How to Help a Caregiver: 6 Ways to Make a Difference


Caregivers are the unsung heroes of our time, pouring into the lives of those they love through the act of service. It’s not an easy task, with over 60% of family caregivers working full-time or part-time — and 30% living with a child or grandchild.1 Time is strained with demands pulling them in multiple directions. Considering how to help a caregiver can relieve some of their stress and offer encouragement.

Facing Fatigue and Stress

There are positive effects of being a caregiver, with 80% reporting that they feel a strong sense of purpose, knowing they are making a difference in the life of a loved one.2 But caregiver stress can wear on the caregiver and cause them to neglect their well-being. Unchecked, this can create physical and emotional health problems that make the job of caregiving even more stressful.

The average caregiver spends about 25 hours a week on caregiving activities, and 25% of caregivers may give over 40 hours per week.3 The effort can be overwhelming when combined with a job and other responsibilities. Caregivers often feel like there isn’t enough time to get everything done, leaving them feeling helpless, isolated and frustrated. They can spend so much energy on meeting others’ needs that they neglect their own needs.

Six Small Acts Can Make a Big Difference

When thinking about how to lighten a caregiver’s load, consider six actions that can make a difference in their ability to cope:

  1. Customize the way you serve. Every caregiving job is different, and every caregiver’s needs are different. Be considerate by considering their specific situation. Do they need time alone or with other people? Would a phone call be better, or would a card, email or text be more appropriate?
  2. Make specific offers to help. Rather than making a broad offer to help, try offering something specific, such as:
    “I made enough dinner to share with your family. What time could I bring it by?”
    “I’m going to the grocery store. Can I pick up some things for you while I’m there?”
    “I have some free time tomorrow. How about taking some time off while I fill in for you?”
  3. Help with housework. When schedules are strained, sometimes the first things to go are routine chores such as laundry, dusting and vacuuming. Caring for the caregiver can include an offer to help periodically with the housework or pitching in to hire a maid service.
  4. Listen. Providing care for a loved one can be isolating. Sometimes, the best therapy is the opportunity to talk. Ask caregivers how they are doing and then listen without offering advice or trying to fix their problems.
  5. Have fun. All work and no play can be detrimental to caregivers’ health. Provide opportunities to play and laugh. Ask when it would be convenient to bring a movie over, schedule a game night or invite them to go for a walk.
  6. Pray. Lift the caregiver and their needs in prayer “because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer.” 1 Peter 3:12 (CSB)

Take Care of Your Well-being

Every effort is appreciated, no matter how big or small, so take a moment to consider how to help a caregiver focus on their well-being. At GuideStone®, we advocate for your well-being in every season of life with health plans made for ministry and ways to save money on health care expenses . For more information, contact us at or 1-844-INS-GUIDE (1-844-467-4843), Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT.