Dear Family, Because I'm a Caregiver...


Dear Family, Because I'm a Caregiver...

fountain-pen-270974_640On Sunday, we met on Twitter for #carechat, our every-other-week gathering with others who care for a family member or friend. We discussed how to keep a life during caregiving and the importance of having help so we can keep an activity or an event that's important to us.

During our chat, @karavanderpoolward had a great idea. "I think we need a set of download-able letters," she tweeted. "Dear (siblig,neighbor,dr.,friend,) I am a CG, and this is what you need to know."

We all loved the idea and decided to collaborate to create the letters which will become downloadable templates, available here, for any family caregiver to use. You can use the template to create a letter or email or note you send to family member, friends, neighbors, health care professionals and physicians.

So, let's begin with our first letter--the letter we could send to family members describing what we do and what we want them to know. I'll get us started. Here goes:

Dear (insert your family member's name),

As you know, I've been helping (insert your caree's name) for (insert amount of time you've been helping and caregiving).

I'm grateful I can be here for (insert your caree's name). I'm doing my best to provide the best possible care. I'm finding that (insert caree's name) needs more and more help and care. I currently (insert the responsibilities and tasks you perform).

What would you like to include next? What would be important to include in the letter? Would you like to include a request for help, including time and money? Would it be important to ask for emotional support? After a family member reads this letter, what would you want them to do and feel and understand?

Please include your suggestions and ideas in our comments section, below.

Note: We chat again on Twitter on Sunday, May 24, at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT, 5 p.m. PT); we'd love for you to join us. To participate, go to, log into your Twitter account and follow our hashtag: #carechat.

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My mom always wrote Christmas cards to her many friends. So last year, when she was no longer writing or reading, I went through her address book and wrote a letter explaining why she wasn't personally writing, what her health condition was, and what care plans my sister and I were providing for her. The basic letter was the same but I changed the greeting and first line to personalize it for each recipient (thanks to the computer). I received so many appreciative replies!