As we all know, home caregivers provide an enormous and invaluable service, one which often takes up a substantial part of their daily time and adds many responsibilities to their daily routines. Frequently, relatives or friends may wish that they could do something to help out a little but don’t know exactly what to do. If that sounds familiar, here are a few things that can help.
- Talk to them about what they need. Often a friend thinks, “I wish I could help but I just don’t know how.” So find out how. Have a conversation about everything that the home caregivers in your life do and in what areas they could use help.
- Talk to them about other things. One of the things that benefits many home caregivers most is just having conversations that take them away from their cares and duties. Coming over and sharing a cup of coffee or setting up a regular weekly phone call to catch up and gossip can relieve caregiver stress and help them feel more connected to someone they don’t see as often as they would like.
- Share things. Home caregivers know their friends are thinking of them when they send them an email with a cute cat video or drop by just to drop off a funny cartoon they found in the newspaper. Little things can mean a lot.
- Offer to shop. When going to the store, offer to pick up things that a caregiver friend needs. However, some home caregivers prefer to shop themselves as a way to get out of the house. In such cases, see if they’d like company on occasional shopping trips. That can be a good way to catch up while the caregiver still gets important work done.
- Help with kids. Often home caregivers are caring for aging parents while trying to raise kids – a double whammy in terms of caregiving. It can be a big help to arrange to bring the kids over to play with your own kids. If you don’t have children, offering to take them out to a movie can also be an option.
- Lend a hand with extra work. When home caregivers have to cook, clean, etc., on a daily basis, the seasonal activities can make things difficult. Being able to help out with raking leaves, shoveling snow, or mowing the lawn can make a big difference.
Home caregivers are usually happy to receive assistance from others. Checking with them on what needs to be done and choosing something that fits in your own schedule can be a benefit for both of you.