How To Say "Thank You” To The Caregiver In Your Family

Laura Herman

You’re so grateful for the family caregiver who goes above and beyond to care for your loved one. You would do it yourself if you could, but you can’t. 

Maybe you live too far away or you’re tied down by your job, kids, or other obligations. Perhaps you don’t have the patience or skills you would need to be your loved one’s primary caregiver yourself.

You want to express your appreciation to your loved one’s family caregiver, but how in the world can you put into words the enormity of your gratitude for what they do day in and day out?

Let’s review five ways to thank the family caregiver in your life.

1. Start by saying "Thank You"

Words may not be able to convey the entirety of your message, but they’re a good place to start. 

A kind word and heartfelt “thank you” can go a long way toward helping a caregiver feel appreciated and valued in what can sometimes feel like a thankless role. 

Express your gratefulness aloud or capture your feelings with a handwritten thank you card.

2. Dig deep to find the right words

It can be hard to find the right words when writing a thank-you message. However, don’t shy away from saying things that may be difficult to express.

Use your own words so they ring true – you don’t want them to sound like they came from a generic greeting card – but you can use these for inspiration:

  • “Thank you so much for all you do to take care of Dad day after day. It’s incredible to know he gets great care from a great caregiver in our own family!”

    • “I’m in awe of what you do for our family. Your hard work and your compassion are an inspiration to me.“

    • “May God bless you with the kindness and beauty you share as you help others. You’re one of the most selfless people I know.“

    • “Sending you so much love from the bottom of my heart.“

You can also find caregiver appreciation quotes online that may help convey your thoughts better than you could do on your own. For example:

  • “Kindness can transform someone’s dark moment with a blaze of light. You’ll never know how much your caring matters.”
    — Amy Leigh Mercree

  • The hardest times to choose love are the very times when you can grow most spiritually. In fact, they are the only times you can grow spiritually!
    — Gary Zukav

3. Get creative with a thoughtful Thank-You gift

The amount of time and physical and emotional energy caregivers devote to their responsibilities can threaten their well-being. They may sacrifice sleep, socialization, relaxation, routine medical care, and other needs in order to show up for their loved ones day after day.

A thoughtful caregiver thank-you gift will take into account not only what they like and need, but also their ability to use it.

For example, a gift card to a spa or massage is a nice idea, but if they can’t break away from their caregiving duties (or would be too worried to relax during their time away) the gift might fall flat. 

Consider pairing a pamper-yourself gift with an opportunity for a real day off by arranging for someone to stay with your loved one.

A themed gift basket can be a great way to say thank you to a family caregiver for taking care of your loved one. Some gift basket examples include:

  • A Pamper-yourself basket - a basket full of bath bombs, yummy-smelling lotion, and cozy socks.

    • A Tough-day survival pack - a lavender-rice heating pad, a bar of chocolate, and a few heartfelt appreciation messages to sift through.

    • A Coffee caddy - a special mug, a variety of coffee and creamer options, a few biscotti, and chocolate-covered espresso beans. (Maybe they’d also enjoy a fancy espresso machine as well to keep them fueled up for all they do!

Another option is to arrange a caregiver ‘getaway at home’ day which could include:

  • A special meal delivered from a favorite restaurant and a digital copy of a heartfelt movie

    • A basket full of bath soap or salts and essential oils for some much-needed relaxation

    • A traveling masseuse who will visit their home for an hour of massage

Consider sending food, being mindful, of course, of allergies, preferences, and any dietary restrictions. If possible, recurring food deliveries can help show your support over the longer term.

  • Cook-at-home meal kits, like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh can ease shopping and meal preparation pressure for those who enjoy cooking but are short on time.

    • Senior-friendly heat-and-eat meal delivery services, like Magic Kitchen or Silver Cuisine, send convenient pre-cooked meals with options that accommodate common dietary restrictions such as vegetarian, low sodium, low carb, dairy-free, and more.

    • Homemade make-ahead meals can be an option if you live locally and have an afternoon each week to devote to preparing casseroles, pots of soup, or other healthy meals to share.

