Caregiver Wish List
Friday October 14, 2016
One struggle that we often hear from caregivers is that they feel alone and isolated. Caregivers say that family and friends no longer come around. One caregiver said, “When we go out to a family event or get together, it’s like we have a bubble around us, and no one wants to penetrate that bubble to come talk to either of us.”
Caregivers say that people will offer to help by saying the usual: “Let me know if you ever need anything.” “Let me know what I can do.” But it never gets past that. Caregivers say thanks but don’t know what to ask for in the moment. Often times, a well-meaning friend or family member doesn’t know what to offer, but they are willing to help if given a task.
Our advice to caregivers: Be specific.
Write out an actual wish list (just like you would write out a Christmas list). What are things you would like for someone to do for you and/or your loved one? The items on this list can free up time for you to have a break from some of your responsibilities or can give you a break financially for things you would otherwise be paying for.
Here’s some example wish list items to get you thinking:
- Deliver a hot meal every other Tuesday
- Make an extra casserole or a double batch of soup
- $ for in-home care
- $ for a day at Page Robbins
- Take loved one to get a manicure while caregiver runs errands
- Visit every other Saturday for a few hours
- Call once a week to check in
- Rake the yard
- Invite loved one over to watch a football game one Saturday
Challenge Time: Be specific. Make out a wish list. Type it up. Write it out. Jot it down on a piece of scrap paper. Decorate it with glitter stars and doodles. Put it in your phone. Whatever works for you! The next time someone asks you how they can help, give them something specific from your list, or give them the whole list and have them pick.
Our advice to family, friends, and neighbors of caregivers: Ask for specifics, and listen.
Rather than: “Let me know if you need anything.” Ask: “What can I do to help you?” Then, listen. If they don’t have a response, encourage them to make a wish list. If the first time you ask, the caregiver says no help is needed, it’s okay to ask again later. Show the caregiver that you are sincere in your desire to help.
Some good questions to ask:
- I made an extra batch of soup. When is a good time for me to drop it by?
- Can I come over to help you with your honey-do list? Change light bulbs? Fix the leaky faucet? I’ve got free time every day around lunch time next week.
- Can the kids and I come over and rake the yard this weekend? It will be a good family activity. We would love to help.
Challenge Time: Ask for specifics. Listen. Encourage your caregiver friend to make a wish list. Keep in mind, it can be hard to ask for help. Be ready to help where and when you can. Check out our recent blog post on 31 Ways to Care for Caregivers. It might give you ideas for ways you can support your caregiver friend.