5 Easy Ways to Support Caregivers When They Need It Most
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Not sure how to support caregivers? There are lots of ways you can make a big impact and lend a hand. From assisting with everyday tasks to finding ways to show your support, keep reading to see how you can help.
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There are times in your life when your loved ones could use a little help. Whether they are…
- Caring for someone who is sick or injured
- Mourning the loss of someone special
- Navigating a personal tragedy
- Adjusting to a big life change, like a cross-country move or a new baby
… it can be tough to know what you can do to truly show your support.
You want to show them you care and are there to help – but how?
You might want to ask, “How can I help?” or encourage them to let you know if there’s anything you can do. But that rarely makes a meaningful difference – even if you have the best intentions.
But there is some good news.
There are ways you can organize support, show you care, and lend a hand.
By taking initiative and being proactive, you can make a big impact and show your loved one that you’re there to support them – with actions, not just words.
Not sure how to do it?
Learn how to support caregivers in your life with these ideas:
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1 – Organize meals for caregivers.
When you’re busy filling the role of a caregiver or navigating a big loss, finding time and motivation to cook healthy, nourishing meals can be difficult – if not impossible.
By taking meal planning and cooking off of your caregiver’s plate, you can perform an act of service that’s truly meaningful and appreciated.
Unless you know the person well, don’t make this act a total surprise. Instead, it’s best to ask a couple of questions to make sure your act of kindness hits the mark:
- What day works best for you?
- Does your family have any food allergies or preferences?
Whip up a meal for a night, or consider filling up their freezer with make-ahead meals they can easily pop into the oven or slow-cooker later on, like these.
And if you’d like to help out on a larger scale? Extend this gesture of support to their friends and family by creating a meal train and organizing meals over the span of a few weeks. Websites like https://takethemameal.com/ make it easy to coordinate among others and ensure you aren’t duplicating dishes.
2 – Help them out with some critical tasks.
One of the most difficult parts about being a caregiver or mourning a loss is keeping up with all of your everyday must-do’s.
Even when you’re overwhelmed, you still need to run errands, walk the dogs, wash the dishes, mow the lawn, and so much more. And when your plate is full, these seemingly simple tasks can be totally overwhelming.
Volunteering to help out with these tasks can take a huge burden off of a caregiver’s shoulders. Once again, asking “How can I help?” might not be the best way to go here. Instead, offer specific support – “I’d love to help you out by taking your dogs for a walk. What time can I stop by tomorrow afternoon?”
And since it often takes a village to truly lift up and support those in need, consider using a service like SignUpGenius or even a simple Google Sheet to organize efforts among friends and family.
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3 – Keep friends and family in the know.
When someone is going through a hard time, the last thing they want is to be pitied – not to mention, sharing information about your personal hardships can be difficult at best.
This often leads people to withhold details of what they’re going through, suffering in solitude and secrecy.
But knowing that friends and family are there to support and uplift you can have a massive impact on your ability to navigate life’s challenges. It can be a huge source of strength to know that you have so many people in your corner, cheering you on.
That’s why setting up a page on CaringBridge or finding another way to share updates through social media can be a massive help. By sharing the occasional update on behalf of someone navigating hard times, you can keep those who care about them in the know – without having to send a million texts or emails, or make a ton of phone calls.
Instead, you can make one update in a central location. Those who wish to know what’s going on can subscribe – and they can also leave encouraging comments or “hearts” to show their support when new updates are shared.
4 – Organize a fundraiser.
In many cases, making ends meet when you’re acting as a caregiver can be a real challenge.
Not only do you often need to take time away from work to fulfill your obligations, but your expenses increase, leaving many in a hard spot financially.
By organizing a fundraiser to support your loved one in their time of need, you can make a big impact and take a ton of pressure off of them.
Hold an in-person fundraiser.
If friends and family live nearby or you’re in a supportive community, consider holding an in-person event to raise funds. A few ways you can do this include:
- Hold a yard sale. Ask folks to donate gently used items they no longer need to a yard sale, promote it throughout your neighborhood, and donate the proceeds.
- Organize a benefit concert. If you’re well-connected in your local music scene, see if you can find a few artists who are willing to donate their talent for a good cause.
- Schedule a community car wash. Gather up some friends and scrub down cars in exchange for donations.
Hold an online fundraiser.
Supporting someone who has friends and family scattered across the country or around the world? Taking your efforts online might be better.
For a straightforward approach, set up a GoFundMe page and ask for donations. You can set a fundraising target and watch as you inch closer to your goal.
Another great idea? Consider making and selling custom t-shirts to show your support and collect some cash for the caregiver in your life.
5 – Send notes or gifts to show your support.
Sometimes, a simple reminder that you’re on their team is all it takes to brighten a caregiver’s day. A few thoughtful ways you can show your support include:
- Sending flowers. Who doesn’t love to be surprised by a beautiful bouquet? Call up a local florist or use a website like 1-800-Flowers and order a bundle of their favorite flowers to be delivered to their front door.
- Sending a card. There are few things more personal than sending a card with a meaningful, handwritten message inside. This gesture is one of the most affordable ones you can make – and often, one of the most memorable.
- Sending a care package. A thoughtful collection of items can be a great way to show that you care and bring a smile to their face. You can include snacks, books, candles, personal care items, and so much more.
- Setting up a gift subscription service. A subscription service is truly a gift that keeps on giving – and many offer the ability to gift someone a membership for a specific amount of time. Whether you’re supporting someone who loves coffee, trying snacks from around the world, trying new creative hobbies, or reading books, you can find a subscription service that aligns with their interests.
Another great gift idea for the caregiver in your life? A self-care journal to help them remember to pause, breathe, and make their wellbeing a priority, too.
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