Did you know there are over 90 million family caregivers the U.S.? The role of caring for a loved one with a chronic or disabling health condition is an important yet extremely demanding job that often goes unrecognized. That's why, each November, we celebrate National Family Caregivers Month as a way to recognize and honor caregivers everywhere. If someone you know is a caregiver, here are some ways you can show your support this month and all year round.
1. Give a meal.
Caregiving is tough work that doesn't allow for long hours spent in the kitchen, and delivering a homemade meal is a simple yet thoughtful way to show your support. If you're not much of a cook, give a gift card to their favorite restaurant instead.
2. Lend a hand.
Look for ways you can help ease the load of everyday tasks. Whether it's offering to clean their house, watch the kids for an afternoon, or pick up groceries, the smallest efforts can make a big difference.
Having someone to talk to is essential for coping with the stresses of caregiving. Help meet this need by lending an ear over coffee or a phone call. Remember to actively listen and steer clear of offering unsolicited advice.
4. Provide space.
Caregivers need to have fun, too, but they also may not be able to participate in every social activity. Be inclusive of them when planning social outings, but be understanding when they need time to relax and recharge.
5. Say thanks.
Sometimes people just need to hear that they're valued and appreciated. Say thank you for all they do by sending a thoughtful card, some flowers, or a homemade care basket filled with their favorite things.
Spread the word. The theme for this year's National Family Caregivers Month is "Caregiving Around the Clock." Raise awareness about the challenges family caregivers face by sharing this fact sheet on social media. Donate to organizations that provide support and resources to family caregivers.