If your friend has recently taken on the role of caregiver, you have probably noticed some changes in their normal lifestyle. Often, these changes can make it seem like your friend may not want or need friends anymore. However, that couldn’t be more wrong. While your friendship may not have the same dynamic as it did before your friend took on the role of caregiver, these tips can show you how to be the friend a caregiver needs.
- Make a Meal – Whip up your favorite dinner or dessert and deliver it to your friend’s home. Try to make sure it’s something they can freeze and use for a busy day.
- Get Them Out – Call your friend and tell them you’re taking them out. Make sure that you arrange for a trusted person to sit with their loved one while the two of you are out so your friend can enjoy herself and not worry.
- Give Time – Offer to run errands for your friend. Do some research on her loved one’s condition and offer to sit with them while your friend takes some time for herself. Cook meals and offer help with household chores.
- Give Space – Your friend may need space sometimes. After all, she is giving much of her own time to someone else, so on the rare occasion that she has time, she may want to spend it by herself. However, make sure you recognize the difference between your friend needing space and isolating herself.
- Ask - Ask your friend how you can help. Ask your friend what they need and ask them how they’re feeling. Asking instead of telling them you’re there can make a big difference.
- Ditch – Your friend has a new set of responsibilities, which means more work and less time. She may not be able to accept every one of your invitations, but that doesn’t mean you should ditch her completely. Keep her in the loop, but don’t overwhelm her with invitations you know she can’t accept and will feel bad about missing.
- Surprise Visits – While you may have good intentions in bringing the whole crew over to visit your friend, this may cause more stress and work for her. She now has to play host and make sure her house is ready for guests. Ask before you show up or coordinate a good time for a visit.
- Problem Solve – Sometimes it is best just to listen. Your friend may just be looking for someone to listen to her problems, not to solve them all.
- Disagree – Be supportive of your friend’s decisions and don’t argue or disagree with them. If she just had to make the decision to put her loved one in long-term care, now wouldn’t be the time to start disagreeing and sharing horror stories.
Source: agingcare.com, Accessed 12/2/16