Are you a family caregiver or know someone who is? Family caregivers are unsung heroes, working tirelessly to help elderly or disabled family members without much recognition from the outside world. Many family caregivers are juggling their caregiving responsibilities alongside paid work outside the home, caring for their own children, and volunteering in their communities. There are several ways you can take time to care for family caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month in November, whether it is helping with caregiving or finding another way to give a caregiver time for self-care.

Whether you can give a family caregiver an afternoon off by stepping in yourself, or by hiring someone to help out on a regular basis, it can mean a lot to family caregivers to not have to shoulder the responsibility alone. If your sibling, cousin, or close friend is the primary family caregiver for his or her parent or other loved one, he or she may spend nearly every day performing caregiving tasks. If you are able to take over every Thursday afternoon to give him or her some regular time for herself or himself, he or she would probably appreciate it. If you live too far away or cannot give this relief time, ask if he or she would be open to having a professional caregiver come in one day a week at your expense. Many family caregivers shy away from hiring professional help due to the cost. If cost is not an issue, this help may be welcome.

It can be important to keep the perspective of a family caregiver in mind. Think of when you are on an airplane and the pilot tells parents to put on their own oxygen masks first before putting on the masks for their kids. Parents often forget to do this in day to day life, always making sure the kids are safe, clean, fed, and well rested even if they are tired, hungry, and in need of a hot shower! The same often goes for family caregivers. They probably need to sleep more, eat better quality meals, and take time for regular exercise, but unfortunately, one or more of these important parts of life fall by the wayside due to caregiving responsibilities. Making sure that the family caregiver in your life has time to care for himself or herself is a wonderful thing to do.

Our office can guide a family through their estate planning and long term care planning options. Please contact our office today to schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum.