Caregiving is a role I don’t always identify with, although I should because I have been one many times. From caring for my elderly parents dealing with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, a stroke and more, to my wife’s mesothelioma diagnosis just three months after the birth of our only child, I have been caregiving for the last ten years. While I easily consider myself both a husband and a father, I don’t always think of myself as a caregiver. Caregiving felt natural – I was just caring for family.

The Role a Caregiver Plays

Caregivers: those who dedicate countless hours and emotional energy caring for others after a diagnosis or illness. Their purpose is ultimately to help make the life of the person they are taking care of easier. Caregivers are the unsung heroes! And maybe that is why I don’t always think of myself as a caregiver – because I don’t think of myself as a hero. In 2010, there were an estimated 37 million caregivers in the U.S. That’s a lot of heroes!

A bit of advice I give every caregiver is remember to take care of yourself. If you are not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. Today, I would like to offer some tips on how to take care of the caregiver. So if you know a caregiver, here are some ways you can help them out.

Ways to Help the Caregiver

My first suggestion is to ask the caregiver “how can I help?” Hopefully the caregiver will be organized and offer a couple choices. You could always offer to help with tasks like cooking or preparing meals, shopping, cleaning or housework, yard work, childcare, transportation, and helping with pets. Or whatever the caregiver might need help or assistance with.

You can always offer them an ear – someone to talk to. Caregiving can be stressful, having someone to talk to helps. Plus it helps feel socially connected, and reminds the caregiver that there are others who care about them.

And lastly, don’t forget to invite the caregiver to social events. It’s important for the caregiver to socialize and connect with friends. Take them to a movie, theatre, sporting event…anything. Just get them out and have a good time. Caregiving demands a lot, giving the caregiver a break from that routine helps.

P.S.

Advice to caregivers: If anyone offers to help – take them up one it! And remember, take care of yourself.