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Thank You Caregiver

 

November is National Family Caregivers Month.  In this month when we give thanks, we also honor those who care for others.  Caregivers don’t hear thank you enough, so let this be a “Thank You” to all the wonderful caregivers out there.

Dear Caregiver,

If you are reading this, it means you finally took a few minutes for yourself. I know it’s been a while since you’ve done that. I also know that it’s been quite some time since you’ve heard the words “thank you”.

I didn’t thank you when you left your career to be a full-time caregiver. I just felt relief that it wasn’t me putting my life on hold. I didn’t tell you how much I appreciated you when you had to miss your kids’ soccer games because Mom needed your help. I was just grateful that my kids had me.

I never told you how unselfish you were when you cancelled your vacation because Dad was recovering from a surgery. Instead, I sat on the beach with my family, and enjoyed my time to relax. I didn’t ever tell you how amazing you are at balancing all you do. I just thought about how I would do it differently.

I never told you that I am not brave enough to do what you do. I can hang up the phone, or come home from a visit and go about my life. You deal with the physical and emotional toll day in and day out with no complaint.

The truth is, I do see all that you do. I see what you have sacrificed, I see the exhaustion in your eyes, and I hear the worry in your voice. I know you are trying desperately to make all the moving parts work. I know you sometimes cry quietly, locked in the bathroom so no one will see your fears. You lay awake at night thinking not of your own dreams, but how to help Mom reach hers.

I am sorry I have been silent with my admiration and appreciation. The problem is I can’t imagine a truly appropriate way to show just how much I appreciate you. “Thank you” always seemed so little in comparison to all you do.

Then I realized, if I never say “thank you”, you would feel your job was small. If I never offered my hand for help, you would think you didn’t deserve a break. If I never offered my shoulder for support, you would have nowhere to lean.

Thank you for the amazing job you do. The selflessness of which cannot accurately be described. You don’t have to do this alone; I am holding my hand out offering you help. When it becomes overwhelming, my shoulder is right here, ready for you.  

If I could bottle all the love and appreciation in the world, it still wouldn’t be enough for you, Caregiver. But I will try, and I will start with telling you: Thank You!

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. November 2, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Posted by Beverly DuBose

    Three years have gone by now since my father broke his hip and the diagnosis of parkinson disease. He is bed ridden and 94 years old. My mom is also here with me and aging quickly right in front of me. She is 91. The days are not easy, but God has given me the strength to get through this time in our lives. Some days I feel I just can not go on and wonder why the rest of the family of brothers and nieces and nephews do not step forward and say "Aunt Bev, just go take a day for yourself, or change a diaper or feed dad?" They come to visit and say hello at first and then get lost in their computers or TV or talking to each other. I continue to feed, bath, dress and medicate and talk to dad in our own language that we have developed. Mom sleeps a lot and moves from chair to chair. I am lonely at time and days and weeks go by as I age myself. Most days I just get up and put one foot in front of the other and then night comes and it is time to feed, and medicate and change diapers for the night, position and turn on his program and place a headset on his head of a cowboy show or music. That is when my alone time starts up and the wee hours of 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. when it is quiet... I know one day i will be glad I did this..... but some days I feel lost in a time warp....

    Reply

  2. February 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Posted by Irene

    Thank you for writing this. I'm crying because I've given up 10 years of my life, my job, my possibility of having a loving partner, most of my finances, every minute of every day to care for my dad, paying a caregiver out of my savings (fearful I could starve one day), and my dad has never said a voluntary thank you or please to me, if mom doesn't tell him to. All I get is grumbling and being shouted at. I've wished so many times I could just die, but my parents need me so much, they think I'm God and I can solve all their problems. I'm so stressed and this is helping me ...

    Reply

  3. November 20, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Posted by Sherrie

    Reading this made me cry. I just wish that once someone would have said those words to me, as I struggled with my husband. He was only 60 when diagnosed. Every one around me always had advise to give how I could improve what i was doing. When I quit my job, people sighed with relief that they didn't have to worry about it any more. Some even told me it wasn't a 24 hour job, cause care-aid would come for 2 hours 3 times a week. Well i cried out my despair, yes in the bathroom. He passed last month and now I am unemployed, 54 year old widow. Yes those word of thank were very well spoken and need to be said more often. So thank you

    Reply

  4. November 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Posted by linda wadden

    god, never realized it was a job. to me it is a wonderfull thing caring for mom 91 yr young, she was the most wonderfull mom , always at the door when i came home, i would settle for just one day to take her back to herself, god i love her so much, just wish she was back to our great outings, my best friend , my dear mom, smiles are my reward........ love you mom, you are my reward..... your smiles..... i know she loves me so much, and i have all the smiles for her, i ask her whose my baby, she says i am, wow, and she is , please god, do not take her away from me

    Reply

  5. November 16, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Posted by Melissa Vaughan

    Thank you.....sometimes a thank you helps get me thru the day....

    Reply

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