Those who have the privilege and burden of taking care of an ailing family member are often overwhelmed. There are various ways that someone ends up being a caretaker for an ailing family member. Maybe in-depth planning resulting in a family meeting a decade in advance, which produced a decision on who would take care of mother, father, aunt, etc.
One spouse may become ill and the other then has the responsibility to care for them. Maybe it’s a sibling or uncle who has no other family and the nearest relative goes to check on them regularly and they begin to rely on them for help. There are many ways someone may become a caretaker for an ailing family member, whether it was planned in advance or is an unexpected life tragedy that creates the arrangement; it can become overwhelming to say the least.
How to Help a Caretaker
Here are some practical ways to give a helping hand to those who find themselves overwhelmed by the task of being a caretaker.
- Allow them a safe non judgemental space to express their grief and weariness. Often caretakers do not want others to know that they are having a hard time as well. We often look at the sick person as the one to feel sorry for and to give support to but the caretaker needs it too.
- Pay for a cleaning service to come and clean their house. When taking care of someone it is hard to take care of the ailing person and yourself, much less keep up a spotless house. This will allow them to focus on the care they are giving and not stress about mess and clutter.
- Ask them what they may need and make a superstore run and help them to stock up on easy to make meals and cleaning or medical supplies they will need to care for their family member.
- Depending on the extent of the care needed you could offer to take over for the day. It may be nice for both the caretaker and the patient. If the patient requires a level of expertise you do not have you can hire a nurse for the day and let the caretaker have some time to themselves.
- Invite the caretaker to lunch or a manicure. Do something that allows them to get their mind off of all that they are responsible for and just enjoy a good conversation and a few laughs.
- A simple thank you note and maybe a gift card for a coffee is a great way to acknowledge all that they do. Anything to say that you are thinking of them and appreciate all the tireless work they do can really go along way.
These are just a few ideas that can really help the overwhelmed caretaker. There are many deals on discount websites such as groupon that have inexpensive house cleaning, nurse care, manicures and many other options. Your own personal time and energy can do the job as well.