    • Grocery delivery can help take the pressure off your family caregiver by keeping them out of the grocery store and preserving their time, energy, and money for other uses.


4. Offer financial support

It’s surprisingly expensive to care for a family member. The Committee on Family Caregiving for Older Adults found that, on average, family caregivers spend over $5,000 each year on caregiving expenses.

Furthermore, caregivers aged 50 and up who stop working to care for a parent lose out on over $300,000 in lost wages and benefits.

Supporting your loved one and their family caregiver financially can profoundly impact their daily situation. There are many ways to do this, such as:

Pay for routine respite care

Home care agencies can become expensive as the hours mount, and many family caregivers either definitely can’t afford it, or feel that they shouldn’t spend that money when they don’t “have” to.

However, one four-hour block per week can make a huge difference to a family caregiver’s life – more than they may realize.

As they come to count on having a particular morning or afternoon off they’ll be able to more easily schedule self-care appointments or activities that benefit their mental and physical health, like time in nature or out of the house with a friend.

Keep in mind that home care aides can usually help with laundry, light housekeeping, and errands in addition to direct client care. Having them tackle a few things from the to-do list while they’re there can be doubly beneficial. Learn more about respite care and its costs here.

Hire a long-term care planner

A long-term care planner such as an eldercare resource planner can help your loved one and their family caregiver find funding and budget for current and future care needs, including in-home and respite care.

Having this type of support and plan in place can alleviate an enormous amount of stress and tension and enable much more opportunity than many caregivers realize.

Sponsor a caregiver consultant or geriatric care manager

Meeting regularly with a professional who can help guide them through the frustration and confusion of the healthcare system or stand with them during difficult times can make an enormous difference in their caregiving journey. 

A caregiver consultant or geriatric care manager can help minimize stress and avoid all kinds of problems where possible. Learn how geriatric care managers can help family caregivers here.


5. Check in frequently & find ways to help

Family caregivers often feel isolated as they struggle to meet all of their responsibilities.

Checking in regularly can convey how much their effort means to you and help them feel more supported. It also helps you have a better understanding of their daily duties and your loved one’s needs. 

Ask if there’s a particular time or day of the week that works best for their schedule, and then put it on the calendar so it becomes part of the routine.

  • Take the time to talk to your loved one regularly if that helps. A regular phone call to look forward to can help your loved one feel better in many ways and help their caregiver feel more supported.

    • When you talk to your family members, offer supportive listening and emotional support. Ask about their day and offer a safe space to vent and process their emotions when needed. Don’t try to get them to “see the bright side” or offer advice unless they ask.

    • Encourage your family caregiver to use a caregiving coordination platform such as Caring Bridge or Lotsa Helping Hands. Familiarize yourself with the ways and reasons every caregiver should use a care coordination site.

    • Learn about what your family caregiver does on a day-to-day basis so you can offer specific help and be persistent.

      • Many caregivers dismiss their own needs, don't feel uncomfortable accepting help, or simply can’t think of what to ask for because they’re so mired in the day-to-day that they can’t imagine another way.

      • You will be supporting them more than you realize by taking the initiative to make suggestions instead of saying “let me know if you need anything”.

Examples of ways you might help include:

  • Offer to do the footwork to find caregiver support programs or resources.

    • Help out with the kids, errands, or household chores regularly.

    • Put together a memory book or family album for your senior loved one to enjoy. Use captions to identify people and places in the photos.

    • Spearhead fundraising efforts if finances are an issue. Consider setting up a Go Fund Me account, yard sale, or charity event to raise money for your loved one’s respite care or other important goals.

Family Members Can Thank, Honor, and Support the Family Caregiver in Their Life

Caregiving can be strenuous and exhausting, yet a simple word and supportive act can go a long way in helping a caregiver feel connected and supported through difficult times. 

Don’t assume they know how much their effort means to you – tell them and show them repeatedly in thoughtful ways.

Even if you can’t help with caregiving duties directly, there is much you can do to help support your loved one and their family caregiver – and the difference it makes in their journey is more than you’ll ever know!