Giving back to family caregivers: Tips to help those who sacrifice for others
by Brandpoint (ARA) Sponsored Content
May 27, 2013 | 27863 views | 0 0 comments | 661 661 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(BPT) - No one knows exactly what life will bring, but we all know that there will be joys and there will be challenges. Sometimes, life gives you a combination – as millions of average Americans who are family caregivers can attest. Providing dedicated care to a loved one is a generous way to live one’s life, but it can also brings difficulties, stress and isolation. That’s why giving back to those unsung heroes – caregivers – who give so much can make a world of difference to them, and the people they help.

It’s not unusual for non-professional caregivers to insist that they don’t need a break or a pat on the back. Recognizing their sacrifices, even in small ways, can help them understand the importance of their work. Also giving these caregivers a little time to themselves can help them recharge, ultimately allowing them to take even better care of their loved ones.

If you know a family member, friend or neighbor who is a non-professional family caregiver, consider these ways to give them the recognition and help they deserve.

* Arrange a relaxing day off. Many caregivers are members of the “sandwich generation” which takes care of their children as well as an elderly or disabled family member. Looking after everyone else can easily eat up all of a caregiver’s time. So give the caregiver you know a ‘free day’ that is just about them. Arrange a massage, a trip to a museum, a sporting event, favorite restaurant or park – whatever they will enjoy most. Then arrange for respite care so they know their loved one is well cared for while they’re away.

* Consider making a BRAVE Awards nomination. The Shire BRAVE Awards honor the courage and devotion of non-professional caregivers around the world. These annual awards celebrate the amazing commitment of unsung, everyday heroes – non-professional caregivers. Many BRAVE Award recipients provide care over years and decades, overcoming incredible challenges to ensure that their loved ones have everything they need to live as full and rewarding a life as possible. Nominations for the 2013 BRAVE Awards are open through June 30, 2013 and award recipients selected each receive $10,000. For more information, visit www.shirebraveawards.com.

* Offer to help with the little things. There are countless small tasks we all have to finish every day, but for caregivers, that “to do” list can be extra long and overwhelming. Offer to assist with a regular chore, like making dinner, mowing the lawn, picking up prescriptions or putting out the garbage, and you’ll be taking away some of the stress. Even if you can’t lend a hand on a regular basis, let the caregiver know to call on you when he or she needs help. Having others to rely on can help make caregivers feel that they’re not alone.

* An old-fashioned “thank you.” A simple word of encouragement, when unexpected, can have a big effect. A handwritten note only takes a little time, but has a far-reaching impact. Add a small treat, such as a photo or a gift card, and you will surely brighten the caregiver’s day.

Caregivers dedicate themselves to helping others without expecting recognition or thanks, but that makes them all the more deserving of both. By lending a hand, nominating them for an award or offering a few kind words, you’ll be giving them a bit of well-earned care, too.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.