We talk a lot about the needs of the person impacted by Alzheimer’s or other dementia, but what can we be doing to care for the caregiver?

Michelle Lennon of NorthPointe Woods was a guest on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins.   She said  most of us were raised to be self sufficient, meaning that when someone asks “what can I do to help?” we tend to thank them for the offer but decline it at the same time.  Asking for help is not easy. If you’re a caregiver, you should rethink that and maybe you should take a couple of minutes not, and make at least a mental list of small things that someone else could do for you to make your life easier.  Assume they WANT to help or they would not have asked.

 For those of you who know someone who is a caregiver – instead of asking what you can do to help, consider being prepared in advance with a specific offer.  If you say “I’m headed to the grocery store, is there anything I can pick up or you?” the caregiver won’t feel like they are imposing on you or your time and may feel more comfortable saying “yes.”  If you’re planned a day of errands that will take you to several places around town, mention that you’ll also be going to (or past) the library, the post office, the drugstore, the bookstore – whatever – and you’d be happy to add her errands to the list. 

 Visits are almost always a treat – especially if you bring a treat from your oven or the bakery or even a prepared meal.  If you’re able, you might also volunteer to stay with the loved one while they take a break. Of if the caregiver has occasional outside assistance, you can suggest a fun activity to share like a shopping trip,  a movie, a relaxing lunch at their favorite restaurant… There may even be the possibility of an outing that can include the patient.

 Perhaps the most important thing we can do for our caregiver friend is communicate.  Care giving is often an overwhelmingly lonely job and just keeping in touch could make a big difference in their day.

 

Miles for Memories is creating solutions for those impacted y dementia in Calhoun County through movement, programming and research.  Visit us on FaceBook or at milesformemories.org