416-207-3888 hello@carehop.ca

How to Support a Family Caregiver

After a lifetime of raising and looking out for us, we often desire to give back to our parents by providing them with care and support during their vintage years. Becoming a family caregiver is a noble, admirable act driven by love, loyalty, and empathy.

Caregiving can also be fraught with challenges, stress, and exhaustion, especially as your loved one’s care needs increase over time. Whether they’re sick, recovering from disease or injury, or slowing down through the natural course of aging, caregiving requires a lot of patience, perspective, and hard work to maintain optimal levels of care.

Sometimes, because the focus of care is solely on the older person, little to no attention is paid to the problems and concerns of the family care provider. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, affecting their ability to provide quality care. Fortunately, there are ways that family and friends can support the caregiver so they feel valued and appreciated.

Help out however it’s needed

Family care providers often find themselves starved for enough time to care for their elderly loved one while looking after their own responsibilities, such as home, family, or career. You can help by asking what they specifically need assistance with. They might ask you to run errands, cook dinner, or neaten up the house. The caregiver may also need your support not just that day but for as long as they provide care.

Providing care sometimes means learning new things, such as bathing the person properly, assisting them with toileting, or helping them get dressed. You can help by finding YouTube videos or other resources on these subjects. Saving them even a little time will go a long way to helping the caregiver feel appreciated and supported.

The best strategy when offering to help is to play to your strengths. Offer a service that you are good at and enjoy. It’s essential to provide help, but it’s equally crucial to do it in a way that is sustainable for you.

Make sure they practice good-self care

Sometimes, caregivers get so caught up in caring for others that they forget to take care of themselves. Practicing good self-care is crucial to protecting their physical and mental health, and allows them to continue providing optimal care for their elderly loved one. Here some tips you can suggest to help them manage their own care needs:

  • Take breaks during the day to recharge
  • Eat regular, well-balanced meals
  • Drink water throughout the day
  • Get regular exercise, even if it’s for a quick walk, at least three times per week
  • Prioritize getting a good night’s sleep
  • Set limits for what they can do every day
  • Talk to family and friends often
  • Accept help when offered
  • Set aside times during the week for activities they enjoy

Also, encourage them to give themselves credit for what they’re doing. Caring for someone truly makes a difference.

Treat them with kind gestures

The family caregiver often needs care too! Bringing them coffee, a home-cooked meal, their favorite takeout option, or a yummy dessert will bring a smile to their face and remind them that their efforts are recognized and appreciated.

Even better, bring enough food for the both of you so you can both share a meal. You can also invite the older adult to join you, but keeping it just the two of you will help take care duties away and put the focus on the caregiver.

Another great way to treat them is with activities that get them out of the house, such as movie tickets, a spa day, a yoga class, or a date night with their significant other. Be sure to arrange replacement care while they’re out.

Listen when they need to share

Caregiving can be frustrating, especially if the older person is having a bad day or, despite the caregiver’s best efforts, they don’t seem to be getting any better. They might need an empathic ear to share their frustrations and concerns.

Listen compassionately, offer support, and give a warm hug if appropriate. Remind the caregiver that they’re not alone and that you’re always just a phone call away.

Recruit family or professional caregivers to help

Don’t be afraid to ask other family members to pitch in. Create a caregiving schedule that allows the primary caregiver time off to focus on other important things in their life, take a vacation, or rest so they can come back recharged.

Professional in-home caregivers can also help fill any gaps in the schedule. You can hire them on an as-needed basis whenever the primary caregiver isn’t available. They can also provide support so your family can focus less on caregiving duties and enjoy your elderly loved one’s company more. You’ll be creating new memories you’ll always cherish while ensuring your loved one is receiving optimal care.

When you’re ready to explore eldercare options, CareHop is ready to help.

Quality in-home elder care services in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton

Family caregivers provide a noble, selfless service to their elderly loved ones. However, they can often use professional support to help share duties so that the caregiver can get some much-deserved rest.

CareHop is always ready to provide professional in-home elder care that ensures your loved one is always in good hands. We specialize in professional nursing care and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia support. Our team also offers assistance with personal care, homemaking, and meal preparation that will enhance their happiness, health, and overall well-being.

If you have any questions about our specialized eldercare services, please reach out to us anytime for a free, no-obligation discussion to discover how we can help you.

About the Author

Michael Lu is the founder of CareHop. He started the business inspired by his Grandmother to look at ageing as a happy experience to bring sunshine into the homes of others.

Share This