This is a sponsored post on behalf of Element Associates and Midlife Boulevard.
When I was young and first married, my grandmother was no longer able to live alone without help. My father moved her from Arkansas to be near him in Tennessee. She wanted to live independently as much as she could, so he helped her get set up in a nice little apartment near his house.
At first she was self-sufficient around the apartment, then she could only manage to travel from bed to toilet to recliner. After a few years, she was bed-bound for the most part.
When I lived close, I helped when I could, but I lived in the next county over and I had two little babies. Grandmother absolutely loved seeing me and the boys, so I went over when I could to see her. Also, I knew it gave my dad and step-mother a break.
At the time I didn’t think of it as a big deal. Now I see even one day off was a nice break when you provide care to someone once or more a day. I’m grateful I could provide respite from the big job of caregiving, and I appreciate every second I spent with my grandmother, even when we went over the calendar she kept of her bathroom activity. Not kidding.
November is National Family Caregivers month, and the Random Acts of Kindness initiative aims to recognize and support the 40 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S. Many caregivers are Boomer women, often sandwiched between the needs of their parents and their own kids.
A popular misconception is that caregivers are paid medical professionals, providing full-time care to someone in need of daily help, when in reality, most caregivers are family members or friends who are also working and managing their own families at the same time. For many, the caregiving role starts with simple things like scheduling a doctor’s visit or helping with daily errands, but gradually expands over time, until it becomes a major commitment in their lives.
November is the start of a program designed to encourage all Americans to perform an unexpected ‘Random Act of Kindness’ for a caregiver. By starting a nationwide movement, it will raise awareness of caregiving and caregivers while at the same time reaching caregivers directly. Hopefully this will help to alleviate some of their daily stresses and reward them for their ongoing support.
Do you have a friend or relative who is a caregiver? Do something nice for them! It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, just a small gesture that makes a caregiver’s life a little easier.
If you share share their story with us, and submit a 150-word-or-less summary of how you made a caregiver feel special, along with a photo, you’ll be entered to win a cash prize from a $10,000 pot.
Find out more about Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers.
Almost three in ten people who are caring for someone say their life has changed with caregiving, oftentimes for the negative. More than one in five say their weight, their exercise, or their social life has suffered. Emotionally, one in five say they are generally unhappier and one in three say they feel sad or depressed. That’s why AARP created a community where caregivers can connect with experts and other caregivers and can find information and tools to take even better care of the person who once took care of them.
Caregivers work so hard. Make their day with a simple act of kindness.