I recently read Melissa Bear’s series on “What it is like to be a caregiver.” Melissa, 26, writes about how difficult it was for her to ask for help as she cared for her ill mother every day. I’ve also talked with other people going through caregiving events in their lives, and know that Melissa’s thoughts and feelings are common.
Ideas to Support a Caregiver
Melissa’s post really hit home with me because I heard similar themes from other caregivers, who also shared some ideas and insights about how people could help them avoid caregiver burnout:
- First, Melissa insists that she is not a “casserole caregiver” — someone who prepares and brings meals. Not a lot of today’s caregivers are, given that the number of people in the sandwich generation is only growing. Melissa spoke of her mother’s friend who swooped in to help with daunting paperwork and another friend who came by to rub her mother’s feet and provide a little respite to her and her dad. For others, helping out could mean raking the leaves, picking up kids from school, or creating a meal calendar. Every little bit helps when all your energy is spent supporting someone else.
- People all around us are willing to help. Sometimes asking is the hardest thing for us to do, but our communities want to give care with us. No matter who’s a part of your personal community, the important thing is to let them know what’s going on. This could be communicated through a free CaringBridge website or by talking to a good friend. Once people know what you need, they will come to your rescue.
- Help will come from unexpected sources. As a caregiver you can create a simple list, calendar or planner with a list of needs. Tell your community what you need and when. Seem too forward? Then ask someone who cares about you to create one on your behalf.
At CaringBridge, We Asked what More We Could do to Support Caregivers
Our new CaringBridge SupportPlanner is different than a CaringBridge site. For example, a caregiver might want to reach out to a more intimate group of people for help with daily tasks. A SupportPlanner helps family and friends coordinate care and organize helpful activities like bringing meals, taking care of pets and other needs.
If you or someone you know is in the midst of a health journey and could use a hand with daily tasks—mowing the lawn, meal preparation, dog-walking, errands and more —start a SupportPlanner today. Put a caring community in motion.