Caregiving Community

Gratitude Cards for Caregivers

Have you ever cruised the greeting card aisle at a store in search for the perfect card that says exactly what you want to say or how you feel? Sometimes you get lucky and find a card right away. Other times, you read through a handful of cards and, after a while, you just settle for a decent one. Fortunately, to save you search time, the greeting card aisle has different card sections based on occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, baby showers, and weddings.

Now, have you ever tried to find a greeting card to express gratitude for a family caregiver? What words or emotions come to mind? How are you related to this caregiver? What is the occasion? What is the caregiving context? 

The obvious go-to gratitude cards are in the Thank You section, which provides general heartfelt messages but not necessarily about caregiving. Birthday cards can work since you can both celebrate a caregiver’s birthday and thank them for being a caregiver at the same time. Relationship cards can also work since you can express appreciation for both the relationship, such as spousal or daughter to mother, and for the caregiving dynamic. Other possible cards can be found in the Sympathy section, depending on the nature of the caregiving situation, and the Just Because section. All these cards are options but not caregiver-specific.

For me, it was slim-pickings when I searched for caregiver-themed greeting cards at multiple card aisles and stationery stores. I felt like I had to edit the cards with my personal caregiver comments. If I was having a hard time finding gratitude cards for caregivers, how many other people were having the same difficulty? At the very least, card stores should add caregivers to the relationship section. Caregiving for another person is a unique relationship, isn’t it?

After several card shopping trips and editing sessions, I decided to start my own caregiver-themed greeting card line. There are 53 million family caregivers in the U.S. and I think that is a significant amount of people that should be appreciated and recognized for their caregiving role. With my personal caregiving journey and the compassionate hearts of family caregivers in mind, I created Caregiver Cards. It is an uplifting card collection packed with messages of positivity, love, adoration, fun, and humanity for caregivers. With each card, I hope to deliver a well-deserved bright light to the caregiver who reads it. With the card collection, I hope to offer you a variety of gratitude expressions to choose from. With Caregiver Cards, I hope to create a new section in the greeting card aisle and to save you card shopping time, especially during the busy holiday season.

Jenn Chan is the CEO & Founder of Senior Shower® Project, a startup with a mission to celebrate family caregivers of older adults with a party. She sells caregiver greeting cards, creates senior shower party kits, curates caregiver gift boxes, and hosts virtual caregiver dance parties. Inspired by caregiving for her grandma, Jenn dedicates her career to elevate the family caregiver role with fun, love, and positivity. She believes caregiving is a lifestyle and becoming a senior caregiver is a life milestone worth celebrating.

Caregiving Community

Gifts We’re Loving

The holidays are coming so we’ve put together a gift guide for things the caregiver or the care recipient in your life will really want. Show the ones in your life you love them with thoughtful tokens of appreciation – even something as simple as a card can brighten someone’s day!

Caregiving Community

5 Questions w/ Lori La Bey (Alzheimer’s Speaks)

Lori La Bey is located in the U.S., but is known globally when it comes to dementia care. Her mother lived with dementia for 30 years, and Lori created Alzheimer’s Speaks and Dementia Map to honor her with the mission to shift dementia care from crisis to comfort worldwide.

1. Who do you care for (now and/or in the past)? What is your role/relationship?

I cared for both my dad who passed away from brain cancer in 2001, and my mother who died from dementia after living with it for 30 years, in 2014.

2. When did you start to realize you were a caregiver?

With my mom, it was a slow process, assisting her as my father was her primary care partner. It was very natural and just something a daughter does for her parents. 

With my dad’s cancer, it hit quick. Everything changed with one phone call. We had to pick my folks up at their cabin and bring my dad down to the Twin Cities for emergency surgery. The hospital got him set up in a room and allowed us to celebrate Christmas with him for two days, before they did the surgery. They didn’t know if he would survive. From this point forward, nothing in my life was the same. Dad pulled through the surgery and actually did well for about 4 ½ years, but mom’s needs increased; so I had to step up and step in to support my dad and mother. 

3. What helps you when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities? What advice would you give to family caregivers in this situation?

