9 Ways to Care for the Michigan Caregiver
What can you do to care for the caregiver? Here are 9 ways you can help:
Being a caregiver for a family member or senior loved one who lives with a chronic illness or a life-limiting disease is a tough job. So difficult, in fact, that caregivers often end up in a health crisis of their own. If someone you love is a caregiver for someone they love, you may be concerned about the toll the responsibilities are taking on them.
- Buy them a journal and encourage them to use it every night. Even spending a few minutes venting their frustrations and fears can help to decrease their stress.
- If you live close enough, make time to exercise with them. Take a walk together a few times a week or sit with the person they care for so they can swim at the local fitness club or take a yoga class.
- Help them eat a balanced diet. Maybe you can prepare healthy meals for them to freeze and use or bring them a vegetable tray each week? If you live too far away, you might be able to find a restaurant or market near their home that will do this for you. Think creatively about how you can help make eating healthy easier for them.
- Keep in touch with them. One of the most challenging parts of being a caregiver is staying connected with friends and family. The isolation many caregivers encounter can lead to depression. Use phone calls, email, and Skype to stay in touch.
- Investigate options for respite care for them. A caregiver may realize they need a break on a regular basis, but not have the time or energy to explore what is available. Do that for them by calling local assisted living communities, in-home care providers or the local agency on aging to learn more about respite.
- Encourage them to say “no”. Setting boundaries can be difficult for a caregiver to do, but it is one of the best ways to help them juggle their responsibilities and stay healthy in the long run.
- Help them find a support group. The best option may be to connect with an online group of their peers. That can help them as much as an in-person meeting. The Family Caregiver Alliance is a great place to begin looking.
- Bring on the fun! Coordinate a monthly outing for them. Maybe dinner and a movie or a trip to the art museum. Whatever hobbies and interests they enjoy, help make sure they have a little fun.
- Listen. This may be one of the most important things you can do. Caregiving is not only physically exhausting; it is mentally and emotionally draining. Make sure your loved one knows they can call you to vent or when they need a shoulder to cry on.