Your friend’s wife was just diagnosed with cancer. Your cousin just became the caregiver of her disabled sister. Your friend’s grandmother just moved in with them. Your coworker’s son was just in an accident. You want to help, but aren’t sure what to do. Here’s where to start…
1. Pick up the phone
Caregivers often find it impossible to make it to social events. Keep up with your friendship, even if they’re not holding up their end – they’re holding up a lot right now. Regular phone calls, text messages, emails, or letters mean a lot to caregivers.
2. Run to the store
You’re going to run errands anyway. Check in and see if you can pick up a few items. It can be tough for caregivers to find time to run errands – or to run errands with their caree in tow. Plus, it’s nice to have a quick chat.
Sometimes it’s hard for new caregivers to understand that the world is continuing on without them. Caregivers might not want to talk about what’s going on with them, or they might have a hard time relating to your life. They’re likely feeling overwhelmed. Let them vent without trying to fix things or making judgments.
4. Give an hour
Relieving them of their caregiving responsibilities for an hour or two can make a big difference. They need time to run errands…and relax. If their loved one requires more medical assistance than you can provide, just being there to provide the patient with company can give your friend the chance to shower, read a book, or take a nap. You could also come by and help them with chores.
5. Pick up a bill
Caregiving is expensive, even with insurance. Encourage them to set up an Amazon wish list or pick another way to let people know how they can help out.