be_cool2_2014When you care for a family member or friend with a chronic illness, your world gets smaller. And, so does your family member’s.

Family caregivers–these amazing individuals who care for a family member or friend–feel isolated in their role. They feel bogged down by their responsibilities, so much so that they struggle to find time to socialize with family members and friends.

And, their carees feel isolated because of their frailty or their chronic illness and disability.

It can be a very lonely experience for two people. Especially during a holiday weekend. Because in caregiving, there are no holidays.

To help alleviate some of the loneliness, even for a few hours, Caregiving.com encourages family and friends to visit with the family caregiver and caree in their lives this Fourth of July weekend. Even better: Plan to hold a barbecue for the family caregiver and caree during our visit this holiday weekend.

To help make the event a success, we’ve got a few tips for those family members and friends planning a barbecue:

  • Contact the family caregiver as soon as you begin to plan your visit. Ask the family caregiver: What time is good for dinner? How long should I plan on staying? Often, a family caregiver and caree are tied to a schedule, based on care needs, medications and endurance levels. Be sure to keep in mind their schedule when planning your visit.
  • Bring flowers–they will be a reminder of your visit in the days that follow.
  • Keep in mind the purpose of the visit is purely social. Problems, concerns, issues should be addressed at other times.
  • Reminisce with your caree; this is a great opportunity to learn some of your family’s history.
  • Encourage the family caregiver to sit and relax. Assure him or her that you will take care of the details.
  • Appreciate the inner workings of the relationship between your caree and your family member who provides the care.

We believe Grill for a Caregiver is a great way for the family to get together, even if only for a few hours, to enjoy each other’s company. And, the family caregiver gets a break from cooking!

(Thanks so much for spreading the word about our Grill for a Caregiver campaign by sharing across your social networks. We appreciate your support!)

Grill for a Caregiver is one of six Family Caregiver Awareness Days Caregiving.com has developed; Kiss a Caregiver, Cook for a Caregiver, Job Jar Day, Bring Flowers to a Family Caregiver, and Labor Day Break take place during the year. Through these days, Caregiving.com hopes to create awareness of the family caregiver role within the community and within the family. We also hope they create opportunities for other family members to get involved.  For more information, email Denise at denise@caregiving.com.

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About Denise

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched Caregiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

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