breast-cancer-swirlOver the years I have heard stories about people leaving their jobs to assist with a family member’s illness. Whether it was to tend to a child, parent or spouse, the attention is 100% shifted from self to other. With that shift, a toll can be exacted on a person physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially.

Now with my own rounding the bend of becoming a quinquagenarian, this topic and experience has come to the forefront of many friend’s lives and to an extent in my own. I am not talking about why we care for others, as we do it from love and compassion among other reasons, so here I am talking specifically about the person(s) who carry the honor and responsibility of providing dignified care to those in need – the Caretaker.

Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines caretaker as “a person who gives physical or emotional care to someone (such as a child, an old person, or someone who is sick)”.

Who then tends to the caretaker? Who helps support and nurture these people?

If fortunate, a Caretaker has a cadre of friends and family who will take turns providing care or who are willing to step in for each other for an hour or two to provide relief. For others, this might not be the case. So then, what can we do to assist with the overall well being of the Caretaker?

Keep it simple. Ask. If you know a person who is a Caretaker, ask them how you can help and let them know that you are authentically there to support them. They more than anyone else, will know if there is a task, a conversation, or other thing that will make a difference. Be open and willing to listen and their answer will come. Should either you or they need suggestions I made a little list of things that might lead them to their own answer.

Here might be some of the things you can offer to do:

  • pick up the dry cleaning or the groceries
  • drop off a latte or dinner
  • make a few extra meals for the freezer
  • offer to go on a walk with them
  • take care of their kids for a while
  • care for their pets & plants
  • clean their house, do their dishes or laundry

This quote sums it up for us on being generous to not only Caretakers, but to each other:

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

From the bottom of my heart, I wish the best to you and yours on your path!
— Hope