New Year, New Start: Start Creating a Caregiver Wish List

By Leilani Doty, PhD

Sometimes family and friends want to help the family caregiver of a loved one who has Alzzheimer’s disease or a related disorder but are unsure of how to ask or what to do.  The caregiver may feel awkward about making suggestions. An easy approach for caregivers to suggest ways for others to help is to say, “How about picking something from my Wish List….”

Wish List Ideas

– once a week, please phone for 5-10 minutes to see how I am doing or to chat briefly with my loved one

– take my full trash cans to the curb and return them when empty on trash-pick-up days

– pick up my mail from my mailbox or post office box and put it by my side door

– leave a cute card for my loved one by the front or side door

– bring my daily newspaper to the side door for me to pick up

– water my outdoor plants if they look wilted (I may be too busy to check)

– ask if I need something from the grocery, hardware store or drugstore before you go

– stop by the house every few days (at least once a week) for a 10-15 minute visit

– when you sweep your sidewalk or driveway, do some of mine

– when you scrub down and polish your porch furniture, do some of mine

– offer to sit and visit with my loved one for an hour or two twice a month so I may do errands or rest

– provide company for my loved one so I may attend a support group

– do a simple hobby or art project or watch a simple movie with my loved one so I may have a break

– share your extra coupons with me

– share with us a few flowers, vegetables or fruit from your garden

– tell me a funny joke, an inspiring story or some good news

– let me know a hurricane is coming and check with me about getting ready

Doing one or two favors a week lightens the caregiver’s physical load a little while the attention to the needs of the caregiver can send an immense message of thoughtfulness and support.  In addition, tasks done ease caregiver burden and reduce stress.

Leilani Doty, PhD, is the program manager at the Central and North Florida Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. She can be reached by email at, or by phone at 352-372-6266. The Alzheimer’s Association also has 24/7 Helpline 1-800-272-3900 or TTY 1-866-403-3073.


Also in this issue:

Sam Boone on the caregiver caring for themselves

Johnnie Jones III on a dementia caring community

Some new support services for 2019