Caring for Your Caregiver
Caregivers do a lot for their loved ones. But they aren’t invincible. Finding your own ways to show care for your caregiver can strengthen your relationship and improve both of your lives. Some of the following ideas can help.
1. Communicate openly.
Nothing will go farther than establishing open and honest communication with your caregiver. Common problems caregivers face—stress, depression, anxiety—can be lessened or avoided by creating an environment where your needs are understood before problems arise, and where your caregiver also feels free to express their needs to you.
Set up regular communication and help ensure your caregiver knows when and how best to communicate their needs to you.
2. Be receptive to help.
Care is a two-way street. Receiving can be just as hard or harder than giving. Hopefully your caregiver understands that you will have bad days when fatigue or pain trumps all else. This is why it is all the more important, on good days when you do have the energy for it, to kindly accept any offered help. And, practice how to politely decline it if you don’t need it.
As with most relationships in life, the more space you allow for grace and compassion, the easier your caregiving relationship is likely to be.
3. Understand caregivers have bad days too.
Even the best caregivers are bound to have bad days. If you notice this, see if you can help. Try to understand what is happening and if you can do anything to make your caregiver’s day easier. If not, give them space. Do your best to mend any hurt caused if needed. When warranted, offer understanding and quick forgiveness.
4. Work around their needs when possible.
Consider your caregiver’s needs if possible. You might keep their schedule, eating, sleeping or other responsibilities in mind when planning your day. Make an effort to understand their schedule and try to work out ways that you can both have as many of your wants and needs met as possible.
Also keep in mind that the purpose of a caregiver role is to help meet the needs of another—meeting their needs is not your role in a caregiving relationship. But being cared for long-term might occasionally leave a person feeling powerless or needy. So if you find places to empower yourself by caring for them, you will likely both benefit.
5. Watch for signs of trouble.
Some of the biggest issues impacting caregivers are…