On Enhancing Caregiver Well-being and Effectiveness

In caregiving, people take on the important job of looking after others. This role comes with its own challenges, requiring caregivers to be kind, skilled, and strong. Sue Ryan, a seasoned executive coach, author, and caregiving advocate, shares her expertise on effective strategies for supporting caregivers in their vital role. Her insights shed light on the challenges faced by caregivers and offer actionable solutions to enhance their well-being and effectiveness.

Q. What are some effective strategies for supporting caregivers in their role?

Don’t ask them how they’re doing. Ask them very specific questions about how they’re doing.

Don’t say: “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”

Do reach out periodically with offers for support. Whenever possible, have them relate to blocks of time, specific types of support, and things they may not be doing to care for themselves. “I’m going to the grocery store tomorrow. Please make a list of items I can pick up for you.”

“I’m heading out to run errands at (list different stores) this afternoon; what can I get you?”

“I’d like to stop by and share an hour of time with (care receiver name) in the next couple of days; what time works best for you?”

“When are you getting your hair done next? May I share time with (care receiver) while you go?”

Q. What strategies do you recommend for agencies to ensure that their caregiver training initiatives incorporate best practices?

If this is for professional caregivers, one strategy is to have them be trained on how to have conversations with the family member who is the family caregiver, so they become a team in the care of the care receiver. In addition, it’s valuable for the agency to proactively explain this as an important part of what they do as an agency. Create a checklist of questions to ask each time. Hence, the family caregiver and the agency caregiver are updated with needs, changes, concerns, discoveries, moods, and anything else that helps teamwork develop.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”

– Sue Ryan

Q. How can agencies enhance caregiver retention by providing ongoing education and professional development opportunities?

Survey them to learn the areas they are least qualified in, most stressed by, and most passionate about, and provide resources to support their growth and development in each area. Ask them what their triggers are for stress, anger, frustration, so they become aware. Work with them to learn solutions they can use to shift perspective, have resources when they begin to feel this way, and have someone they can talk openly with for support.

Q. What are the main challenges faced by caregivers, and how can they be addressed?

There are many answers to this. They are as vast and varied as people with diagnoses and what these are. One is they don’t know what they don’t know and are constantly trying to learn what to do. Simplifying how they find solutions is helpful.

Caregivers are continuously overwhelmed with the blend of responsibilities and emotions. Sources of respite care and listing a variety of types of solutions to support simplifying responsibilities are very helpful.

Finding qualified, reliable, stable, and financially feasible outside support is challenging. There are various dynamics, and it’s difficult to combine the various needs, especially when everything else is being navigated. Simplifying this is vital because this need is growing exponentially – globally.

Wrapping Up

Sue Ryan’s insights offered a roadmap for empowering caregivers and addressing their diverse challenges. By implementing these practical strategies and promoting a culture of support, agencies and communities can uplift caregivers and ensure the well-being of both caregivers and care receivers. Overall, this Expert Q&A was refreshing. As much as we enjoyed reading it, we hope you will find it insightful as well.


Get to Know the Expert Better


Sue Ryan

Sue Ryan is a dynamic speaker, change strategist, and executive coach on a mission to empower individuals to navigate change confidently. With over 30 years of corporate experience in software sales across diverse industries, Sue ensures organizational readiness for success. Her four-decade journey in family caregiving has honed her insights, which she now shares to empower others. Sue is a TEDx and DisruptHR speaker, author of international best-selling books, and creator of award-winning online courses.

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