healthcare facility, particularly if you have friends who work there. It is recommended that you call your local facility beforehand and mention that you would like to send a special delivery to the staff as a thank you. They will likely give you information where the delivery should be sent; you can prepay online and send an anonymous thank you to a team of caregivers near you.
If you have friends who work as caregivers at a local facility, you could even hand-deliver a catered lunch or dinner or gift baskets. You could choose any gift to show your appreciation for the caregivers you know work hard each day.
Suppose you don’t have the time in your schedule to take your friends or family a meal. Try something smaller that you can have delivered to them, like:
- Small Gifts
All of these options will surely cheer these caregivers up, if not make their entire day. Lifting them up if they are having a rough time is one type of support we can provide.
Take Them Out on Their Lunch Break or Bring Lunch to Them
If you are familiar with your local healthcare facility and know what time some of the caregivers there take their lunch breaks, you may find it appropriate to take them out to lunch or bring a catered lunch to the group.
A simple catered box of sandwiches or any food can be a live saver for a caregiver that didn’t have time to pack a lunch for the day or barely has time to stop and eat on the job. A small gesture like catering lunch for a team of nurses can help them more than you know.
Caregivers are incredibly noble people. They work some of the longest hours doing some of the most stressful and occasionally emotionally draining work. It is essential to do everything we can to show our appreciation for these people, especially if they are our friends or family members.
Whether it is a night out at the movies or for dinner or a day at the spa, our options to be thoughtful and help where we can are endless. Be there as a support system or just to listen. Treat them to a dinner out at a restaurant or a meal delivery service. Any small gestures that we can do can make just a bit of difference.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this Blog article are not intended to amount to advice, and you should not rely on any of the contents of this Blog article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this Blog article. OccupationaltherapyBlog disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this Blog article.