Remember the caregivers

It’s moments like these that I wondered if my visits were just as important to the families as they are to the residents. Maybe even more important.

This story is about showing kindness to caregivers and how that changes everything even for the person receiving the care.  

As I visited assisted living homes and sat with residents suffering from dementia, I often took note of the families who were also there visiting.  One such time, I struck up a conversation with an 85-year-old man who attended to his wife almost every visit. She was stretched out in a reclining wheelchair and moaned incoherently. An occasional word or two would come out from her month usually sounding like gibberish.

The husband

I spoke to him one day and asked about his wife. She’s been here for about a year he told me. He comes to see her every day. When they were married they traveled often. I asked him about his health. He paused and told me he had Parkinson’s disease. I looked at him sympathetically while putting a hand on his shoulder and said, “I hope it’s a slow progression.”  

It’s moments like these that I wondered if my visits were just as important to the families as they were to the residents. Maybe even more important.

Words of comfort to a family member or to a caregiver are needed now more than ever. It’s like the airplane emergency analogy – give yourself the oxygen before you give it to your children. Let’s give the caregivers some oxygen so they can give it to their patients.  

How you can be the difference

Whether you know a caregiver at a hospital, a private home, or other institution, there are so many ways to reach out. Small gifts of self-care such as body scrubs, Amazon gift cards, a lunch for a small group of nurses, or simply a hand-written card of appreciation, can make someone feel incredibly valued and loved.

Recently, I made hand-written Valentine’s cards for the staff at a nearby memory care facility and delivered home-made cupcakes. On each card I wrote a unique message. “Thank you for what you do. You make a profound difference to the residents and the families who entrust their care to you. You inspire us all to be better people.”

I smiled knowing that each stranger reading the card would receive the right message at the right time. That’s what faith is all about. Believing without evidence.

It’s remarkable what happens when you take small steps to remember the caregivers. You feel better. The caregiver feels better. And most important of all, the person receiving the care feels it too. 

Look for Jeanne’s book and memoir, I see old People®, to come out in 2021. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram too.

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2 Comments

  1. Joanne Hannaman on February 19, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks for reminding us the power in small gestures of gratitude. Caregivers are angels in disguise but we can’t forget they are people, selfless people who often suppress their own personal struggles behind their warm smiles.

    • Jeanne Hussin on February 19, 2021 at 10:02 pm

      That is beautifully stated! Caregivers have a lot more on their plate these days and these small gestures go a long way. Thank you for reading my post!

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