"There are four kinds of people:
those who will become caregivers,
those who are caregivers,
those who were caregivers,
and those who will need caregiving themselves."
- Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter
November is National Family Caregiver Month. It is a time to honor, appreciate, and support the many family caregivers who provide countless hours of care to their family.
Family caregivers provide about 37 billion hours of care each year. That's 37 billion hours of compassionate care that often means they are sacrificing their own health and wellbeing. The impact of caregiving can be great. Often times, a family caregiver faces physical, financial, and emotional hardship.
Three simple ways to care for a caregiver:
Include Them. Often times, caregivers may have to decline an invitation because Mom needs her, but don't stop inviting her. Caregivers need a support system now more than ever.
Offer Help. Caregivers are always juggling the many things that need to get done – not only with their family, but also all the appointments, tasks, and care needs of their loved one. Break away from the many, "Let me know how I can help" offers, and offer a specific way you can help. "I'd really like to bring dinner over next week. What day works best?" "I have to stop at the grocery store tomorrow, what can I pick up for your dad?"
Listen. Be the caregiver's sounding wall. You don't have to fix anything or even offer advice, simply listening gives the caregiver an outlet they desperately need.
To learn more about caring for a caregiver, visit www.CaregiverStress.com.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.