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.

  1. 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 decreasemichigan-caregivers their stress.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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. 

Have we missed anything? We’d love to hear your ideas!