There are ways that friends and other family members can help the family caregiver. These methods and a brief explanation of each are given below.
- Sometimes the caregiver just needs other to validate the struggles and triumphs they experience; all the hard work they put in every day in the name of caregiving. The days can be very up and down, like a roller-coaster ride. Their life is usually focused on the caregiving role, which may last 3 months of their life, or even up to 20 years.
- Be patient with caregivers, validating their hard work when appropriate and as often as possible.
- Keep the lines of communication open between caregivers and all other family members.
- Encourage caregivers to keep open communication between themselves and other professionals who are involved in the care process – other part-time caregivers, doctors, specialists, etc.
Assist in any way you can
- Even small things are important to the caregiver. One hour of respite time is wonderful; several hours of respite is priceless.
- Every caregiver needs help in some way or other. Some have helped by buying groceries and delivering them when the caregiver cannot get out. Others may be able to come over and sit for a while with the loved one so the caregiver can get out.
- Provide a ride. You could take the loved one to a doctor’s appointment while the caregiver takes a break or goes out with friends or family members for an activity.
Be very understanding and compassionate
- Caregivers of aging loved ones experiencing cognitive decline are under much more stress than those who aren’t.
- Often the caregiver feels like they have lost their loved one psychologically long before they lose them physically.
- It’s a different kind of grieving they are experiencing; their loss takes place in steps, over a longer period of time.
Give the gift of time
- The most precious thing to a caregiver is time.
- The caregiver needs more time for herself, more time with her family (for example her own children)
- The best way to help a caregiver is to find a way to give her some time. This may mean that you take over her caregiving duties for a short time, or help her find a caregiver from an agency to give her some time off.
Show your support to the family caregiver both in words of encouragement and also by finding things you can do to help her get a much-needed break.
If you have a loved one who could benefit from the help of elder care services in Antioch, CA contact the caregivers at Hillendale Home Care. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care service. Call (925) 948-8280 for more information.