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I was a caregiver to my parents for many years. There were many warm and loving times with my family. Like any other family we had challenging times too.



As the years went by, many times I felt overlooked or unappreciated. It seems like we fall into routines and are often taken for granted.



At times, I felt lost and confused, frustrated and even angry. Most of all I felt exhausted!



It meant everything to me when I was told by my parents and others that I was appreciated. A sincere, ‘Thank you!’ goes a long way.



I know that caregivers need a lot more than kind words to survive. They need time for themselves and appropriate help.



One particular Christmas, my niece gave me a lovely gift that included all sorts of sweet treats inside, chocolates, bath products, nail polish, gift cards, etc. which I appreciated very much. She included a beautiful card that she tucked inside with a handwritten letter telling me that she recognized all of my efforts. It brought tears to my eyes.



I also received lots of help from fellow and former caregivers from AgingCare website. I am truly appreciative of the warmth and support that you offered. Therapy helped as well as an in person support group for caregivers.



Some people feel that people who give selflessly should not expect anything in return. I don’t agree with this. Everyone deserves to be appreciated by those they are caring for or the families who hire them. Otherwise, resentment and despair builds up and it can cause devastating effects for the caregiver.



Sometimes I felt invisible as the caregiver. Some people who spoke to me only inquired about my mom, and never asked how I was holding up.



At times we hear about caregivers who consider it an honor or privilege to care for others. Oh gosh, I can’t say that I felt this way. I cared about my parents wellbeing but it was emotionally draining for me.



Every time I turn around I see ads for caregivers. It’s a tough job! Often a thankless one too.



I would love to read responses from all caregivers, past and present. What do you want this Christmas and throughout the year?



I placed this under family caregiver because I didn’t see any other fit. I would love to hear from any and all caregivers, family, facility and hospice workers.



Caregivers, what changes in attitude would you like to see?



If you are a family member please chime in too.

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Time off! I agree. No one has volunteered tho, so I bought myself ten lovely days of respite. Starts this weekend!
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 29, 2022
Good for you! Smart lady. Get rest, have fun and focus on your needs!
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What would I like? To not be asked a single question, for one whole week. Not one.
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bundleofjoy Nov 29, 2022
haha me too.

let me guess, the question is always:
“can you do this for me?”

and without a please.
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You know what I would have appreciated while I was caregiving at home?? Both mom and I being included.

It would have been wonderful if the family had been willing to travel to our home to spend the day and share a pot luck or some other simple meal, but it never happened. Even if we'd rolled mom to the corner of the room and she slept most of the day away it would have felt very meaningful to me.
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 30, 2022
Absolutely! There comes a point in time where the only the only outings are doctor’s appointments or ER trips.

So, it’s not like they can hop in the car to visit others.

If hospice is ordered for them, they no longer go anywhere.

Yes! A break from cooking would always be welcome to many caregivers.
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I used to bake alot for Christmas. When Mom was in the AL I took in a tray of cookies. Fudge and white choc. dipped oyster crackers. When she was in the NH, I would bake and take things in. I used to do a tray of cookies for my boss, RN, and she used them at her Christmas dinner. One less thing she had to do.

When my brothers told me they appreciated what I did for Mom, it was a big thing. One's wife had thyroid cancer and the other lived 7 hrs away. Appreciation from the one ur caring for, too. People need to understand that no one is obligated, other than paid Caregivers, to care for them. It is really is a gift. My Mom, as long as she was able, always said thank you.
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 30, 2022
That’s so sweet that your mom showed her gratitude to you.

Homemade goodies are the best!
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It’s good I never expected any appreciation from my parents for my efforts on their behalf because I never received a thank you thus far in the past five years that I have been doing this. I think they look at it as payment for my being born.

I do plan to give our two wonderful aides $100 each for the Holidays just from me. I also gave them each $50 for working Thanksgiving. I’m sure my parents will give something too but I want them to know I appreciate their kindness and generosity of spirit. I am so grateful to them for taking such good care of my parents.
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 30, 2022
Good for you to be so kind to your caregivers.
(9)
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Time off, away. With no interruptions. Not one single phone call or text.
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I'm not a caregiver anymore; both of my parents have passed, so that's that. But this year for the holidays, I'm giving homemade gift baskets to my loved ones. They're each themed; I have a Mexican/Southwestern basket, a Bath/Shower basket, an Italian basket, and a Bar/Drink basket that I'm putting together. Each basket is a gift in and of itself; the bar one is an antique copper washtub with a hand painted lid, the Italian basket is a Longaberger covered picnic basket, etc. It's fun and it's taken me months to hand pick each and every item I'm putting into these baskets. Then I'll wrap them in clear cellophane and tie them up with a huge checkerboard bow.

I know I would've loved receiving a gift basket like this myself, so I hope they're well received by my loved ones this year. Just wanted to do something different.

Caregiving is a VERY hard job, and my hat is off to everyone who's doing it for a loved one.
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 29, 2022
Those gifts sound fabulous! Very thoughtful and fun.
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I agree with those who said some time away, even it's a short time. My DD has gotten us a gift certificate to a Gettysburg BnB each year since folks moved in, and still does it now. Close enough in case of emergency but far enough away and a place we love. She would stay with the folks when we went, and now she watches the pupper and ferals while we go. and she was great with the parents and then just Mom so they felt like they got a gift too!
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 30, 2022
I felt like this so much when I had mom in my home.

A change of scenery can break the monotony and help to renew energy.
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You’re very correct about caregiving being most often a thankless job. When my mother was in NH care, taking fruit, doughnuts, or cookies was always appreciated by the staff. I wish I’d thought to do a gift basket for them like you describe, for them to be able to choose things from, so many worked hard for not a lot of money. I still remember some telling me that NH work was their “calling” or “life’s work” how grateful we should be for these people! For family caregivers, simply noticing and expressing gratitude is huge. Giving a day off is even better. Bringing groceries, taking the person out to an appointment or to get a haircut or anything else can be a gift. I also don’t have parents anymore, but I do have a complex adult son (brain injury, lots of complex health issues) and the worst by far is when people simply ignore his existence. Not knowing the right thing to say really doesn’t matter, just ask how things are, it’s appreciated just to know someone cares
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 29, 2022
I relate to everything you have said. Caregiving is so complex and some people get it and others don’t. You get it! Great response. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

My niece is an incredible person because she has been through a lot herself, both with her parents and having a child with special needs. Her circumstances have made her very aware of others.
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I realized that caregivers are not appreciated so I bought myself on Black Friday a Roomba s9+. I hate cleaning. Does that count?
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lealonnie1 Nov 29, 2022
Does it work? I hate vacuuming but IDK if those Roomba's do the job adequately or not? And yes, it counts imo :)
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