My spirituality helped me a lot. I hate to say that in the beginning of the journey, I saw friends trying to help more like another thing I had to coordinate, communicate, and oversee. Boy, was that a mistake! I didn’t realize how much I missed my friends. I didn’t figure that out until one day I broke down and took time to be with my friends. Actually, I met them to get them off my back. But then the magic happened. We laughed and cried together. I felt normal again. I found I could care better when my soul was full. 

I had gotten so task-oriented doing everything for everyone else, because I didn’t feel there was time for me. I felt that would be selfish of myself. I learned that to be a healthy care partner, I needed to take care of me, too.

4. What is the one thing you know now that you would tell new family caregivers?

  • Be just as patient and loving with yourself as you are with others.  
  • Don’t let your inner critic run you down.
  • Focus on whether the person you are caring for is first: safe, happy, and pain-free. Then do your tasks. You will find you are more compassionate, less stressed, and will get the job done in a better fashion.

5. How has caregiving changed you?

Caregiving has changed my life forever. It’s made me realize we all have the power to care better, to change the system, and to assist others on the same journey. I quit my job to shift dementia care from crisis to comfort. I advocate for dementia via my company, which raises all voices around the world, including those living with a form of dementia. We have a radio show, blog, and a variety of videos from Dementia Chats highlighting those living with dementia, plus Dementia Quick Tips (things I wish someone had told me). I also partnered with David Wiederrich to launch, which is a global resource directory free to the public, as well  as offering free and economical plans to those who have services, products, and tools to share. We feel strongly that budget should not limit access to those in need.

Click here for a downloadable brochure on Helpful Tips for Dealing with Dementia, courtesy of Alzheimer’s Speaks and Dementia Map.

Caregiving Community

Caregiver Affirmation

Have you ever heard of the Five Love Languages? It’s a concept and book developed by Gary Chapman. The central premise is that there are five different ways of expressing and receiving love. The Five Love Languages are:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts

You can take a quiz and learn more about the love languages here.

Most of the time, we express love primarily in the way we want to receive it. The most common primary love language by a small margin is Words of Affirmation.

As family caregivers, we don’t hear too often from our care recipients about the fantastic job we are doing. This void is why you have to turn to your family caregiver advocates like the CircleOf team and Happy Healthy Caregiver, who want to express our gratitude for the value you provide. We want to celebrate you not just during National Family Caregivers Month, but all year long. 

Instructions: Sit in silence for 10-15 minutes (or even 5 minutes if that’s all you have!), then say these Affirmations aloud to yourself. Add in any prayers or affirmations you’re working with in other areas of your life. Try this for 30 days and watch what happens!

10 Caregiver Affirmations

You show up; often when no one else does

You drop everything when you get a critical call to be with your care recipient. You are committed to your role. 

You are wise

You research and work diligently to understand all your care recipient’s options to live their best life. 

You are relentless

You face the tough questions and bring up courageous conversations. 

You are human

Your life is valuable, AND so many people count on you to keep your energy up and immunity optimal. 

You are a hard worker

You roll up your sleeves and dive into wound care, personal care, and many stinky and messy situations. 

You are part of the support system

You share your personal struggles and stories, so others are inspired and encouraged. They no longer feel isolated and overwhelmed

You are enough

You look in the mirror at the end of each day and give yourself some grace, self-love, compassion, and forgiveness.

You are courageous
You perform procedures with little to no training. You explore new alternatives. You face your worst fears head-on. 

You are a problem solver

You don’t sit back, wait and watch. Instead, you dive into the healing and helping.

You are resilient

Your life gets twisted around and turned upside down, and you carry on. Your caregiving journey requires you to cope with a crisis, adapt to a situation, and be ready for anything.

We hope you print this list of affirmations out so it can affirm you daily. We all have them—those not-so-great days. The days we question everything, cry uncontrollably and throw our hands in the air. Hang this somewhere where you can see it so you can feel validated. Caring for another human being matters. You are making a difference. We are thankful for you!

Elizabeth B. Miller is a family caregiver, Certified Caregiving Consultant, and founder of Happy Healthy Caregiver. Through her speaking, consulting, and online resources, Elizabeth helps family caregivers integrate caregiving and self-care with their busy lives. She is the host of the Happy Healthy Caregiver podcast on the Whole Care Network, author of Just for You: A Daily Self-Care Journal, administrator of the Self-Care Support for Family Caregivers FB Group, and facilitator of an Atlanta caregiver support group called the Atlanta Daughterhood Circle.

Caregiving Community

Caregiver Collective: Not Another Article About Burnout

Originally published at:

How many countless articles on caregiver burnout don’t acknowledge how impossible caregiving can seem? (Too many!) We promise that this is not going to be one of them.

We’re going to guess you’ve heard about the benefits of moving the body to relieve stress, deep breathing, connecting with others, creative outlets, and faith to prevent burnout. By now, it’s likely you know all the burnout prescriptions. 

Most caregivers are willing to do this self-care. But, honestly, the obstacles between caregiving and self-care are often insurmountable and unfathomable to others.


We reflect on when we were caregivers for our mom. How our mom – someone with ALS – lost her physical abilities and became in a sense trapped in her body, yet she developed resilience and a mindset that was freeing.

She acknowledged she had control over her thoughts. She could choose to wake up in the morning to go for it despite her circumstances and not knowing how things are going to develop and play out over time. She approached finding joy intently. There was a vast amount of suffering, both physically and emotionally, but still, she trusted that each day had possibility. 

It’s kind of radical to say that when you’re in the depths of burnout, it’s possible to still find moments of joy.

For caregivers, this is possible too.

The Superpower To Soothe Burnout

The best approach for caregivers is deciding to respond to situations in empowering ways and to skillfully process thoughts and emotions. Developing this superpower soothes burnout, and here’s how to do it:

First, we must drop any hang-ups or resistance we have to accept that we need to do this inner work of attending to our mental and emotional wellbeing to survive being a caregiver. 

Secondly, caregivers fundamentally need acknowledgment – by ourselves and others – that our experience is super hard. We need to express these frustrations, and we want people to relate to and connect with. 

Mindfulness For Caregivers

When caregivers acknowledge that this is really hard it often brings up painful thoughts and emotions we have not faced. We may realize – okay, that exists – and yet, we don’t have to let it prevent us from taking care of ourselves, connecting with others, or keeping our hope. 

This is a kind of mindfulness that we don’t have to add to our schedules. It’s a habit change and shift in mindset. Incorporating mindful awareness like this is an incredible tool a caregiver can use to respond to difficult situations developing resilience to continue on.

Breaking The Surface

Caregiving can feel like trying to survive in a dark huge body of water. People are shouting at you to get on the life raft, but you cannot figure out how to even break the surface. 

Acknowledging difficult emotions and unhelpful patterns that weigh you down can help you rise to the surface and climb on the raft. 

Once we’re on the raft, we can regain strength and perspective. We can build new tools, survey the horizon in a different way (perception is everything). We grow empowered in our ability to navigate rough waters.

We know that it seems tough to be this type of confident seafarer. Remember all the times we’ve survived, though. Remember that actually, multiple times throughout a day caregiving provides countless tales of resilience and survival. 

Untraditional Self-Care

As promised, we will never suggest caregiver burnout can be solved by slapping a little traditional self-care on it. What we do know is that caregivers develop resilience that eases burnout through inner work and learning deeper self-care tools. 

Do you find yourself facing caregiver burnout? If so, we invite you to check out the Caregiver Collective, a space where we’ll share with you practical tips & tools to make life as a caregiver easier, where you’ll gain more confidence & joy in your caregiving role, and avoid caregiver overwhelm & burnout.

Visit our website to learn more:

Caregiver Collective co-founders, Laura, an occupational therapist, and Cassandra, mindfulness teacher and wellbeing coach, have joined forces to answer the call to help women on their journey as caregivers, providing the support, resources and community that they wish they’d had, and know that women caregivers need. They show caregivers, through their personal experience and professional work as an occupational therapist working with caregivers and their loved ones every day and mindfulness teacher, wellbeing coach and mother, how they made the switch to being able to skillfully navigate difficult emotions, implement practical caregiver tools, and feel happy again about answering the call to be a caregiver.


