Sometimes, as caregivers, we don't know what to ask for, or don’t feel comfortable asking for help or sharing our problems with others — even with family and friends who are close. I put this short list together from my own experience of caregiving as well as from input from some other caregivers I know. The first quote was actually said to me in the emergency room by my dear friend and neighbor, Kelly King. She didn’t know it then, but she was modeling how to be the best kind of friend you can be in a crisis.
“I don’t really know what to say right now, but I’m here if you need me.”
During times of crisis, what a caregiver often needs is presence — the presence of a family member or a close friend — not pity, not small talk, just presence.
“I hate that you have to go through this.”
Simply acknowledging that the situation is difficult can be comforting. A little commiseration can go a long way, as long as it doesn’t turn into a long depressing rant about the situation.
“I’ll pick the kids up for you so you can stay at the hospital.”
In this same vein, any version of this works well:
“I’m on my way to the store. What groceries do you need?”
“I’m on my way to the post office. Do you need stamps?”
The caregiver does not have to ask for help, and a job gets done.
“I’ve been thinking about you. Would you have time for a visit this week? You name the time and place.”
Caregiving can be lonely at times. Some people who feel uncomfortable stay away, and caregivers have little time to go out. Reminding a caregiver that you are still a friend and allowing the caregiver to arrange to meet when and where it’s convenient is respectful and compassionate.
“You are a great caregiver.” “You’re doing everything you can.”
Encouragement can boost confidence and lift spirits. Encourage away!