Hope for the Caregiver Feedback

JULY 9, 2024  /  KELLI NAPOTNIK  / 

Hope for the Caregiver Feedback
A few weeks ago we revisited the topic of hope for caregivers because we know that many of you are in caregiving roles. We asked readers of our prior post to share what has helped them the most as caregivers and we received many thoughtful responses that will encourage you. Even if you aren't in a caregiving role, we hope these ideas give you inspiration to reach out to a caregiver you know who may need the extra support.
When asked to hear the best ways you have been supported as a caregiver, one of the most frequent replies was how much it meant when someone reached out or gave of their time. Examples of this are coming over to share a meal together, laughing at memories, asking questions and being a good listener, or checking in by phone or text to see how the caregiver is doing.
"...after many, many months of caregiving I was exhausted, and my children visited in rotation one day a week to allow me a free day to see my friends and go to church. This was an amazing and much-needed help, allowing me some relaxation."
"My husband has Alzheimer's. To have visitors for dinner, family and neighbors to share stories and laughter. In small numbers, we aren't overwhelmed and it gives purpose to our vacuuming, setting the table and tidying the room."
"Over the last 8 months of caregiving for my husband of 42 years, Tom, with pancreatic cancer (now in Stage 4), here is what our neighbors and our church family have done that has encouraged & supported us: Consistent phone calls and/or texts asking how your loved one (the patient) and you (the caregiver) are doing today. Some friends have offered to run errands (i.e.: bring groceries) and be available to do necessary home-repairs and/or maintenance that my husband is not able to do anymore. Even greeting cards, handwritten notes and/or a 'scheduled' visit can help break the feeling of isolation for both patient & caregiver . . . and, of course, a home-cooked meal or a special 'treat' is always welcomed & appreciated!"
Consider bringing a meal and offer to stay for dinner. Offer to run errands or drop off groceries. Both connection and tangible support are appreciated.
It is not always easy having to navigate the medical needs of your loved one, especially if you've never dealt with caregiving responsibilities before. Asking seasoned friends and loved ones to share practical advice from their experiences can be a great support.
One reader shared about her experience with hospice,
"Caring for my parents was a blessing and a challenge. My husband and I cared for both sets of parents for a number of years. They all lived in our home at different times. We had so many loving friends and relatives who would visit and encourage us. We all shared memories that were unknown until people came and shared. We laughed and cried often. As an only child I had many questions as to how to handle their medical issues. Their doctor was helpful but I found that calling Hospice was just what I needed. At that time Hospice had a reputation for only helping at the very end of life. I found that to be untrue. They supported me for many months until their death. My parents were open to using Hospice because they knew it would be helpful to me. Don't be afraid to research the benefits of hospice."
Another caregiver mentioned not just asking "how can I help," but to be specific with the ways you are offering help. If you are the caregiver, don't be shy about keeping a list of needs that you can provide to those who want to assist you.
"It becomes difficult to answer open ended statements like "let me know if I can help"...saying "I am available next Tuesday all morning...do you have errands I can run, may I relieve you for a time you might take a walk, would you like a long, uninterrupted nap?, etc. is most helpful."
"Through my father's process of dying, our social worker advised my mom to be ready with ideas for the times people will ask if there's anything they can do. Often people really mean it when they ask, and often we say we're okay. There are a multitude of big and small ways friends and family can help if we are prepared with ideas to offer them. Thank you for the chance to share this with others, it was really good advice!"
Many of you shared how much you appreciate kind words!
"I am a caregiver for my wife (we are both 70), and what encourages me the most is when she thanks me all the time for the things I do for her throughout the day-how I fixed a delicious lunch for her, how I keep changing the commode liners, how I made her lift chair comfortable...These comments really help to keep me going!"
If you have the ability, Zoom calls are a great way to share laughter and memories! As a caregiver, you may not be able to get away to visit extended family as much. Zoom calls or phone calls can help a caregiver feel connected to family even if they are bound to the home. Here's one caregiver's response!
"We appreciate Zoom calls on the computer, big enough to see our family, far away . It helps us keep up with grandkids' energy and activities."
Lastly, many of you shared how much it matters to have a listening ear! While always appreciated, gifts and grand gestures are not always necessary. Having a friend who takes the time to talk and listen is very encouraging and comforting!
Thank you to all of you who submitted your responses! Being a caregiver is difficult work and we want you to know that you are seen.

Hope for the Caregiver Feedback

#1: Looking for an easy freezer meal to take to someone or to store in your freezer for when you need a quick meal? Give this Crispy Cheddar Chicken recipe a try!
Don't have Instagram? Click here for the recipe!
#2: These homemade strawberry Pop-Tarts made with pie crust are delicious and perfect for breakfast, an after-school snack, or to include with a meal you're taking!
Don't have Instagram? Click here for the recipe!
#3: This summer gift idea is perfect for any occasion! Take it with a meal, bring it as a bridal shower gift, or gift it to new homeowners. The best part is it's easy and affordable!
#4: Who doesn't love a Nacho Night?! This Nacho Kit is a great idea if you're looking for a fun and easy meal to take someone!
#5: Food doesn't have to be boring. Here are some clever ways to brighten someone's day with the food you take that we found on Pinterest!
Photo from Unsplash

Read other recent articles by Kelli Napotnik:

Back to all blog posts

Adina & Maureen
Adina & Maureen

Welcome! We're thrilled you stopped by. Our own joys and sorrows have taught us that a well-timed meal delivered by a friend is one of the best gifts imaginable. In this space, we share our favorite recipes to take to friends, meal-taking tips, and other ways to care for those who are dear to you.

Subscribe to the TTAM Blog...


Helpful Posts

Recent Posts...

Visit TakeThemAMeal.com's profile on Pinterest.

Coordinating a meal for a group?
Try PerfectPotluck.com