Instagram: @caregivercollective

Caregiving Community

Movies We’re Loving

Movies can be a great escape, or they can help us see ourselves and know we’re not alone in our journey. In no particular order, here are some movies that enlightened us, showed us the full spectrum of caregiving and made us feel more connected. Great for a rainy day or cozy evening at home!
The Father

A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.


Sam and Tusker are traveling across England in their old RV to visit friends, family and places from their past. Since Tusker was diagnosed with dementia two years ago, their time together is the most important thing they have.

The Upside

A comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record who's hired to help him.


A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer and that he has a young male lover.

The Savages

A sister and brother face the realities of familial responsibility as they begin to care for their ailing father.


Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.

Still Alice

A linguistics professor and her family find their bonds tested when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.

The Fundamentals of Caring

A man suffering a family loss enrolls in a class about caregiving that changes his perspective on life.

Me Before You

A girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she's taking care of.

Crip Camp

Down the road from Woodstock, a revolution blossomed at a ramshackle summer camp for teenagers with disabilities, transforming their lives and igniting a landmark movement.

It's Not a Burden

The humor and heartache of raising elderly parents

Sky Blossom

An inspiring film about today's students taking care of family with disabilities across America.

Caregiver: A Love Story

The tale of one man struggling to care for his dying wife. This film highlights an essential, yet largely unseen workforce—the family caregivers of America, and challenges viewers to acknowledge the growing strain placed on them.


A documentary. Care work is essential work. It's time for respect and a living wage.

Caregiving Community

Hands Off the Popcorn

“Hands off the popcorn,” I urgently declared.

It was a favorite joke between us. “Hands off the popcorn” meant I was done for the day. No more taking kids to school, extra-curricular activities, dinner, the inevitable long process of putting our toddler to bed; her demands for one more glass of water, one more book, one more song. Making sure the teenager came home on time and did her homework. And always in the background, what it took to live with Joanne’s illness, her slowly deteriorating body.

Most days, we were joyful in a way I’d never experienced. She had insisted we wouldn’t do this alone and I had become accustomed over time to the steady stream of helpers. I had learned to say “thank you” instead of “are you sure you have time?” Somehow, without my even realizing it, I had learned to take care of myself, to answer the call for time or rest or just a simple five-minute break. I had learned to stay up to date with me.

But not on popcorn days. Those were the days someone cancelled, or a child was sick, or I hadn’t slept well. And, in her wisdom (or maybe simply her endless love for me) she didn’t take it personally; she simply smiled that knowing smile and waited for me to do whatever it was I needed to do until I was ready to carry on again with the rich and lovely life we’d created out of the rubble of her broken bones.

She reached out a hand, playfully feigning a steal of the kernels, poised above my bowl. She lingered over a particularly buttery bite, and I shooed her hand away, her fingers flies buzzing around my treat. I was going to eat the entire bowl. Myself. I was not going to share. And I was going to enjoy Every. Single. Morsel. Even if I was full.

Right from the start she set the stage for me to discover what it felt like when I needed a “selfish” moment.  “You’re not doing it all yourself. I need you to be my lover, my beloved. If you are busy doing everything you won’t have the time or energy for that. And you’re the only one who can do that!

I finished the last bite of popcorn, savoring the taste on my tongue. As we prepared to sleep, to start fresh the next day, that bowl of popcorn had been just what I needed. I had been my own priority, however briefly, and I felt better for it.

I reached over and took Joanne in my arms, ready to be generous with a goodnight hug and kiss. She answered my invitation with an enveloping set of arms taking me in, open to whatever I had to give. When I answered the deep call for my own attention, I had so much more to give!

Cheryl Espinosa Jones (CA MFT#27876) is a grief counselor, educator, writer, and the host of Good Grief, a weekly radio show investigating loss, grief, and transformation. Her novel, An Ocean Between Them, describes a mother-daughter relationship struggling to heal after a cancer diagnosis. The heart of Cheryl’s work stems from the 10 years she supported her wife while she lived with cancer and Cheryl’s immersion into her own grief after her wife’s death, surprised by frequent moments of joy.

