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Showing appreciation to support staff

At times like this when we entrust the care of our loved ones to others, we can run out of ideas of how to say thank you.

We discover through trial and error that some people respond to words of thanks and other respond to gifts but there are other things too. 

Here are some ideas based on the 5 languages of Appreciation in the workplace by Chapman and White. These may be things we can do directly or maybe we and the team manager can plan and/or do together.

Words of appreciation - if we want to appreciate a carer through the spoken or written word, we need think about what we want to say to them in particular. A general thank you does not usually hit the spot. We need to be clear what we are thanking them for - what are they especially gifted at; cooking good food for our loved one? doing their hair? knowing where they like to walk/visit? Do we think the person we want to thank would prefer to be thanked in private or public? verbally or with a written card?

Quality time - some people value our time  more than anything. Our undivided attention to listen to them talk. Not to solve their problems but to really really listen. If we are very busy and our time is really precious then the gift of our time is even more meaningful. Quality time includes shared experiences . If we were a team at work we might have lunch together or go out together.  

Acts of service  - some people get lonely in their work or get stressed by certain tasks such as sorting out a computer, making some phone calls or coming up with new ideas for activities.  If we can somehow do the task together with them then they know we value the task and we value them. 

Gifts. Some people, but not everyone, like to receive gifts. It is not usually the value of the gift that counts but the thought. Giving everyone the same gift is fine as far as it goes but it might not be as well received as a book for one person, a scarf for another, a gift token for another or the gift of a couple of hours off in the middle of the day to do some shopping.

Physical touch - in Covid times this has become very challenging , but in other times a warm handshake, or high five can for some be felt as real affirmation of appreciation. 

This list is not exhaustive but hopefully these five languages have inspired us to think of different ways we and our family can show appreciation to those who are caring for our loved ones.  

Written by: Isabelle Iny