Caregivers need Sparks of Kindness, too

Sparks of Kindness materials from Facebook

COLORFUL FREE MATERIALS are provided by the Sparks of Kindness Facebook group. Click this image to visit the group.


Sparks of Kindness are deliberate acts of generosity that makes life better for someone else—and that is so important in relationships involving caregivers.

There are 65 million men and women acting as caregivers nationwide, according to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services division called the Administration for Community Living (ACL) that encourages support for caregivers. It’s not an exaggeration to say: The well-being of caregivers is vital to the well-being of America.

ACL puts it this way: “Family caregivers juggle multiple commitments, including jobs and relationships with other family members, while at the same time going to extraordinary lengths to provide care to a family member or loved one. We know caregivers often sacrifice their own physical, financial, and emotional well-being.”

One source of ideas for giving caregivers a boost is Sparks of Kindness. As the creator of the OurValues project, I devoted an entire week to reporting on this idea. Sparks of Kindness is a social movement and Facebook group with lots of practical resources. In OurValues columns, I talked with readers about the wisdom of small experiments and big experiments, along with the paradox of generosity.

Today, in this WeAreCaregivers column, I want to expand on that series by telling you about the many ideas you’ll find at the Sparks of Kindness Facebook group. For caregivers, I have slightly adapted these tips from their long lists of ideas. You’ll quickly catch the idea and can generate your own Sparks.

Do any of these ideas … spark your interest this week?

  • Do your caregivers have a pet? Bring them a dog or cat treat they can share with their furry loved one.
  • Ask a child’s class to make drawings to thank caregivers.
  • Write an actual thank you letter. When is the last time you took out stationery or a nice card and wrote such a note?
  • Give flowers.
  • Take a caregiver to lunch—or take a tasty treat or lunch to a caregiver.
  • Bring a little care package the caregiver can use at any time. Perhaps include a popcorn packet they can microwave during a break in their day—or a packet of instant hot cocoa in winter months.
  • Get a fancy, new pen for a caregiver, since caregivers often need to jot things down all day long.
  • How about thank-you balloons?
  • Or, try this: Leave criticisms home for the day and give a caregiver a day of only pleasant conversation.

That last Spark is included on all of the Sparks of Kindness idea lists and that’s especially kind if your caregiver relationship is often characterized by problems, complaints and somber news.

Got a spark in mind?

Please, tell a friend about