Being a family caregiver is anything but simple. Unlike many other roles in life, it’s often acquired without much time to prepare, or it gradually develops over time without a clear starting point. The hard work and compassion that goes into caregiving can go unnoticed or underappreciated for many reasons, but often due to the need for privacy, the lack of an “official” paid role and the “behind the scenes” nature of the job. But family caregivers make an incredible difference in the lives of their loved ones, and they deserve to be celebrated.
National Caregivers Day is Feb. 17, 2023, and this year we encourage you to celebrate anyone you know who fulfills this role in the life of a loved one. If you’re a caregiver yourself, we hope you’ll take some time to relax and recognize your own hard work and dedication.
There are so many ways you can express your gratitude for a caregiver in your life, even if you’re not the one receiving the care. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Bring a meal or offer practical help
Family caregivers have a lot on their plate, and that means keeping up with their own practical needs like lawn care, laundry and making dinner can become overwhelming. This can be particularly challenging for caregivers who also have a “day job” in addition to their caregiving role. Offering to do a specific task for them like bring a meal on a certain day, mow their grass or do some light housework can make a world of difference in the life of a busy caregiver. (Remember: caregivers are often naturally others-focused, which means they can be hesitant to ask for help. One way to encourage your friend or family member to take you up on your offer is to be specific. For example, rather than “let me know if you need anything,” try: “I’d love to bring you dinner next week. Would Tuesday or Thursday work better for you?” This makes it a lot easier to say “yes.”)
Send flowers, coffee or a small gift
Who doesn’t like to get surprise flowers? Even if you live far away, you can order flowers online to be delivered on National Caregivers Day. Try a florist local to their area or a national company that ships arrangements all over the country You can also find out what their favorite candy is or their coffee order and surprise them with a treat on Feb. 17. With takeout delivery services like GrubHub and UberEats, you can even send a treat from a coffee shop or bakery from afar. If you know them well and live nearby, you can also think about some of their interests and put together a small gift basket for them to show your appreciation for their hard work.
Send a hand-written note
Of course, sometimes a hand-written note of gratitude is the best gift you can give. Consider what you love and appreciate about them as a person and express your appreciation. Feeling seen and valued can be an enormous blessing to a caregiver who is often focused on another person’s needs, particularly if the person they serve cannot express their gratitude outwardly.
If possible, coordinate alternative care to allow a day off
Depending on the situation and qualifications needed, consider trying to coordinate alternative care for the loved one they serve and allow them a day off from their duties. If possible, consider stepping in yourself or connecting with another person who has the qualifications to do so.
Set reminders to check in regularly
One of the best ways you can support someone with a high-demand role like caregiving is to consistently check in with them. It’s easy to feel isolated when your life revolves around providing care for another person, so keeping in touch and asking them how they are doing is a great way to help them feel supported – and not just on National Caregivers’ Day! One way to make sure you do this is by setting reminders for yourself every so often to send a text or give them a call.
There are so many ways to show your love and appreciation to the caregivers in your life. Mark your calendar for Feb. 17 and put some of these ideas into action – or come up with your own creative expressions! Your recognition means more than you know.
Get Care Essentials FREE!
Care Essentials is the all-in-one family caregiving app — giving you the tools you need to care for loved ones. Communicate and coordinate with everyone involved, keep the details organized in a centralized app, and even manage medication details.
What is Connected Caregiver?
At Connected Caregiver, we understand that caring for aging parents and loved ones can be difficult. That’s why we’ve committed ourselves to equipping caregivers with services such as Care Essentials, safety monitoring and remote health monitoring — to give you peace of mind, and caregiver coordination tools to help organize your many responsibilities and make your life easier.
We believe no family caregiver should ever feel overwhelmed and alone. The incredible people who commit their time and energy to ensure the safety of their loved ones deserve the very best resources to safeguard their families and their own lives. Most of all, they deserve to feel in control and confident in their ability to care for the people they care about most. If you’d like to learn more, click here.