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Supporting caregivers

Lend a Hand, Lighten the Load

Show a caregiver you care

With appointments, medicines, meals and more, caregivers often lack time to care for themselves—but those helping loved ones don’t have to go it alone. Plenty of resources are available. Show a caregiver you care by providing a welcome break, helping them navigate the care resource landscape, or simply being available to talk.

When caregivers feel healthy and rested, they are better able to provide care for loved ones.

Help a caregiver kick back

A caregiver’s calendar is chock full of appointments and scheduled meal and medicine times. Providing him or her a few minutes—or a whole day—of rest and relaxation could be exactly what a caregiver in your community needs.

Oftentimes, caregivers will put their loved one’s needs before their own. Help them remember to take some time for themselves. Maybe they have an appointment of their own—or maybe there’s a new movie out they really want to see. Whatever it is, a few hours here or there can go a long way toward lessening their load.

Or if you can find a full day, give a caregiver a whole 24 hours off. It could be just the time he or she needs to feel refreshed. Offer to take their place for a day—a birthday, holiday or even just a Friday to gift them a surely needed rest. But make sure you know their loved one’s routines and can contact the caregiver in case of emergency.

Navigate the complexities of care

With so many medical and insurance programs to choose from, caregiving can be confusing—and sometimes asking for help is the hardest part. That’s why one of the easiest ways to help a caregiver is by helping them research the ins and outs of the maze of caregiving.

First, spend a bit of time examining the resources the caregiver and his or her loved one could most benefit from. There are many online service locators out there. Then compile a list of the most helpful sources, along with their contact numbers and emails. Finally, discuss the next steps to get the most out of each resource.

You can even make the calls that don’t require the caregiver. Help determine their assistance eligibility and coverage options by contacting insurance companies, doctor’s offices or local government offices. You can even help them access benefits programs, including SNAP.

Lend a hand, on the go

Caregivers’ responsibilities don’t stop when they leave the house. There are plenty of ways to continue to assist them, inside of the home and out.

Help caregivers around their own house, their loved one’s home, and ahead of time. Prep their favorite meals or offer to do laundry or wash dishes while they do caregiving tasks. Any bit of help to the caregiver directly benefits the loved one they care for as well.

Home safety and upkeep are other areas ripe for your time and help. Discuss how to ensure the safety of the caregiver and his or her loved one in the home or help organize community members to repair parts of the house in need of attention.

Other ideas: Organize their loved one’s medicine (with direction at first of course) or discuss the top ways to save on energy and while shopping.

And when it’s time to head out, offer to help with transportation to the doctor’s office, other appointments or the grocery store. Drive the caregiver and his or her loved one yourself or track down free services specifically for those in need.

Help Caregivers Reach Resources

AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center has the tools, tips and community of caregivers that can lighten the load or provide a circle of support for caregivers of all kinds.

AARP Caregiving Resource Center

Share Care for Those in Need

If you know someone sick and in need of care, but his or her caregiver is struggling to make ends meet, try organizing a group to give care together. Many hands are better than one!

Help out, from A to Z

Looking to get down the basics of helping a caregiver, or find more ideas that vary in time commitment? The Create the Good Care for a Caregiver guide’s got the tips to get you started.

Volunteer to Care for a Caregiver