Creative ways to say ‘thank you’ to the family caregiver

Creative ways to say ‘thank you’ to the family caregiver

Chances are, you know someone who is a family caregiver even if you aren’t one yourself. According to the Caregiver Action Network (CAN), 90 million adults— two out of every five in the entire country— are responsible for the bulk of a family member’s care. November is National Family Caregivers Month, and this year is aptly themed, “Family Caregivers— Now More Than Ever!”

The Pew Research Center maintains that 39 percent of American adults are the primary caregiver for an ill spouse, special-needs child, or an aging parent. November is an excellent time for family members who aren’t the primary care provider to show appreciation for those who do shoulder the bulk of this affirming and sometimes stressful labor of love.

Look for the Little Things

A family caregiver is likely putting their own activities and home responsibilities on the backburner when caring for a family member, according to Stephani Sock, the Care Coordinator with At Home Senior Services in Auburndale; family members looking to say thank you can take care of some of those small things that are going unnoticed. Sock recommends looking at the situation to find a unique solution. Some of her recommendations include:

• Cleaning and straightening up

• Buying groceries and cooking

• Performing yard care and maintenance

• Tackling home repair projects like painting and cleaning gutters

• Taking the car for servicing like oil changes, tune-ups, or detailing

• Driving kids to activities, play dates, etc.

 

Family members can offer their own services or pay others to do so, depending upon whichever works best for the situation.

Offer To Take a Shift

Not all caregivers are stressed out by their charges, but it is a common issue when one person has the lion’s share of the responsibility. Find out how you can step up to help out with the care of an ill or elderly family member from the experts. Scan the QR code here to read more or go to www.CentralFloridaHealthNews.com.

Plan Something Special

Just like with any special time of the year, a gift is a sure way to show appreciation. Cards, notes and “thinking of you” emails are a great start, though arranging something special really says a lot. Jorge Giraldo, the CEO-Owner of Senior Helpers, recommends acknowledging the family caregiver with a party to celebrate and honor both the patient and the caregiver; he also recommends remembering to invite professional caregivers to the event as well.

Another option is to give the family caregiver something special in terms of rest and relaxation, such as a day at a spa or a weekend away; the whole family can pitch in, with some taking over care duties and others offering funds to pay for the special occasion. While being a family caregiver is labor of love, it’s always nice to be recognized!

Offer To Take a Shift

Not all caregivers are stressed out by their charges, but it is a common issue when one person has the lion’s share of the responsibility. Many experts recommend that those family members who are playing a minor role can step up to help out with the care of the ill or elderly family member.

For family living nearby, taking over some of the caregiving duties—even just once— offers the main caregiver some needed down time. Experts stress that family members who want to help out offer specific actions they can do—such as “I’ll pick up all of Dad’s medications this week and fill his medication dispensers”—rather than a general offer of help.

For those family members who don’t live close enough to put in a personal appearance, paying for a home aide to come to the home to give the primary family caregiver some precious free time is an option.

 

CREDITS

story by ERIKA ALDRICH