The Family Caregiver Alliance says there are 65.7 million caregivers- 29% of the U.S. adult population who are involved in caring for others. In fact, nearly 15 million care for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia. Imagine, the person they care for has-in all probability-lost the ability to recognize their caregiver much less say thank you. IDEA: Over this Holiday weekend, drop off a box of cookies at a local care facility with an anonymous note that says "We know what you do and we thank you for it." IDEA: If you know someone who is caring for an aging parent, a spouse, a child-call and see if you can take their place for an hour or more. Give them a respite. IDEA: Contact your local Alzheimer's Association and just say "thank you" on behalf of so many and offer a donation of time, talent, or treasure.
Volunteers in non-profits
There is such need in this world: In one day, I got requests from First Steps (dedicated to curing club feet in children), Mercy Corps (an international disaster relief organizations, Save the Children (I do sponsor two children(, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable.) Each one is staffed by volunteers who make a difference in the lives of those they serve. While I can't give money to all, I know these people make a significant contribution. IDEA: Write a letter to at least one non-profit that you might not support financially, but whose volunteers deserve a random word of thanks. IDEA: If you donate in the Salvation Army's Red Christmas bucket, don't just throw in money. Stop and talk to the volunteer, thanking them for their work.
Our "home helpers"
My next door neighbor waters my plants and takes in the mail when I am out of town. Sure, I do the same for her but I realize, I really never adequately expressed what it means to have her as my neighbor. I bet I am not the only on who takes our neighbors for granted. Angelica cleans my house once a month. Yes, she gets a bonus in the holidays but I also realize that I need to tell her what it means to me that she cares for my home as if it were hers. She is so incredibly thorough, finds things to clean that I never saw, and always calls if there's a conflict. Money is not enough. Next week, I will TELL her as well as put it in writing. Patty lives next door to an elderly woman whom I am trying to care for. When Shirley doesn't answer her phone, Patty is kind enough to check in on her and save me a 4 miles jaunt. I realize I need to tell Patty what that extra effort on her part means to me. You see, while a simple thank-you goes a long when, it means even more if I tell someone what they did that is special, what it means to me, and THEN express gratitude. (Same thing works with giving praise to colleagues, employees AND kids!) Meister Eckhart in the 13th century wrote, "If he only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." Thank you for reading.