There are many people who are caregivers in the United States. Many people with Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) need a caregiver, or someone who assists with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks. According to estimates from the National Alliance for Caregiving, 65.7 million Americans have recently served as caregivers for a relative. Even though the 2020 Census does not include data on family caregiving, it’s likely that you already know someone who’s dedicated their time and efforts to caring for others.
Caregivers do a lot for others and need to receive care too. Many caregivers masterfully manage complex schedules and challenging routines. Their responsibilities can include coordinating regular appointments, preparing meals and snacks, making multiple phone calls, doing housekeeping or other physically demanding tasks, providing emotional support, and more. Regularly helping others with exercise, nutrition, sleep, and other essentials, it’s common for caregivers to run out of time, space, or ways to take care of their own needs.
If you have a caregiver, there are many meaningful ways to help your caregiver receive care too. Here are a few simple ways to incorporate a caregivers’ needs into even the busiest day:
- Ask your caregiver how they’re doing. Little moments of listening and showing that you care too can make a big difference in anyone’s day, week, or life. For bigger topics or issues, you and your caregivers are always welcome to share your stories and reach out for assistance in our online support group.
- Learn more about caregivers. Read this interview with a PF caregiver
- Work together on a Breathing Challenge: Together with your caregiver, you can pick a breathing activity, like pursed-lip breathing, to spend 5 minutes on for 1 week straight. Pick an activity you already do daily – like eating lunch – and then add breathing to it. For example, if you usually eat lunch at noon, practice a new breathing technique from 12:00 pm-12:05 pm, and eat after. Before you know it, it could become a new habit!
- Research a recipe that could help you and your caregiver with nutritional goals. Once you find a snack or meal that sounds good to both of you, plan a time to try it out soon!