“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Women, behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” and from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” John19:26-27
As Jesus was on the cross, he saw his mother and the apostle John standing by. He spoke to them both and left instructions for John to be his mother’s caregiver. Although Jesus’ brothers were not present at His crucifixion, He entrusted John to care for His mother after His death. As being the firstborn, Mary did not reject His judgment because she knew His judgment was just.
Being a Caregiver is Difficult
Are you a caregiver or was a caregiver? If you are, I know and you know that caregiving is not easy. The life of a caregiver can be stressful, demanding, frustrating, and emotional. The family member you are taking care of relies on you for their personal care, decision making, doctors’ appointments, meal preparations and so much more. It can be a lonely life, especially during a pandemic.
I experienced that loneliness while taking care of my mother because of the quarantine instructions.
Being a Caregiver has many challenges
Sometimes caregivers feel unappreciative by the ones they’re caring for and other family members who decided that they do not wish to participate in the elder’s care. Living with chronic pain, feeling frustrated, losing friends, and needing to vent about getting old, the recipients target the person who shows them love. Personality disorder, childhood drama, mental illness, and narcissistic personalities are sometimes the blame. Whatever the reason is for the behavior, the caregiver deals with the pressure and copes with the ongoing challenges.
Caregiving can be an isolating experience. The majority of the caregivers are women with spouses and children, and often, they are seniors themselves. To be truthful, they’re unpaid helpers who provide assistance and increase the quality of life for ailing older adults who might otherwise require placement in a long-term care residence.
20 ways to help a Caregiver
Caregivers necessarily don’t look for rewards, but they just need to know someone cares. If you know of a caregiver that is doing a good job taking care of your loved one or their loved one, here is a list of twenty things you can do for them to let them know you love and appreciate their time and service:
01. Caregiver journals.
Journaling improves your health and is therapeutic. It is an effective way to reduce caregiver stress, reduce burnout risk by getting thoughts and feelings down on paper.
02. Luxurious plush house slippers.
Caregivers are constantly on their feet. Nice comfortable slippers would be amazing for their tired feet.
03. A gift card or gift certificate.
Show your appreciation by purchasing a gift card to their favorite restaurant, coffee shop, or shopping site like Amazon or eBay.
04. Make or buy a gift basket.
Be creative and make a personalized gift basket. If you know their hobbies or favorite foods, pick up some of their favorite items and do an affordable DIY project. You can also order pre-made food gift baskets.
05. Schedule a spa day.
Caregivers need to unwind and giving them a spa day will do the trick. Schedule an appointment for a manicure, pedicure, or massage, or present them with a gift certificate so they can go on the day of their choosing.
06. Prepare home-cooked meals.
Food preparation takes time from a caregiver. You can make several freezer meals and deliver them. Make sure you ask about dietary restrictions for the entire household. You don’t want the caregiver to have to make a second meal because someone can’t eat what you bought.
07. Household Assistance.
If the caregiver is not receiving assisted living from other facilities, offer help in house cleaning, yard maintenance, cleaning the gutters, doing minor repairs, and regular household maintenance.
08. Give them a day off or a break.
If you can stay at her home and relieve him/her of a few hours a week or month, it would really help. If not, pay for another caregiver to relieve your friend/family member on a regular basis.
09. Send them flowers or plant a flower garden.
Flowers deliver beauty to our lives. A floral arrangement bouquet is a classic gift that shows you care to brighten your days. If you have a mean green thumb, beautify their yard with a flower garden.
10. Subscription service.
Subscribe the caregiver with a monthly service of their favorite magazine, beverages, cheese, or pastries to receive at their doorstep.
11. Offer a helping hand.
Ask if you can pick up their children from school, walk the dog, or go grocery shopping.
12. Check on them weekly.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is be there to listen and support your friend or family member.
13. Offer to help them with research.
Sometimes caregivers aren’t aware of local agencies or social services available for them.
14. Encourage them to join a caregiver support group.
Caregiver support groups are filled with people who are in similar situations. These groups understand what you’re going through and it reduces stress, validates your experience, helps reduce depression, anxiety, gives advice and information about practical solutions or treatment options and helps you gain a sense of empowerment and control.
15. Be a good listener.
Caregivers need to vent their frustration and sorrow from time to time. Listen attentively to what they have to say.
16. Don’t be judgmental.
Refrain from sharing how you feel about them quitting their job or putting their business on hold to provide unpaid care. Your criticism isn’t helpful if you aren’t aware of all the details of their situation.
17. Don’t show up unannounced.
Caregivers are often running a tight schedule. I’m sure they would appreciate your visit; just make sure to ask when would be convenient and give plenty of notice beforehand.
18. Pray with your caregiver.
Before you leave their home or end that phone call, offer a prayer for them. Caregivers need to know someone is praying for them.
19. Give compliments.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in-home care. Your friend may feel like he/she isn’t doing enough or may worry about doing something wrong that hurts his/her loved one’s health. Encourage them that they’re doing a good job and they will remember those kind words whenever they’re feeling down.
20. Read the Bible, spiritual books to them, or send audio music to them.
If they’re unable to attend church, this will be helpful to their spiritual growth.
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What’s important is your emotional support, love, and prayers. They are valuable gifts you can give to a caregiver.