COVID has been particularly hard on caregivers. Restrictions have made it even more challenging. As I engage caregivers in our choir, I am deeply touched by their daily commitment to bring joy to their loved one, often taking second place and making personal sacrifices in their own lives.
For those who have been on a journey with dementia a little longer, the universal message is always “you can’t effectively take care of your loved one unless you first take care of yourself.” This respite is crucial for caregivers but in COVID, it becomes even more of a challenge: fewer visitors that would have given the caregiver a break and less “getting out the house” to visit family – all these helpful things have been reduced significantly.
So we, who are looking on the outside, need to find ways to reach out and care, even if it’s from a distance? Simple acts of kindness or gestures that express love are more significant than you might realize. Be creative and reach out – a card mailed, a word of encouragement, a meal delivered, an email sent, a phone call, a drive-by with a smile – all can make a difference. What might you do to reach out and care for caregivers in your community? Perhaps a simple question – “How are you doing?” – might be just what is needed in the midst of their journey.