Caregivers are always there for their loved ones, but who is there for the caregiver? When my parents lived with us, people wanted to help, but they didn’t always know what to do. Sometimes friends wanted to take Mom and Dad on an outing, but the hassle of getting them ready to go and the aftermath of the break in their routine was almost not worth a couple of hours respite. There was also the irrational fear that if I let them out of my sight and something went wrong, I’d have to deal with the resulting feelings of guilt. The most important things to me were the emails, the phone calls, the visits, those moments that reminded me that I was still a living, intelligent human being and not just a caregiving automaton.
The next time you want to do something for a caregiving friend, try just being there for and with them. Remind them with your presence and love that there is life and hope beyond their present circumstances.