Have you considered that family caregivers are almost always working? They are often, however, quiet or in the background, and not easily recognized for the valuable work they do every day, and often into every night. They may struggle to balance caregiving with other responsibilities, such as caring for their children, or with other activities in daily life they would like time to do, like visiting grandchildren, maintaining a volunteer position, or keeping up with a hobby. In November, as we celebrate National Family Caregivers Month, it can be important to reach out to family caregivers in your life to recognize the importance of their caregiving role and also encourage them in their other endeavors.
Many family caregivers feel lonely amid their responsibilities. Their spouse or partner, or grown children, may lead busy lives of their own, which may be the reason the caregiver took on caregiving responsibilities in the first place, and can also contribute to feelings of isolation as the boundaries of day to day life seem to shrink. It can be important to encourage family caregivers to seek support and the advice of other caregivers in the same boat. The Caregiver Action Network offers chat boards for family caregivers to discuss their situations and find solutions to common issues from other caregivers. Having access to this type of community can increase engagement in the wider world, even while spending day after day caring for a loved one in his or her home and may also be a way for caregivers to make new friends.
If you have the means to take on just a bit of a family caregiver’s responsibility, this can free up some of his or her time to relax and recharge. There can be many ways to do this. If you are physically able to and have the time, you can take a shift of his or her normal caregiving time. Many family caregivers spend both days and nights with the family member for whom they are providing care. Help at night so they can get a good night’s sleep without worrying may be a welcome offer. If you cannot be there in person, offering to pay for some extra help can be equally valuable.
For more on how to support family caregivers and how to help establish long term care plans for you and your loved ones, please reach out to our office today to schedule an appointment.