Caregivers always appreciate gratitude for their hard work as we all do. They work hard and many work without pay on behalf of family members or needy loved ones. Finding ways to thank caregivers, beyond saying "thank you," confounds many grateful families. Bringing Inspiration To Earth, or BITE, Radio suggests a way to express gratitude and pay tribute to caregivers.

Caregiver tribute book

By collecting caregiving stories and using them to create a book, BITE Radio team member Robert has begun expressing gratitude to caregivers. The goal is to compile stories of how caregivers and the seniors for whom they care work together to learn or teach important life lessons. Caring for seniors brings rewards of experience and wisdom and the Caregiver Tribute Book allows sharing these moments and stories with others. It also supports caregiving communities by connecting caregivers with readers of the book. Stronger communities sharing wisdom and strength means better communities supporting seniors, their families and the caregivers that make it work.

The book is not specified for professional or family caregivers. Just because you do not get paid for your work as a caregiver does not mean that a story cannot teach others more about caregiving or pay tribute to every kind of caregiver. Professional and family caregivers alike bring skills, experiences, love and hard work to the table. Their connection with the seniors in their care goes beyond professional tips, teaching readers of all kinds how to live fuller, happier lives. If you cannot make a decision about what story to tell immediately, consider keeping a journal of positive, loving experiences and caregiving challenges. Often, a story will emerge in a short time, teaching a lesson you might otherwise have struggled to see or put into words.

How to submit your story

The story should contain a photo of the caregiver or person receiving care or both together; identifying information, such as first names and contact information, if you would like readers to contact you; the essence of the person receiving care; challenges faced while providing care; joy and happiness that was found along the way; and any advice and learning a reader might take away from your experiences. Most caregivers and loved ones can provide many stories like these that speak to the quality and importance of the work they do. The website does not specify how long each story should be, so feel free to provide details and tell a complete story. If possible, get others to contribute to the story in their own voices, discussing how the caregiving experience changed or helped them. Then, email your story to [email protected], addressed to Robert, using the word "Caregiver" in the email subject line. You may also call (843) 808-0777 with questions about the project.

Other ways to pay tribute

In addition to submitting your story to this book, other ways to thank a caregiver in your life (even if you are that caregiver!) can be easier than you think. You can get them a subscription to their favorite magazine and a coffee shop gift card, says blogger The Adventurous Writer. Or you may offer a collage of pictures of their loved ones on vacation. Consider writing a heartfelt thank you letter, which is more personal than a card from a store, and include a piece of their favorite candy in the envelope. Take time to listen to their concerns often, since many caregivers often offer the best advice for changes in care. Recommend professional caregivers to others if it is merited. The field often uses word-of-mouth to share information about the most skilled caregivers in a community.

In general, caregivers want two things: recognition for their hard work and excellent care for the person they work to keep healthy and happy. Any way that you can fill these needs pays tribute to their work. Be creative! Consider helping the person for whom they care to create a gift or make a gift basket of their favorite things--a bottle of good wine, nail polish or a new DVD make good contents for a night in basket, for caregivers who need time to themselves, as an example.

Sources

BITE Radio. Are you a caregiver with a story? BITERadio.me. Available at http://www.biteradio.me/caregiver.html. Retrieved December 7, 2016.

The Adventurous Writer. 15 Thoughtful Gifts a Caregiver Will Love and Appreciate. TheAdventurousWriter.com. available at http://www.theadventurouswriter.com/blog/thoughtful-gifts-for-caregivers/. Retrieved December 7, 2016.

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