Today is National Carers Day. For the first time, our prime minister has released a statement in support of Canadian caregivers. The timing is perfect. Currently, more than 8 million Canadians provide care to a family member or loved one. Plus, at 45 years old, Prime Minister Trudeau has reached the age when most Canadians become caregivers.
Do you have a friend or family member who is providing care to a loved one? If so, here are some ways to thank the caregiver in your life.
Just say it!
Ariane Zerr of Saskatoon, who cared for her father, says, “Just simple acknowledgment helps so much. If someone took the time to tell me I was doing a good job, it made my day.”
Today is the ideal day to recognize the work caregivers do. Bring a card or send a text. You may want to grab a coffee and thank them in person. Conversely, here are some notes on what not to say to the caregiver in your life.
Caregiving can be rewarding, challenging, inspiring and frustrating all in the same afternoon. Sit down with your friend or family member who provides care for an older loved one. Ask them about their experiences: What has been going on recently? How are they doing?
Sometimes, caregivers can get the feeling no one wants to hear about caregiving. Listening to the everyday joys and difficulties can be a real help.
Give the caregiver a break
To celebrate Carers Day, think about how you can give the caregiver in your life some time off. Can you bring them lunch? Can you help them arrange for respite care and take them out to dinner? Even just being present so that the caregiver can pop out for a walk can make a big difference.
ComForCare can help fill in the gaps when family caregivers need time off. We can also help families create comprehensive plans that allow for consistent breaks and vacations for the caregiver.
Care for the caregiver
The vast majority (95 percent) of Canadian caregivers feel they are effectively coping with their caregiving responsibilities. However, more than half reported caregiving made them feel anxious and tired.
Make self-care for the caregiver an important part of your family’s caregiving routine. Try setting up appointments for massages or manicures/pedicures. Ask your caregiver friend or family member what their favourite relaxation activity is and help them do it. For example, if they like to read, create a quiet nook with blankets, essential oils and books for them.
Saying thank you to the caregiver in your life is a great way to spend National Carers Day. Let today remind us to recognize and care for our family caregivers every day of the year.
From all of us at ComForCare, Happy Carers Day!