(Photo: Peter Rosenberger)
Today's vast population of caregivers is full of fathers caring for an elderly or disabled spouse, a chronically ill loved one, or a child with special needs. Peter Rosenberger, a caregiver for nearly thirty years, recently provided five Father's Day gift suggestions to those dads who daily struggle to care for a vulnerable loved one.
1. Respite Care Service
Hire a respite care organization to come in on a regular basis to sit with and care for the patient while Dad takes a break. Caregivers suffer from the "Three I's:" Loss of independence, Loss of Identity, and Isolation. Help give some of that independence back this Father's Day by contracting with a reputable service that can give him the peace of mind he desperately needs. He may use the time go to a movie, play golf, or simply go to a park and sit quietly. Regardless of how he uses it, give him the gift of free time to center himself and not worry about his spouse/loved one for a few hours a week.
2. Handy-Man Service
Give Dad extra assistance by hiring a handy-man service. If Dad's taking care of Mom – do you really want him on the roof cleaning gutters or crawling under the house? Small projects around the home quickly add up and weigh heavy on the mind of someone who is caring for a loved one while cooking, cleaning, and getting her/him to the doctor on a regular basis – particularly if they are also trying to hold down a job. Although some fathers are adept at all sorts of home repairs, caregiving dads are tired – and could use the help.
3. Lawn Service
Although many men like to mow the grass and work in the yard, sometimes trimming hedges, pruning trees, weeding and other lawn-related tasks can be wearisome. Hiring a service for several weeks (or even the rest of the year) knocks out some of the work – while sparing the back of an already tired caregiver.
4. Appliance Service
Contract with a company that provides regular inspection for major appliances and electrical/plumbing – and make sure that twenty-four hour repair service is part of the agreement. With all that Dad is caring for, what happens if the water heater or air conditioner breaks down? Many wonderful companies provide an affordable club membership that provides minor maintenance and inspections every six months as a club benefit. Heading into the summer, how about making sure Dad's air conditioner is not only functioning well – but can also be serviced quickly without breaking the bank by joining a reputable service club? When is the last time an appliance broke down at a convenient time? Appliance issues cannot be eliminated, but steps can be taken to minimize the impact on an already strained set of circumstances.
5. Accounting Service
Some fathers think they can do it all, including their taxes. Maybe they can, but preparing and filing are still a pain. Find a good CPA who can handle these things for Dad. Staying out of parents' finances are always a good thing, so leave it to the professionals. That said, contracting with a good accountant to handle your parents finances while you foot the bill is a great gift – and smart way to avoid having to clean up a mess yourself one day.
"Fathers serving as caregivers are doing so out of love and responsibility," states Rosenberger. "They're not necessarily looking to be recognized as heroes, but it is important to see them – and to let them know in a meaningful way that you appreciate their work, sacrifice, and heart." For those caregiving dads on this Father's Day, Rosenberger recommends the gift of "peace of mind," and suggests, "Don't send a shirt – send a service."