How to Help a Caregiver
Whether you are a paid caregiver or unpaid caregiver, it can be a heavy role to take on—but our world would not be able to function without them. While some caregivers are just thrown into this role due to life’s circumstances, others choose this job because of the amazing feeling of serving others.
A caregiver gives a LOT to the individuals they’re caring for, so much, in fact, that they might forget to take care of themselves, too. That’s why it’s essential that their community of loved ones take the task of how to help a caregiver seriously.
Who are caregivers?
A caregiver is anyone who helps another person complete daily activities. Often, caregivers are helping those with disabilities, children, elderly or those with a disease. Life as a caregiver can be extremely draining and taxing but also extremely rewarding. You can make lifelong relationships with people you otherwise may not have ever interacted with and you get the satisfaction of knowing you made someone else’s life better. Many caregivers also have other jobs and duties to attend to. Because of this, caregivers often get overwhelmed with all of their duties.
Caregiving often adds at least 15 extra hours of work per week.
Burnout rates are heightened by working more hours each week and having less time to rest and practice self care. No Barriers recognizes the sheer amount of work that caregivers offer, oftentimes at their own energy’s expense.
That’s why we give caregivers support through our program, No Barriers Caregivers. This program aims to support caregivers through transformative, curriculum based, workshops, retreats, and expeditions. This community gives caregivers a safe place to go with others like them to learn, relax, get support and support each other. No Barriers provides help for caregivers, encouraging and empowering them through unique programming and community building.
11 ways to give caregivers support
Here are creative ideas to help you brainstorm as you figure out how to help a caregiver.
1. Share the care!
Offer to help them with some of the things on their “to-do” list. When offering, be explicit in the tasks you’re fit for and wanting to do; offers of generic “I can help” can often stress out an already-stressed person.
2. Be quick to listen and slow to give advice.
Sometimes people just need to vent and be heard. It can also be hard to give good, solid advice if you don’t have personal experience with the situation therefore sometimes it is best to just listen and empathize.
3. Offer to sit with the care receiver.
Give the caregiver a break so they can do something for themselves. By offering to sit with the care receiver, you take some responsibility off the caregivers hands and give them time for themselves—maybe for a nap?!
4. Bring food 🥗🍫🍕
Whether snacks or a whole meal for later, they may not have time to care for themselves and make their own food. You can bring tasty snacks to show caregivers support! Many times, caregivers are working late into the evenings and do not have much time to make healthy, nutritious meals for themselves and their families. Save them time to get other things done and gives them one less thing to do!
5. Take them on a trip to relax.
From a weekend getaway to a beach vacation, a relaxing trip away can help get their mind off work and reconvene. Taking them on a little weekend jaunt is one of the best ways we’ve found on how to help a caregiver.
6. Invite them to things, even if you know they can’t come.
Nothing is worse than feeling left out and even when life is busy, it feels good to know you’re loved and included.
7. Invite them to a workout class with you.
Getting a workout in is proven to boost endorphins and help you feel happier. Why not use your free guest pass on someone who will get more out of the class than a good workout?
8. Run errands for them.
When running your errands, ask if there is anything you can pick up for them to help save them time. Next time you go to the grocery store, text your caregiver friend and say “Hey I’m headed to the grocery store, is there anything I can pick up for you?”
9. Tip: Be specific in your offers.
For example, “I am free tomorrow from 3pm-5 can I come over and help do laundry and clean your house?” Help for caregivers can come in all shapes and sizes, but being direct in your availability can lessen their workload of planning and aligning schedules.
10. Always remind them how loved, supported and important they are.
Sometimes when we are completely immersed in supporting others, we forget how much we do and how important we are. Reminding caregivers that they’re loved and valued will help keep them positive and hopeful.
11. Get them involved in No Barriers!
No Barriers hosts amazing, cost-free retreats that help support caregivers by finding community, giving support, and practicing self care. Recommend they join the No Barriers online caregiving community, and you can nominate a caregiver to participate here for future events.
Life as a caregiver can be challenging… and you can help!
Caregiving is not an easy job, but the rewards are great. From helping others with daily tasks to empowering them, caregivers are essential to our society. Life as a caregiver can be challenging, so it is important that their community provides help for caregivers, too. Remember to support the caregivers in your life and remind them with regularity that you’re there for them—and willing to put in some extra help, too.
Are you a caregiver? First off—Thank you for all you do. We’d love for you to join No Barriers Caregivers and get more support to continue caring for others!
Know a caregiver? Nominate them for our next retreat to experience a life changing environment of caregivers like them to relax, practice self care, build friendships and much more. You can also donate to No Barriers to support future cost-free self-care programming for caregivers.February 19, 2020