A Promise to Help Caregivers

You know those New Year’s Resolutions we make?  To be kinder, break a bad habit, save money, stress less, travel more, lose weight, exercise, work harder? Is helping a family caregiver ever on your list?

The national Lotsa Helping Hands has decided to speed up New Year’s resolutions with a campaign they have launched. Its purpose: have people begin to think about how they can lighten the load for a caregiver (and/or care recipient) in 2013. To keep folks on the straight and narrow, you can make a promise through the organization’s website.

Promises are flowing in. So far, resolutions have ranged from more visits to an ailing parent, relative, friend or neighbor, to grocery shopping and running errands for them, to driving them to appointments, to shoveling snow, to making and delivering a meal – really anything.

The idea is to crowd source the SOS request and raise awareness through Lotsa Helping Hands and its 50 partner organizations. Brooks Kenny, a founding member of Lotsa Helping Hands, believes “as a caregiver, it’s hard to ask for help. So a national offering of help will hopefully ease their burden. One simple act of helping can make a huge impact in the day-to-day life of a caregiver.”

And me? I promise to spend more time with my 93-year-old mother-in-law. I’ll start with taking her to dinner this weekend! She may be in a walker or a wheelchair, but the good woman still sips a Scotch (through a straw no less) when we go out and adores seeing us and signing out of assisted living for a few hours. (An aside: I hear so many stories of long-term care residents who don’t like assisted living. We’re really lucky. My mother-in-law loves the camaraderie, attention and especially scooping up the pennies she regularly wins at the poker table.)

In thinking of this Promise campaign, it’s my brother-in-law, the family member close by, and thus, the one with the most caregiving responsibilities, who needs the break. He is attentive and loving to his mom. As long-distance caregivers, that makes my husband and me especially grateful to him.

What can you do in 2013 to make a difference for a caregiver?  I would love to hear your suggestions. And I could use them myself!

New subject: Want to blog about your caregiving experience? Sounds intriguing. Caregiving.com is hosting a progressive blog party starting Dec. 9. For the whole week, family caregivers can visit the site (daily if you want), write about your day/experience, meet other bloggers, or blog for the first time. Companies that have products and services for family caregivers will offer deals and discounts and giveaways. You can even host a blog party.

Anything you want me to write about? Just contact me at sally@sallyabrahms.com or through my website.