Caregiving is a full-time mental and emotional job. Typically a family caregiver will spend a minimum of 24 hours weekly providing care, but this can extend to well beyond 40 hours of weekly caregiving tasks. Depending on the circumstances of the caregiving situation or the nature of the care receiver’s needs, the overall mental health and well-being of the caregiver can be directly impacted.
Family caregivers are working their hardest to provide everything their loved ones need, but evidence demonstrates that providing adequate care requires a strong support network for its overall success. UNICEF notes that “enabling the primary caregiver alone is not enough; we need to engage family support”. With this charge leading this blog, today we’re going to talk about how to provide support to your caregivers and how to care for your caregivers.
So, with that being said, today’s blog is for more than just caregivers. You can share this with your loved ones, family members, and designated support person in your life. It’s important to provide support for those who are the main source of support in your family. Don’t let them fall to the wayside.
As you get started working through ways to provide care to caregivers, keep Avanlee Care in mind for supporting the caregivers in your life as they support your care receivers. Avanlee can help simplify some of the day-to-day tasks associated with caregiving, from monitoring health biometrics to remembering appointments and medication schedules. As you start supporting your caregivers, even a simple step, such as getting started with Avanlee, can help make all of the difference.
Before you can have support in your caregiving journey, it helps if you can designate a support person for yourself. Even better, designate a support network. It can be hard for caregivers to admit that they need help, but if you can open up and be honest with a trusted person (or a trusted group of friends or loved ones), these people can provide great support as you navigate the caregiving journey. Chat with these people and determine how much help they can provide you with instrumental support or if it will be better for them to just provide emotional support due to physical location, personal circumstances, or relationship with you.
How You Can Help: For Support Persons
To start, ask the caregiver(s) in your life how they’re doing, and really mean it. Psychiatric Times notes that only 13% of caregivers say anyone has ever inquired about what they need. That means 87% of caregivers are working virtually unsupported emotionally. Send them a text, give them a quick call, or take them out for a coffee and ask them how they’re actually doing. Don’t use this as an opportunity to cross something off of your to-do list; ask how they are truly doing, and listen to them. Even if you can’t help, if you can provide a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on, you’re making a difference.
You can also:
- Make them some freezer meals for easy access on busy days
- Meal prep a few freezer meals for their family that they can grab and heat up easily on long days when they might not have a ton of time to cook (or desire to!)
- Offer to take their care receiver to appointments periodically to give them some time back
- If you’re able and willing to, see if you can drive their care receiver to simple appointments and offer to take notes during the appointment for the caregiver
- You can see these appointments and ask the caregiver to add them to your schedule in the Avanlee app!
- Buy them a coffee and let them talk for an hour. Don’t use this as a time to vent about your life; just let them talk through whatever they need to.
- If they have time, take them out for coffee or a meal at their favorite cafe. Even a small bit of quality time where they can freely vent will make a lot of difference
- Pick up some groceries for them and drop them off
- You can also order groceries for delivery or pickup through the Avanlee app!
- Offer to run errands for them
- Do they need household supplies and cleaning goods?
- What about paper toiletries restocking?
- Do they have kids who need to be dropped off at a sporting event or a friend’s house?
- Help them schedule preventative appointments (more below!)
One of the best ways you can start helping the caregivers in your life (or caregivers, if you’re reading this, try to reach out and have a support person working with you on these!) is to get preventative healthcare appointments scheduled.
Did you know that according to recent research, caregivers of any age tend not to practice preventive healthcare and self-care behavior in the same way as non-caregiver adults?
The caregivers in your life may actually need more care (be it physical or emotional care or even just the gift of time to have self-care) than you realize. Caregiving is isolating and hard work, even if the caregivers in your life don’t bring up or mention the challenges they experience.
Even taking an hour or two a week to help alleviate their burden will make a world of difference. You can start small and offer to take on more as they are willing, and you are able. From a cup of coffee to driving kids to soccer practice, you can be a huge help in the lives of caregivers. You’re making a difference, and spending intentional time helping the caregivers in your life will make a huge impact on their overall mental health and well-being. It doesn’t matter if you start small or large; know that your assistance matters.
Here at Avanlee Care, we’re passionate about helping simplify the caregiving process. As a support person, the caregivers in your life can add you to their Avanlee Family and can use this tool as a means to better communicate their needs and areas for help with you. You can get started for free today on our website.