Caregiving Community

5 Questions with The Caregiver Coach, Benita Hampton

Benita Hampton, a Certified Dementia Practitioner and Caregiver Coach with a specialization in Aging & Dementia Education, is the founder and host of The Caregiver Coach podcast. During the span of her career, Benita has taught many workshops on the topics of aging and dementia, particularly, sundowning, dementia-related behavioral issues, and healthcare planning. Benita’s debut book, “Mama’s Got Dementia, Daddy’s Gone Crazy…and I’m Not Far Behind” is currently in the works and is scheduled for publishing by mid-next year. 

1. Who do you care for (now and/or in the past)? What is your role/relationship?

My mom and I cared for my grandma after she was diagnosed with dementia, over 20 years ago, and I credit that caregiver journey as the catalyst that pushed me forward to work in senior care, then become a caregiver coach. Back then, there was virtually no such thing as a coach or advocate in the caregiver support space and I watched the physical and emotional toll that caring for grandma took on my mom. It was then that I resolved to do all that I could to become a resource to others that found themselves thrust into their own caregiver journey. I also had the honor to care for both of my parents at the end of their lives, and I feel that the experience of caring for an aging parent just strengthened my resolve to support other caregivers.

2. When did you start to realize you were a caregiver?

When I am teaching a workshop I often ask the attendees to raise their hand if they ever looked into their parents’ eyes as a child and said, “I love you so much, I can’t wait until you grow old and can no longer care for yourself. I will find the best living accommodations for you when that time comes.” After 17 years of my career as a caregiver coach and an aging & dementia educator, I have yet to ever have an attendee or client say, “Yes! I’ve said that!” I think that caregiving is something that can just sneak up on you. It’s not always something that you plan for, and it’s certainly not something that you ever feel well prepared for. My personal caregiving journey is no exception. I did what so many other family caregivers have had to do, I saw that my loved one had a need and I just started providing care, while learning (through trial and error) along the way. It was something that just continued to evolve until one day I realized that I was a caregiver.

3. What helps you when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities? What advice would you give to family caregivers in this situation?

I am very passionate about ensuring that caregivers create a plan of care for themselves. Whether you call it a respite care plan, an escape plan or something else, I believe that every caregiver needs to have this in place, and then make sure it’s followed. Every situation is different, maybe a family member can step in and provide regular breaks, maybe a professional caregiving agency can assist with providing care so that the caregiver can seek respite. Providing care for a loved one comes with a high risk of caregiver burnout, creating a respite plan of care for yourself will go a long way to help avoid the dangers of burnout.

4. What is the one thing you know now that you would tell new family caregivers?

In my coaching practice, we have a saying: “Stay Bendy” It’s how we remind ourselves and each other to stay flexible. The dynamics of caring for an aging loved one are constantly changing. What worked for you on Monday, might not work on Tuesday. Give yourself permission to stay flexible and breathe through the changes. 

5. How has caregiving changed you?

My caregiving journey has changed my life. Caring for my grandma, all those years ago, caused me to choose my career path and to serve in the caregiver support space. In the introduction to my podcast I talk about both the messy and the magical parts of being a caregiver to someone you love, and I believe that. Some days are messy, some days are magical, most days are hard. Caregiving has taught me flexibility, patience, gratitude and to celebrate the small victories. Caring for my parents taught me the importance of advocating for your loved one; to be brave enough to have conversations that matter; and that you can experience peace of mind that surpasses understanding when you know that you are carrying out your loved one’s wishes during their final days.  Caregiving is tough stuff, but you can still find joy in the journey, and it’s a journey that will change your life.

Caregiving Community

Boundaries Before Burnout: Caring for Yourself in the Thick of Caregiving

When my husband—debilitated, immunocompromised, blind, and unable to walk—was discharged after a devastating bone marrow transplant, his doctor told me he couldn’t be left alone even for a minute. I’ll never forget my terror and outrage; I spluttered out something like, “I can’t do that! I have kids! I have to…sleep!”

I didn’t realize it then, but just by saying “I can’t,” I was setting a boundary in the face of an impossible demand. I wish I’d advocated for myself so clearly in the face of other expectations that were slightly less unreasonable than solo 24/7 care. I often let the intensity of my husband’s needs pull me into managing his care and its attendant paperwork, phone calls, and logistical demands for such long hours that I reached a stressed-out, exhausted breaking point.

