Though we think every day is a good day to celebrate caregivers around the globe, you can make a concentrated effort to encourage the caregivers around you on Caregiver Appreciation Day. We have a few ideas to inspire you as you take time to give back to the people who care for others all year long.
Who Are Family Caregivers?
You might not think you know of any family caregivers in your circle of friends or around your neighborhood. However, the Family Caregiver Alliance reported that by 2015, nearly 43.5 million people in the United States were providing some type of unpaid care for a family member or child. Of those, about 34.2 million people provided informal care for a family member 50 or older, and 15 million people provided care to an older adult living with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.
This means you probably have at least one person in your life who is an informal or family caregiver. Though all caregivers are unique, the Family Caregiver Alliance also reported that the majority of informal family caregivers are female and are an average of 69 years old.
Challenges for Caregivers
All caregivers, whether informal or professional, face similar challenges. For example, caregivers are at high risk for caregiver fatigue or burnout. This is a condition that is rooted in stress and can result in serious health consequences ranging from high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, or increased physical illness.
Caregivers typically receive less help than they need to stay as healthy as possible, and they often put the needs of their loved ones ahead of their own. Unfortunately, this means that informal caregivers often skip their own annual doctor appointments or preventative care because they are overwhelmed coordinating care for their loved ones.
Gifts for Caregivers
To celebrate Caregiver Appreciation Day, consider giving a gift to the caregiver in your life. Even something small can go a long way and encourage them for days or months to come. For example:
- An encouraging note or card telling them that you notice the hard work they do for others
- A gift card to a local coffee shop so they can pick up their favorite treat
- A subscription to a meal delivery service like Blue Apron or HelloFresh
- A gift card to a local spa for a haircut, massage, or facial
- A subscription to their favorite magazine so they can have one ready for when they have a quiet moment
Beyond traditional gifts, perhaps the most meaningful thing you can give a caregiver is the gift of time to themselves. You can offer to make life a bit easier and relieve some of their daily burdens by:
- Making homemade meals they can freeze and then defrost when they are too exhausted to cook
- Driving their loved one to a medical appointment
- Grocery shopping for the week and dropping off the items at their home or at the home of their loved one
- Taking their children to/from sporting or school events
- Visiting with their loved one for a few hours so the caregiver can get out of the home and run errands, grab a coffee, or take a nap
Finally, consider celebrating the caregiver in your life by learning more about the struggles and challenges they face. You can also:
- Ask how you can help them with their upcoming weekly schedule
- Learn more about the challenges of dementia, Parkinson’s, or another condition their loved one is living with — start by downloading our free resource, “The Caregiver’s Complete Guide to Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care”
- Offer to sit with their loved one so the caregiver can attend a support group or educational presentation
This Caregiver Appreciation Day, make it a point to keep your eyes peeled for the caregivers in your life, whether they’re professional caregivers or informal caregivers. Most caregivers feel quite alone, and your acknowledgment of their work, along with tangible help, can make them feel supported.
Here at The Arbor Company, we honor every caregiver we have the chance to work with daily. From our professional and well-trained caregivers who give to our residents daily to the family members and friends who tirelessly advocate for their loved ones, we celebrate you.
Tell a caregiver thank you today and every day.