If you’re a caregiver, you probably know that November is National Family Caregivers Month. But between caring for your loved one, balancing a career, and maybe even raising a family, you probably haven’t had a chance to celebrate. If you want to spread a little light and recognition, take things into your own hands. Here are some ideas to help you share appreciation and recognition in November and throughout the year.
Reach out to other caregivers in your area through local newspapers, fliers, social media, and blogs to form a local support group. Not only will this provide a safe, open outlet to vent daily frustrations, but it may be a good place to go for more hands-on help. For example, a fellow caregiver may be able to watch your loved one for an hour or two each week while you run errands, and vice versa. The support that comes from a trusting relationship is a gift that will extend far beyond November.
Throw a Party
It’s no secret that caregivers have busy schedules. Even so, it’s important to take time to acknowledge yourself and the hard work you do every day. Plan a few hours to celebrate, either with your support group or just a few close friends. Get together for lunch, or plan a few hours in the evening to grab dinner and head to a comedy club (after all, laughter is the best medicine). Consider contacting a local business for a discounted certificate that you can use to treat a fellow caregiver — massages and nice meals are two great options.
Use Your Clout
And speaking of discounts, don’t stop at leisure activities. National Family Caregivers Month is the perfect time to find local businesses that will offer discounts and support to the caregivers in your area. Find out if you are eligible for any special year-round discounts on personal care items or stress-relieving leisure activities that you and your fellow caregivers can enjoy.
Keep It Going
When November ends, don’t go back to trying to do things all by yourself. Get the ball rolling with local caregivers, then try to arrange monthly meetings or luncheons. Find local businesses and healthcare agencies that are willing to attend some of your sessions and give presentations on ways to make life a little easier for caregivers. The more routine these gatherings become, the more likely attendance will improve. Plus, other family members will become more aware of how important your monthly support group is to you, and may help with caregiving responsibilities so that you can get away for a few hours.
Celebrate your hard work this month and all year long by giving the gift of support and companionship to help yourself and others through the challenges of being a caregiver.
Are you a caregiver who needs a helping hand? A medical alert device can bring increased safety and security to your caregiving duties.