Caring For Caregivers: How to Support Caregivers in Your Family

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For families who take an active role in caring for their loved ones, monitoring and maintaining the best possible care can be a challenge. Decision making and addressing daily needs can be complex for family caregivers. If you have a loved one who is the primary decision maker for a family member’s care, you can help support them to help them with their extra layer of responsibility even if you aren’t directly involved with every decision made.

Here are a few valuable tips to help you stay in the loop with your loved one’s care and be a pillar of support for any family caregiver in your life:


Keep in touch as often as possible.
Many tech savvy Baby Boomers and Sandwich Generation family members create specific call schedules to speak with their relatives and even video chat. It’s important to set aside time specifically for updates on your loved one and find out how you can assist in caring for your loved one in indirect ways.

Understand any expenses associated with ensuring quality care. 
According to the MetLife Mature Market Institute study many family members involved in caregiving can spend, “an average of $392 per month on travel and total out-of-pocket expenses.” If you are in the position to advocate for shared financial responsibility, set aside time to review expenses, and save money for unexpected visits or care requirements to help your loved one. 

Visit when you can.
Whether the distance is five minutes or five hours, it is important to plan a visit as a moment to spend quality time with your loved one, family members AND gather information for care decisions.

Get Smart about daily health statistics.

Stay in the care loop by exploring modern technology tools that integrate with every day health activities like blood pressure and glucose monitoring. Technological advances in health-related smart devices can help you worry less.

Help create a larger support system.
According to an article featured on, “there are ways to provide additional care for a loved one [indirectly] and gain peace of mind” when you reach out to “a religious organization, a nice neighbor or a senior care advisor,” or other “helpful resources such as meal delivery programs, community outreach, senior centers and public services.” 

Help schedule family or care support meetings.

The more prepared you are with health, financial, and emergency plans, the better you can enjoy peace of mind for your loved one’s long-distance care. In order to do this your family will need to set aside time to strategically discuss major decisions and plan for the future. Keeping open communication with family and others who support the care receiver and primary care giver helps ease the burden of last minute or solitary decision making.

Stay positive.

Continue to maintain a positive outlook by doing what you can to assist your family care giver. When you do all you can to assist with the care of your loved one, you can reduce person feelings of guilt or anxiety. Remember to help your loved one celebrate victories in the care giving process and continuously provide encouragement.

Gain knowledge about caregiving itself.

Being supportive in many cases means having a firm understanding of what someone is facing.  Learn about caregiving organizations that offer education and support in your loved one’s area, invest time in understanding elder-care benefits that are common for employers to offer as well as resources in their community. 

Research as much as you can about your family member’s medical condition, treatment, and care.

According to the National Institute on Aging, “[t]his can help you understand what is going on, anticipate the course of an illness, prevent crises, and assist in healthcare management.” This can also help you create a list of questions or concerns that could be helpful to a family caregiver or covers information that may not have been considered.

Be an advocate for expert help.

Caring for a senior loved one will have limitations that the primary family care giver will not be able to meet.  If you notice your family member struggling to meet demanding expectations, be realistic about the quality of care you want your loved one to receive and seek experts to fill in the gaps of those limitations. In many cases large tasks like senior relocation or downsizing is a better handled by knowledgeable experts, like those within the Caring Transitions system, able to plan and organize a move from start to finish.

Always remember the best way to care for a family caregiver is to be available to listen and affirm they are not taking on this responsibility alone. Be open to becoming their listening ear and advocate for their self-care. It’s never wrong to encourage them to take a moment for themselves or be there when they need a break. Tips like these, and more, can help simplify how your loved one and family members view care for a senior loved one, changing care from the responsibility of one family member to the responsibility of the family as a support system.  


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