Dear Friends and Family of Caregivers,
First off, thank you for the love and support you have shown the caregiver in your life this far. You want to help– that’s great! Caregivers could use some support.
What to Say and How to Help
- The caregiving role can be isolating, demanding and at times feel unmanageable. It is natural for a caregiver to feel the burden of sole responsibility for a sick or aging loved one and, as time passes, it becomes less instinctive to ask for help.
- For as much as the caregiver in your life may need you to step in, s/he may have trouble vocalizing it or understanding what kind of care others can manage. Your support means everything to a caregiver.
- Try not to voice any judgments that you may have. No matter how much you love someone, it is natural that you might disagree with a friend’s behavior or action. But it is important that you provide a safe, judgment-free space for your friend. The role of caregiver can bring up a lot of unexpected and confusing emotions, like resentment towards someone who is sick. Try to put aside any preconceived notions and listen to your friend. They may be ashamed of what they are feeling and will need someone who will comfort them by telling them it is a normal feeling.
- Be both specific and general in the support you can provide. For example, say you are always around to talk but tell the caregiver in your life that you are available at a certain time if s/he needs to talk. Ask if they need anything but also say you’re stopping at the pharmacy and offer to pick up a prescription.
There is no expectation to devote all of your time, energy and resources but every little action you take will be a big help to your friend or family member.