ARTICLES / Caregiver / The Caregiver’s First-Aid Kit /
By Helen Hunter, ACSW, CMSW
One of the many training courses that I
teach in the community focuses on caring for the
caregiver. I give each participant a “Caregiver
First-Aid Kit” as a reminder of the special
significance they have in their role as a caregiver
for their loved one.
The kit includes the following items:
The MATCH is to strike up and
rekindle friendships and call on those friends when
needed. Friends can help you when you need a break
from the demands of providing care to your loved
By touching the match to the CANDLE, you are able
to let the light shine through in your daily role as
The POST-IT PAD is for you to be
creative and draw.
The CRAYON is for you to use in
play, to color your world and to be creative.
The LIFESAVER is to remind you
that you are a lifesaver to your loved one by your
willingness to be a caregiver and that others can be
a lifesaver to you when you need it. Just ask for
help, and you’ll be happily surprised at the
The MINT is to remind you that
you’re worth a “mint” to those who know you.
The HERSHEY’S KISS is a reminder
that you are loved and appreciated.
The HEART-SHAPED GEMSTONE is a
symbol of how SPECIAL you are to your loved ones.
I remind each person that they DO MAKE A
DIFFERENCE and I THANK them FOR ALL
THAT they DO!
For all of you caregivers who are tirelessly
providing care for your loved one every single day,
you are appreciated! Remember to ask for help if you
need it, even for an occasional break. Studies show
that those who receive an occasional respite break
come back refreshed and recharged, and are better
able to cope with the demands of daily care.
Helen Hunter, ACSW, CMSW, is
an independent geriatric social worker consultant
and trainer. She is also a writer, and has had
numerous articles published in local and national
magazines, focusing on elder care and family care
issues. Licensed in the states of Connecticut, New
York and Florida, she currently resides in Fort