Give InKind’s support pages offer assistance to those wanting to know how to be helpful to a loved one in a time of need. Here, we consider how to set up an InKind Page for someone closely involved in a medical situation –but not always considered and supported as systematically as they could be. There are lots of ways to support a caregiver as they, too, navigate a delicate balance of life and providing support to someone else.
When someone is ill and has a prognosis that is poor or one which has an unpredictable timeframe, they rely upon caregivers. It is often the case that, organically or of necessity, one primary caregiver emerges. Such a person is likely to be a close family member. Caregivers in these circumstances rise to the challenge out of love. While most caregivers report that they stepped up willingly and freely, this does not diminish the fact that such care is physically, emotionally, and financially taxing. It is equally important to provide help to a caregiver, as it is to provide help to a patient. If you are aware of someone acting as a caregiver, consider the circumstances that necessitated the need for this page. For older citizens has a dementia diagnosis been made? Or, is a parent caring for an extremely ill child? Depending upon the set of facts, think about what specific needs must be met. Then, build a Care Calendar that reflects the facts on the ground. (See a sample Give InKind Support Page for Other Medical/Caregiver.)
Begin by considering the individual needs of the caregiver. Are they older and caring for a spouse or partner? What are their physical limitations? What are the circumstances of the patient? Is the caregiver the parent of a child who has a life-altering or a life-threatening diagnosis? Does the caregiver have minor children to care for? Are they balancing professional responsibilities? Begin by breaking it down. Take a look at the Give InKind Care Calendar – and work on customizing it for your specific needs. For loved ones who live a distance away, make them aware that they can provide a service (groceries) using a gift card. Consider the needs of a caregiver. Lend a hand with things like transportation, pet care, household chores, or even someone to talk to. Consider mundane things like troubleshooting a computer issue or changing a lightbulb. Use the Custom Care Calendar to add as many actionable items that are needed – divvy up the day-to-day to create action items that can be claimed by a third party.
- Food: Meals and groceries are almost always the first items to be claimed on any calendar. Providing food to those in need is especially helpful. The last thing someone who is stretched thin can do is plan a family meal. If a caregiver is alone more than not, they might just want Pad Thai and to check out with The Great British Bake-Off. Sending groceries by delivery is a huge help, as well.
- Pet Care: (If applicable) Is there a pet in need of care?
- Home Services: Use this category for any home services that they may feel like too much. Consider how best to stay ahead of the need for safety gear such as a railing in the shower.
- Transportation: Is transportation an issue? If a recipient has no car it is hard for them to access things they themselves need. A yoga class? Can someone provide a ride? Or, can someone purchase an Uber card?
- Other: “Other" is the ultimate catch-all category. Stopping by to say hello and enjoying a cup of tea or a glass of wine with a caregiver is pretty great. However, perhaps more important is creating opportunities for caregiver respite care. Do go ahead and offer to spend time with the patient. Consider what the patient actually liked to do when healthy. Clearly explain what requirements will be necessary to make it a positive experience. (For example, a walk with someone who has Alzheimer’s may require a companion with physical strength – able to redirect if a patient becomes combative.) Read aloud to a patient if they are readers. Rides to medical appointments, places of worship, physical therapy, etc. are always appreciated.
The Give InKind Wishlist is another opportunity for others to meaningfully support a person in need of a little extra help. This is especially useful for those wishing to lend a hand from a distance. Browse Give InKind’s curated list for suggested items that could help in their unique situation. In addition to take-out, you can include other more non-traditional gift cards as well. When you see an item that could be helpful, use the “+" icon to add to their Wishlist.
You may also add an existing Amazon Wishlist to your Give InKind page.
Use Give InKind’s do-not-disturb section to let others know about the recipient’s communication preferences. Keep in mind that these preferences can be easily adjusted as the situation changes.
- Phone Calls: What is the best way to communicate with a caregiver? Some like talking on the phone. Others like Zoom, FaceTime, or just a quick text to check-in. What is the best way for others to reach out?
- Visitors: Does your recipient caregiver want visitors for themselves? Or, are visitors more important for the patient–so that a caregiver can take a break? Define these parameters and set them.
- Flowers: Is a caregiver open to receiving flowers? It’s such a nice thought–feel free to ask.
Add unlimited updates to keep friends and family informed. This is a great place for a designated page manager to keep family and friends up to date or for the recipient to “blog" or “journal" their experience. In addition, a caregiver can issue a last-minute call for a specific need – and see who can help.
When organizing community support for a situation that is likely to continue to evolve, keep the channels of communication open. If the situation is one likely to be long-term, invite new participants to join as you become aware of them as potential willing helpers. Caregivers struggle with emotional complexity (love, guilt, creating an opportunity for basic self-care) of their task. It’s a gift to recognize that – and to step in. Create your Give InKind Support Page here.
If you have any further questions, visit Give InKind’s Help Center or view our helpful articles about how to Provide Effective Support for Other Medical Support.
Give InKind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We have an affiliate relationship with many of the advertisers on our site, and may receive a commission from any products purchased from links in this article. See Terms & Conditions.