Think of caregivers as you make holiday plans, give the gift of respite

November is Family Caregiver Month. Even if you can’t help regularly, you can help when you’re around for the holidays.

“With Thanksgiving approaching, we need to remember that there’s more than 16 million family caregivers out there who are taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Juliette Bradley, Director of Communications with the Alzheimer’s Association’s Heart of America Chapter. “We really, as an association, are encouraging people to lend a hand to those caregivers. There are so many things that people can do, just to reach out and let that caregiver know that they’re not alone.”

Don’t be open-ended when you really want to help, tell them what you can do for them right now.

“Check in with someone,” said Bradley. “See how they are doing. Instead of saying, let me know if you need anything, say, I’m going to the grocery store today and I’m happy to pick something up for you. Run some errands. Be flexible. Be able to offer some respite care.”

Respite care doesn’t have to be complicated.

“When I say respite care, that could just be, you know, why don’t you take an hour for yourself,” said Bradley. “Go do something for yourself. I’ll sit with your loved one. There’s so many things that we can do. It’s just extremely important, because caregiving is so challenging.”

Bradley said the most important thing you can give a caregiver is time when they don’t have to have that person’s immediate needs at the top of their mind.