A Look at Caregiver Statistics
According to an AARP report, it has been estimated that over 43 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult last year. Based on their research, 60% of caregivers are female and 40% are male. The average caregiver is 49 years of age. According to the report, these caregivers are busy helping their loved ones get in and out of bed and chairs, providing personal care, assistance with bathing and showers, driving their loved ones to appointments, shopping for groceries, and doing housework. Additional time is spent interacting with various doctors, agencies, and medical professionals on their loved one’s behalf.
Minimal Support and Recognition
Gail Gibson Hunt, the president and CEO of the National Alliance on Caregiving, remarked that these individuals often do not receive much support in their efforts.
Clearly these caregivers deserve recognition for the important work that they do on a daily basis. How can we show caregivers that we are thankful for their service and sacrifice? Here are a few ideas:
Fun and Relaxation
Being a caregiver can be a very stressful responsibility. Bring some fun and relaxation into their routine for a change by giving them a gift certificate to go get a massage, a pedicure, or a special drink at a coffee shop.
If they are unable or uncomfortable leaving their loved one at home for this kind of outing, bring the fun to them by dropping off a treat or bringing over a special movie that you can watch together.
Express your thanks and that their efforts are not overlooked or taken for granted by writing a handwritten note outlining several specific reasons why you are thankful for their service.
You can also call to say thanks or send flowers. These kinds of unexpected gestures will help the caregiver to feel appreciated.
Give them a break
Maybe the best way to say thanks would be to offer to lend a helping hand for a day so that they can go run errands, doing something fun, or just rest. If they would prefer, perhaps you could help with some of the errands or housework. Why not ask and see how you can help for a day?