Being a caregiver is never an easy feat. It’s a long-term commitment that comes with watching a loved one age with a progressive disease, all while juggling various roles and responsibilities. Some days, it feels as though the weight of the world is falling right on their shoulders, and it reminds us that sometimes, we need to support the caregiver, too.
We know their plate is full, and that is why we’re here – to ease some of the burdens and provide the tools, resources, and support needed to ensure that both the caregiver and their loved one are living a life full of meaning and purpose. This is a journey that does not need to be walked alone and, even during some of the hardest trials, there is still joy to be found in caregiving.
I think we might all be in agreeance when I say that caregivers really are the world’s greatest superheroes. They have dedicated their time to helping their aging loved ones turn small feats into great accomplishments and are known best for their loving, selfless, and compassionate nature. Caregivers always put their loved one’s needs first, and we applaud them for that! But sometimes, even the strongest superheroes need a little help – and that’s okay! This is where you, dear friends, get to help support the caregiver in your life.
If you are a friend of a caregiver, then you know just how hard your friend works without little reprieve for themselves. As their friend, you might have even wondered what you can do to support your pal through their journey. It might seem challenging to know where to start at first, but the intentional efforts you make to help nurture your relationship with your caregiving friend can be the best way to not only provide them with some much-needed support but also remind your friend that they never have to face the next chapter alone.
Sometimes, caregiving can feel a bit lonesome, and some caregivers might even distance themselves from their social circles because they worry that their role might burden others. For this reason, it is important to reach out to your friend to let them know that you see how hard being a caregiver can be and that you are there rooting for them!
Positive words of affirmation, especially in times of high stress and anxiety, can go a long way in reminding caregivers of their remarkable work. So, call your friend and tell them how great of a job they are doing by saying things like, “Hey Nana, thank you for all you do for Papa. I think you’re doing amazing, and I can see how much you love him.”
It is also important to remember that, most times, you might have to be the first person to initiate contact with your caregiving friend. Even if they aren’t able to respond or answer the phone right away, that never means that your friend doesn’t want to hear from you. It might simply just mean that they have their hands full. With everything piling on their plates and all the roles they have to fill, caregivers won’t always be available or feel comfortable being the first to reach out for interaction, socialization, or help. But still, receiving the simple hello’s, I love you’s, and other little reminders throughout the days or weeks will mean the most to them – because it reminds them that they still mean something to someone.
More often than not, what caregivers really need most is to know and feel that someone truly cares about them. They spend so much of their time doing things for their loved one that they really only need someone to be there for them. So, if your friend is a caregiver and you’ve been wondering how you can help support them, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give them a call. Reach out, connect, and let them know you are there for them. It’s the small gestures like these that remind caregivers just how loved and appreciated they are. And, even if they don’t have the words to tell you, trust that your caregiving friend thanks you for supporting them through their journey.
A Fellow Caregiver
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The impacts of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other age-related issues affect the entire family. That is why Oakwood Creative Care’s team of talented and compassionate experts is here — to provide services, education, and support to help you navigate through this journey. Click the link below to get connected and find resources dedicated to caregiver support.