“One of the most difficult things to give away is kindness; usually it comes back to you.” – Anonymous
“Note: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Element Associates and Midlife Boulevard.”
Did you know that over 40 million Americans are caregivers? They do this, not as a career choice, but because a loved one or a friend needs their help. And because they do this, “Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers” is in full swing this month.
Forty million – that is an absolutely staggering number of caregivers. And as “boomers,” we are probably the highest demographic of unpaid caregivers as our parents – and other loved ones – age. Additionally, many boomers still have children at home, plus jobs – creating a mountain of things to accomplish in a day.
Before my father passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease, I, along with my siblings and our spouses, assisted our mother with Dad’s care. How she managed his care is nothing short of a miracle. Many people didn’t even know he was afflicted because of how well she did her job. Her goal was to keep Dad at home for as long as possible.
But it came at a cost. She was burned out, and as his “sundowners” progressed, her lack of sleep caught up with her.
My mother relished a few hours to herself, either to go to the store or a sewing group or even be home by herself “putzing.” Unless someone has had first-hand experience with care-giving, it is hard to even imagine being – or witnessing – someone on call 24/7.
Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers
If you know someone who is in this position, there are several ways you can help. During November, AARP is looking for “Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers.” There is a video (below) with suggestions, but witnessing first-hand what a caregiver needs, here are a few things I know our family appreciated:
- Time! If you can, offer to be with the patient an hour or two so the caregiver can take a nap, get a haircut, exercise, or go to lunch with friends.
- Research: Sometimes a caregiver doesn’t have the time to search for assistance. If you know of an agency that can help the patient and caregiver, print the information and/or call the agency for details that you can forward to the caregiver.
- Offer to run errands. Many times, especially with a dementia patient, a 15-minute stop at the pharmacy turns into a much longer – and exhausting – trip.
- Make a meal – or drop off a carry-out from a favorite restaurant.
- Call and check on the care-give. Remind them to care for their own self, too.
- Send a card or note of encouragement.
In order to spread the word for “Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers,” you can enter a contest and share a story on how you are supporting your favorite caregiver. Winners will share a cash prize, and we can all share ideas on how to make the lives of our caregivers a bit brighter and let them know – most importantly – that they are not alone.
Click on this video for more information on how to enter the contest.
© Lynne Cobb – 2015
Have you been a caregiver? What helped you through difficult days? Please share what would make your life easier so we can help each other!