From that experience, I learned how important it was to set boundaries before I got burned out. Setting limits can be one of the hardest things for dedicated caregivers to do—especially for women, as many of us are socialized to give of ourselves endlessly. Saying no or taking a break from caring can prompt guilt, and it’s tough both to find respite care and to trust others with a fragile loved one.

Training a consistent respite service, however, is an investment in future breaks that will protect your mental health and make long caregiving sustainable. In the case of my husband’s 24-hour care needs, we were fortunate that we could dip into savings and hire home attendants for a short time. Many community organizations offer respite care services (now becoming more available after COVID concerns halted them), and friends and family may also pitch in, especially if you make specific requests. However you find relief, drawing clear lines about how much you can handle is a crucial step in surviving your caregiving journey—and maybe even thriving in it.

Kate Washington is the author of Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout In America (Beacon Press, 2021) and a speaker on the systemic challenges facing family caregivers. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, TIME, Eater, Catapult, and many other publications. She holds a Ph.D. in Victorian literature from Stanford University and lives in Sacramento with her husband and two daughters. Connect with her at or on Twitter @washingtonkate


If you’re in need of respite care or services to support you in your caregiving responsibilities, here are some resources that may help:

ARCH National Respite Network

Eldercare Locator

National Adult Day Services Association

National Institute on Aging


Caregiving Community

Spotlight on BJ Miller, President and Counselor at Mettle Health: “Difficult Aspects of Caregiving”

Originally published on Medium

There’s this thing where people call caregivers “angels” and such and that can be this over-hyped putting-people-on-a-pedestal thing is problematic in a lot of ways because we all need to be caregivers. Don’t immortalize someone for thinking or caring about another human being because we should all be doing that. It’s also mundane, hard work, it’s not heroism.


Checking yourself, introspection and self-awareness are a huge piece of doing this as well. Check in with your gut; are you helping or hurting this situation?


The Bodily Tasks of Caregiving

We are back to this idea that caregivers are “angels.” Well, they’re actually just human beings. You get to be grossed out, you get to not want to do it, and you also get to have help if you need it.


This is a big thing that keeps folks from really getting into caregiving, oftentimes it’s seeing someone else go through all this brings up their own fears about illness or death, so there can be a lot to process and a lot to work through.


We have to get over this idea that “normal” people are independent and invulnerable and only those poor pitiful sick people need help. We all need help, all the time and this is natural. This is normal.


But just because helping someone or needing help is natural and normal doesn’t mean it’s not also hard or disgusting sometimes. There is nothing wrong with being grossed out. The trick is to try to find a way to stay. If you can’t stay, maybe you just need to find a way to get help.


If you’re on the receiving end of caregiving, it can become a little demoralizing at some point. The times I’ve been a patient, it’s good for me when I know my friends, family, doctors, nurses, or anyone else is learning something or gaining something from my situation. So, look out for lessons learned and anything that can add enrichment to your own life to go along with the hard stuff.


You care for your person and you care for yourself and you care for the good of humans. I wish more people had this idea to just be a good neighbor.


There is an activism to caregiving. There can be some pride and a lot of importance in it too. Life can be incredibly unfair, right up until love comes in at the end in the form of caregiving. There’s a sense of justice until the end and can make sense of a life that would have otherwise been so hard.


For more from BJ, check out the video series The Mechanics of Caregiving with BJ Miller


Dr. BJ Miller is a longtime hospice & palliative medicine physician and educator who has worked in all settings of care: hospital, clinic, residential facility, and home. He has been profiled in The New York Times Magazine, and interviewed on Super Soul Sunday, The Tim Ferriss Show, On Being with Krista Tippett, and has spoken at the Aspen Ideas Festival and around the world. BJ’s latest project, Mettle Health, aims to provide personalized, holistic consultations for any patient, caregiver or clinician who need help navigating the practical, emotional and existential issues that come with serious illness and disability. He also co-authored the book, A Beginner’s Guide to the End, which was released in 2019.


Republished with permission of the copyright.