The role of the family caregiver is becoming more and more frequent in America. At this time, there are over forty-five million family caregivers providing care for a loved one on a daily basis. Often, these caregivers are balancing the needs of the senior they are caring for together with their job and their own family.
Caregivers have a tremendous amount of responsibility. Every day the caregiver is not only in charge of him or herself but another person as well. Due to the duties associated with being a caregiver, abnormal levels of stress, fatigue, depression and anxiety can ensue. If you have a friend or family member who is a caregiver, there are ways to help him or her before he or she is at risk of becoming burnt out. Let us share with you a few of the ideas we give our clients who are helping family caregivers.
1. Help with errands. Even the most simple tasks can be stressful and tedious for a soon-to-be-burnt-out caregiver. You can help alleviate this stress by handling their grocery shopping, dry cleaning and any other errands they need help with. At the start of each week, ask for a list of their most pressing errands for the upcoming days. Although this might seem like a small contribution, it may help the caregiver feel less overwhelmed.
2. Do their yard work. Because of the level of care and responsibility caregivers have each day, yard work is rarely a priority. Many caregivers have to pay for a lawn service, which can be extremely costly. Help them save money by doing their yard work for them. This may include turning on or off sprinklers, mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes or tending to their garden.
3. Make meals. Many caregivers have long hours with few breaks. Because of this routine, they get home late and do not eat until after their loved one has gone to sleep. Rather than grabbing an unhealthy snack or a frozen packaged dinner, you can prepare meals for them to use. A home cooked meal can help keep them healthy, happy and taken care of. Cook meals in bulk, package them into individual servings, label them and place them in their freezer. This way they can quickly heat up a delicious meal without taking time away from their loved one of themselves.
4. Do their laundry. A necessary yet time consuming task, laundry can frustrating. Further, the caregiver may not be able to step away from the senior long enough to complete the laundry. Help out your caregiver by doing his or her laundry each week.
5. Tidy up their house. Family caregivers have no “off” days. The last thing they should have to do when they have a few minutes to themselves is clean their house. Simply running the vacuum through each room and dusting the furniture can make a huge impact on their stress levels.
There are many things you can do to help alleviate a caregiver’s stress. Are you or a loved one feeling overwhelmed? Do you need help right now? Do not wait to contact our legal team to schedule a meeting about your long-term care needs.