This Labor Day, Give a Family Caregiver a Break

Denise
labor_day_breakThis Holiday Weekend, Give a Family Caregiver a Break

Labor Day Break, A Family Caregiver Awareness Day, Takes Place Labor Day Weekend


When you care for a family member with a chronic illness or disease or injury, every day is a work day. During a caregiving experience, there are no holidays, days off, weekends. Every day can feel like a Monday.

Family caregivers can't get a break.

So, this Labor Day, we'd love for you to give the family caregiver in your life some time off. A family caregiver is an individual who helps and cares for a family member or friend. The family caregiver could be your mom who helps your grandmother. Or, your spouse who helps your parents. Or, your sibling who cares for your younger brother. Or, your cousin who cares for his wife. Or, your neighbor who cares for her daughter.

These tips can help you help the family caregiver in your life:

1. Volunteer to stay with the caree (the person who receives care) for a few hours on Labor Day. So you'll be ready to step in with confidence, suggest you meet with the family caregiver and caree before Labor Day to learn the ropes. Encourage the family caregiver to enjoy the break--and not worry about you or the caree.

2. Lessen the family caregiver's load by running errands. Offer to pick up groceries, medications, whatever the family caregiver needs.

3. Call the family caregiver and say, "Don't worry about dinner on Labor Day. I'll bring it over at 5:30." It doesn't have to be fancy. It just has to be from you.

4. And, while you're cooking, why not prepare and freeze extra meals that the family caregiver can use throughout the week.

5. Be a library runner before the holiday weekend. Ask the family caregiver what books/videos he or she would like from the library. A good book or great movie can be a refreshing break.

6. Tell the family caregiver you will pay for a home health aide or companion sitter to stay with the caree for five hours over the weekend so he or she can get a break. (This article offers tips on hiring quality help.)

7. Hire a cleaning service to clean the family caregiver's home so the family caregiver enjoys a sparkling holiday weekend.

8. Invite the family caregiver and caree out for dinner--your treat.

9. Offer to do laundry for the family caregiver and caree over the weekend.

10. Wash and clean out the family caregiver's car.

Contact the family caregiver as soon as you know you want to help. Ask the family caregiver: "I'm available to help you on Monday afternoon. When would be a good time for me to arrive? What can I help with?" You also can tell the family caregiver what you'll do: "I'll be over Monday to cut the lawn and wash the car. What time would be a good time for me to come?"

Most important, have fun. A light and lively mood will be a wonderful boost for both the family caregiver and caree.

Thanks so much for helping the family caregiver in your life.

(Would you like to help spread the word? Join our Facebook fan page (www.facebook.com/CaregivingSupport) and share our Labor Day Break post. Thanks so much for your help!)

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Labor Day Break 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 Grill for a Caregiver 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. And, they create opportunities for other family members to get involved. Sometimes, both family members and family caregivers struggle to communicate effectively with each other; the Awareness Days try to eliminate some of the communication anxiety. For more information, email Denise at denise@caregiving.com.

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