a gift being wrapped in craft paper and twine with carnations on top

It can be difficult to show your support, especially when you’re far away. Here are ways you can help your friends and family who are providing hands-on care and remind them how much you appreciate what they do.

Of course, I encourage you to ask the caregiver what they want. However, sometimes it’s difficult to articulate what you need. Many caregivers have been let down before and are hesitant to ask for help again. Show them that you’re serious about helping by starting off with these ideas.

Provide respite care

Coming over for a few hours yourself or providing a gift certificate for a few hours of respite care is a wonderful way to show them you understand how hard they work.

Take care of the paperwork

Taking care of bills, managing insurance claims, and other paperwork can be incredibly stressful and time-consuming. If you’re a long-distance caregiver, taking responsibility for financial and legal tasks is something you can do from afar that will be greatly appreciated.

Transportation help

Can you help provide rides to appointments or by running errands? If you aren’t able to do this personally, you can still provide gift certificates for transportation services or arrange for things like groceries and supplies to be delivered at their convenience.

Craft supplies and activities

It can be hard to keep carees entertained. Finding an activity that’s a good fit for someone’s abilities and interests can mean peace and quiet for their caregiver.

Cleaning services

Can you arrange to have someone take care of the cleaning and laundry for them? This is a great way to give a caregiver an extra hour for themselves.

Something delicious

Cooking can be a rewarding hobby and an act of love – or it can be time-consuming drudgery. If dietary restrictions aren’t an issue, a gift certificate to their favorite local cafe or a service like Seamless is fantastic. Some organizations, like Meals to Heal, provide prepared meals tailored to the specific nutritional needs of people with illnesses.

Something just for them

Before caregiving took over their life, what were they interested in? Pick out something they’ll really enjoy and do what you can to make sure they’ll get the time they need to enjoy it.

Your ear

The best support a caregiver can get is your understanding and appreciation. Call just to say hi and make sure they know you mean it when you ask how they’re doing.

Written by Michelle Daly

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  1. When my husband had his heart transplant we had to relocate to Florida from Arkansas prior to the transplant. While he was in rehab for complications during the transplant, I came home one night to find a package from our church. It had all of my favorite things in it, goldfish crackers, jelly beans, M&Ms, yarn. I remember unpacking the box sitting on the floor with tears rolling down my face!

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