Growing up, I was very close to my grandmother. Not only because I was her namesake but more so because she represented someone who loved me unconditionally, told me funny stories about my father and shared proverbs and lessons about my culture that I would never get anywhere else.
Now that she is in her eighties, I send my love from afar, visit when I can and check in with her caregiver to ensure that my grandmother is receiving the type of care and love that she deserves.
As of last year, 1 in 5 Nigerians is a caregiver. This number is even more globally. This means that they tend to the needs or concerns of a person with short- or long-term limitations due to illness, injury or disability. Family caregivers play a significant role in health care, as they are often the main source of valuable information about the patient.
November is National Family Caregivers Month. The theme, “Caregivers Around the Clock”, illustrates the pivotal role family caregivers play, often 24 hours per day. It is a tough job physically and emotionally. This is the perfect time, right before the holidays, where sharing a message or gesture of appreciation for the caregivers in our life would be greatly appreciated.
A Bouquet of Gratitude
Although sending flowers may sound cliche, this simple act of kindness shows that you are thinking of the caregiver lovingly and appreciate what they do around the clock. Have a conversation with your special caregiver and learn what they like, their favorite colors or their favorite memory. It pays to make a little extra effort to choose the best bouquet.
Give Me a Break
Offering a break for the caregiver also works wonders. Find a couple of hours in your schedule where you could have lunch with your loved one or engage them in some activity that would allow their caregiver time to themselves. Bonus points if you throw in a gift certificate for a spa. The idea here is to give them the gift of time, which is always appreciated.
Gifting a Membership
Remember the conversation with our caregiver on their interests? Another idea is to gift a membership based on their interests. This allows them to look forward to doing something they enjoy repeatedly, which does wonders for their mental health. Yoga, exotic fruit deliveries, coffee or tea subscriptions all are wonderful ways to show your gratitude and your special caregiver will think of you every time they use their membership.
A Card and a Smile
A card with a personal, handwritten thank you note goes a long way in making your special caregiver feel appreciated. It does not need to be long but should be personal and heartfelt. Writing the note as if you were speaking with the person is a tip that will help you personalize the message and ensure it is genuine and authentic. Adding some cash to this care, especially, would also send a message of appreciation that would show your caregiver that you are grateful for their care.
Author and entrepreneur Jim Rohn once stated “One person caring about another represents life’s most significant value.” The past year has, among many things, highlighted the importance of personal relationships. Commemorating family caregivers month, in your own special way, is an exceptional way to show gratitude for the significant role caregivers play in your life. I will definitely show my appreciation to my grandmother’s caregiver and I encourage you to do the same for your loved ones.