Sunday, August 17, 2008

Senior Care - 5 Ways to Provide Caregiver Support

Encouraging Notes
A great way to show your support for a caregiver is to send them a short encouraging note. We all like to hear an encouraging word from time to time. This doesn't have to be a written note. In fact, a quick email will work just fine, and while you are at it you may even want to include a link to their favorite comic or a funny story just to brighten their day.

Send Them an E-card
There are many websites today that allow you to send free e-cards that are beautifully done. For example, and offer some wonderful e-cards. Consider sending one that will make them smile or give them a good laugh for the day. This could be just what they need on those days when they just need a little help smiling, and a good laugh would be just the thing to lighten their day.

Give the Caregiver a Short Break
Give the caregiver a short break for a few hours one evening and let them go out to a movie, restaurant or some other place that they enjoy. Offering to watch the loved one, even for a few hours, can mean a lot, and often is just what the caregiver needs to recharge their batteries.

Run Errands, Handle Details
Another way to provide support for a caregiver is to run some errands or take care of some other tasks for them so they don't have to deal with them. Caring for a loved one can not only be physically demanding at times, but it can also be very mentally taxing. Often, just not having to worry about other details can provide welcome relief. If you are good with numbers or details maybe you can offer to assist the caregiver with some forms or paperwork, or take care of some other details for them.

Weekend Getaways
Occasionally, a weekend getaway or short vacation may be the best thing that you can do for a caregiver. Make all of the necessary arrangements for taking care of the loved one, so that the caregiver can focus on their trip. This is a great way that siblings or other family members can step up and provide needed relief for caregivers. This can be especially nice for caregivers that enjoy travel and used to take trips, but now find themselves having to stay close to home. Maybe its a trip to the mountains or to the beach where they can relax and enjoy some beautiful scenery. Most of all the break will be good for their mental and physical health, and when they return they will be more refreshed to care for the loved one.

This is just a few ways that you, as a close friend or family member, can support the primary caregiver. Over the years we have been blessed to have family members and close friends that have teamed up with us to care for a loved one with Alzheimer's. Some of these tips that I've shared have meant a lot, at times, for the primary caregiver.