Do you know someone that is a caregiver? Have you ever said to them: “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help”? I bet you have.

I’d like to offer up a list of things that you can do to help that caregiver relax – even if just for a little while. The worst that can happen is that you’ll realize just how much stress they are “earning” every day and consequently may better appreciate your own life. If you are the caregiver – make copies of this list and give it to anyone who asks if they can help.

Make an appointment to “spell” the caregiver for an hour or an afternoon or a weekend. Depending on the level of care needed- an hour to take an uninterrupted bubble bath or nap could seem like Heaven.

Call ahead and tell the family that you will be bringing dinner over on a specific night. Preferably, give them several options of meals and ask which they would prefer.

If you and the caregiver belong to a mutual club or organization (women’s circle, men’s prayer breakfast club, bowling team, etc.) make arrangements for a work party to arrive and do a thorough house cleaning.

Make a kettle of soup and freeze in disposable single serve containers and deliver them. They will make wonderful quick meals.

You might even get together with several others and prepare several casseroles or desserts to freeze. Especially things that take a little more preparation time that would be a real treat for someone that has very little free time to fuss with special meals.

If the person that care is being given to is able to get out (but seldom wants to) arrange to take them out for a ride or a short shopping trip. Buy a loaf of bread or bag of popped corn and find a park (or parking lot) where you can feed it to the ducks or birds.

Call and make arrangements to come for a visit, Bring 3 things with you 0 3 gifts – a bottle of bubble bath (for the caregiver); and a magazine like Reminisce, Guideposts or Readers Digest and a treat like rice pudding or orange pineapple frozen yogurt. Tell the Caregiver that you will give them one hour to soak in the hot bubbles. Meanwhile, you can share the magazine and desert with the house bound person.

Offer to take the weeks laundry hoe and “do” it, or better yet do it there and spend a coupe of hours visiting with the caregiver or the “patient”.

Arrange to collect a shopping list, money and coupons and do the weeks grocery shopping. I don’t think it will matter if you get a wrong brand or size once in a while.

Pick up the kids after school and take them to a park. Better yet, borrow them for a weekend.

Arrange for a home health aide or nurse to volunteer to sit with patient, as favor to you, and take the caregiver out to lunch.

Send or take the caregiver a bouquet of flowers or even a single blossom.

So the next time you are tempted to say: “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help” – don’t just say it – do something.

Copyright by Shaywardncr December 1999