Ways to Help Family Caregivers

Ways to Help Family Caregivers

Caregiving changes a person.


Depending on the stage of caregiving their world can be paused and they may feel overwhelmed. Having you say, "Let me know if you need anything" is nice but few will take you up on that.  Tara has been on both sides of that statement. :) And has learned some valuable lessons along the way. These resources should make it easier for you help the caregiver in your life. But, remember these are just suggestions and not everything may be relevant or wanted by the caregiver. 

And that's okay.

Hospitals, Surgeries and Home Comings, Oh my!

Probably one of most stressful times for caregivers.

They are worried about their loved one, exhausted, trying to get the house ready from the person to come home and they  have to learn new medical lingo quickly.

It's also the most likely time people want to help.  Which inadvertently can lead to more stress.

Here are some ways you can help without adding more stress.

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Flower Bouquet

Sending Flowers

Sometimes when someone is in the hospital people send flowers to the family.If the family is spending most of their time at the hospital with their loved one they don't get to enjoy the beautiful flowers.Tara loves, loves flowers, but she believes the best time to send flowers to the caregiver is once the person is home from the hospital or in transition care.When the caregiver might be home a bit more to enjoy the flowers.

Pro Tip:If you decide you want to send flowers at a later date, set a reminder in a week or two to remember to send flowers. Then you won't forget and they get flowers once the immediate hospital stay has likely passed.

Family pets

Offer to help with their pets

If you live close by, offering to walk the dog, or even letting the dog outside is a huge help. 

Or maybe it's offering to feed the cat.  

Taking care of dogs and cats is just one more thing that can stress out the caregiver. 

Even if they normally are used to taking care of the pet.

Offer to help get the house ready

Depending on the reason, for the surgery or illness, the caregiver might be trying to get the house ready for them, before they come home. 

Offering to vacuum, dust or move furniture can be a huge help.

Be clear on what you are willing to help with.  Giving examples is a great way to do this. "I came over and help vacuum (or dust mop) if you want me to."

Offer to help take care of children

If you like kids and the caregiver has young children offering to take them to a movie or a park can be helpful. 

Or giving them a ride to practice or school.

Home Cooked Meals

Offering to drop dinner is usually welcomed, if you are willing to take into account dietary restrictions and preferences.

Ask first though. 

Give a few suggestions on dates, instead of leaving it open ended. Pick a date close to the date the person is coming home or pick a date a week or so out.

Letting the caregiver choose what might work best for them. 

Food delivery gift cards

Door Dash, Uber Eats, etc. gift cards are a great to let them choose when and what type of food they are hungry for. 

If you know of a restaurant they eat at a lot you could get them a gift card for there too. Bonus if it has delivery.

Grocery Gift Cards

A simple grocery store gift card can be tremendously helpful.

If they haven't used deliver or pick up options, recommend it to them. Most grocery stores have the option now.

Grocery pick up-options were a life saver to Tara.

Amazon, Target, Walmart Gift Cards

Often there are a bunch of unexpected items to buy that most people don't have in their house. This can range from medical supplies to different clothing.

If you don't know where they shop Amazon might be safer than choosing between Walmart and Target. 

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