Nov. 23, 2022
Sometimes the caregivers we rely on to go above and beyond for our loved ones become such a part of our daily lives that we forget to tell them how much they mean to us and our loved one. Thanksgiving is a great time of year to express appreciation for the amazing job that they do. Agencies, families, and individuals with disabilities are all grateful for the sacrifices made by direct support professionals. The holidays present a unique time to express that gratitude. It does not matter if this expression is verbal, written or through small tokens of appreciation. Most caregivers get into this profession because they want to help, but we all know how caregiving can take its toll. They need to be reminded that what they do does make a difference in the life of the individuals they serve. As the caregiving industry experiences staffing shortages, it is more important than ever to maintain current staff by reminding them of the importance of their work. Agencies have the opportunity to offer positive reinforcement programs, evaluations, and gatherings to remind staff of their value. But families and individuals can make sure that staff know what their efforts mean as well with positive comments, thank you notes or other tokens of gratitude. The most meaningful “thank you” comes from the individuals with disabilities themselves. Encouraging individuals to express their gratitude is good for staff, but it is also good for the individual. Expressing gratitude helps to remind us of what we have, makes us feel optimistic and develops our compassion and selflessness. All positive self-esteem and mindfulness programs will encourage expressions of gratitude. If you are not sure how to show your appreciation, the internet has thousands of ideas. Saying “thank you” does not have to be expensive to be meaningful. Never underestimate the value of a kind word or a smile, both of which are free.