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At some point in our lives, most of us will become and/or need a caregiver. In fact, one out of every five Americans as of 2020 is a family caregiver. This staggering statistic reveals that you likely know someone who provides unpaid care to a loved one right now.

The sacrifices family caregivers make to provide care tend to come at the cost of their personal time because life’s other obligations (work, children, bills, chores, etc.) don’t slow for them. This juggling act is why caregivers are deserving of love, understanding, and appreciation from those in their life who notice their sacrifices. If you’re looking for ways to celebrate and acknowledge a caregiver in your life, here are four thoughtful ways to do so.

Write a Thank You or Appreciation Note

A handwritten note or well-thought-out text can mean the world to an unsuspecting caregiver. Acknowledging their sacrifices, commitment, and selflessness can make an otherwise tough week feel better. 

Finding the right thing to say might be daunting, so here are some examples of things you could say to get your note started:

  • On behalf of our family, thank you for the incredible care you’re giving to [insert name]. 
  • We recognize how much you’ve had to take on and want you to know that it doesn’t go unnoticed.
  • [Insert name] talks about how well you care for them/brighten their day. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the love and kindness you show them every day.
  • I wouldn’t be able to handle this period of life without you.
  • Thank you for doing everything you can to allow [insert name] to live independently in their home. He/she/we appreciate your sacrifices more than you’ll ever know.
  • Thank you for always showing up. For doctor’s appointments, the scary days, the happy days, and everything in between. You are so appreciated.
  • My life is better because you’re in it.
  • Click here for more ideas.

Invite Them Out

Family caregivers too often exist in isolation. As the obligations of care grow, caregivers are likely to sacrifice the things that brought them the most joy prior to providing care. They may not feel they have time to socialize or may feel overwhelmed or guilty at the thought of stepping away from care to do something fun. 

Without a support system or the company of other caregivers, it’s easy to feel as though no one understands the struggles they’re faced with each day. This is why one of the best ways to acknowledge and appreciate the caregiver in your life is to invite them out of the house with you.

As caregivers withdraw from the life they had before care, many of their relationships will start to suffer. By making the effort to continue to reach out to them and invite them to events or plan days together, you will show the caregiver that you care and that they have you in their corner through thick and thin.

Bring Over a Homemade Meal

After a long day, one of the last things a caregiver wants to do is worry about the hassle of cooking and cleaning. Despite the hassle, nutrition is one of the most important things for the long-term health of both the caregiver and care recipient. 

A loving and thoughtful way to celebrate the caregiver in your life is to take that stress away. Whether it’s a meal prepared once, or once a week, preparing a freezer-safe homemade meal, or measuring and prepackaging the ingredients for an easy-to-cook meal at home, you can take a lot of stress out of what is otherwise an exhausting part of the day. 

Offer to Help

Nothing shows a caregiver that you acknowledge their sacrifice like a willingness to take some of the load off. Offering an act of kindness through your willingness to help is a great way to show the caregiver in your life that you appreciate them. 

You can consider doing a grocery run for them, picking up their children from school, driving their loved one to the doctor’s office, or taking over for an afternoon so they have time to handle personal tasks. How you choose to show up is up to you, but showing up at all is a great way to show that you care.

Closing Thoughts

Taking the time to show a caregiver that you celebrate and acknowledge their sacrifices and efforts can go a long way. Whether you write them a note, offer a helping hand, cook them a warm meal, or take them out to lunch, you can improve their day, week, month, or year by simply showing up.

The California Caregiver Resource Centers are a network of eleven independent 501(c)3 not-for-profit organizations across California that were created to be a free resource for caregivers in the state of California. We would love to connect the family caregiver in your life with their local Center, where they can talk more about local programs for caregivers, answer questions, and explain how they can best support the caregiver in your life.

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