When an aging person needs a helping hand with personal care and household chores, an adult child or child-in-law shoulders the responsibilities about half the time. And the Sibling who takes on this demanding role often has a career and children of their own.
It becomes a difficult juggling act that can leave a Family caregiver feeling, at times, unappreciated and exhausted.
This Thanksgiving, make sure to express your gratitude to your sibling in truly meaningful ways. Additionally, commit to finding ways to support their caregiving efforts.
Thanking the Caregiver in Your Family
Being a caregiver for your loved one is a tough job—so tough that it isn’t uncommon for a family caregiver to end up experiencing a health crisis of their own.
Even if you live far away, you can still pitch in. In fact, long-distance siblings should go the extra mile in providing physical and emotional support to the sibling who is juggling this role.
Here are a few ways you can provide meaningful support to the caregiver in your family:
- Healthy Meals: Make it easier for your sibling to provide healthy meals to your parent and to their own family. Stock their freezer during your visits or pay for a subscription to a healthy meal service such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. There are many options to pick from these days.
- Housekeeping Services: Another way to thank the caregiving sibling is by paying for a housecleaning company once a month at their home. Or, you can investigate senior-friendly housekeeping services for your parent to utilize to relieve your sibling of some of their burdens. If your parent has a limited income, call the local agency on aging. They may be able to connect you with a service that charges seniors on a sliding scale based on income.
- Respite Care: Most healthcare professionals recommend family caregivers utilize respite care on a regular basis. But a family caregiver may be so busy that they don’t have time to find respite care for the senior loved one. Do the legwork for them. Call in-home care providers and assisted living communities near your parent’s home to learn more about respite services.
- Keep in Touch: One of the challenges family caregivers express is that they feel alone and uncertain in their role. Faraway siblings are often guilty of adding to that burden. Long-distance adult children sometimes feel guilty for not being there to help an aging parent. Their guilt causes them to become overly critical of the sibling that is there to help every day. Don’t fall into that trap. Instead, stay in touch often and provide a listening ear and a few positive words to your sibling.
- Caregiver Support Groups: Another way you can support your sibling is by helping connect them with their peers. The easiest way might be by finding an online caregiver support group. These groups provide an anonymity that often allows family caregivers to be honest and open about their feelings. And, they can join in on conversations at their convenience whether it is early morning or late at night. The Family Caregiver Alliance is a great place to connect with a group.
Our final suggestion for thanking a sibling caregiver is to give them a vacation. Stay with your parent while your sibling enjoys time on their own or with their family. If your budget permits, help finance a long weekend at a local spa or a trip to a family-friendly destination like a national park for your sibling to enjoy.
Short-term Respite Care at Sunrise
The best way to learn more about respite care services is by visiting a Sunrise Senior Living community in person. We’ll show you around the community, share information on life enrichment activities and dining, and help you get a realistic look at what each day at Sunrise is really like.
Book a respite tour today to get started!