Caregivers Week a Hit at The Inn

people in the kitchen

During Caregivers Week, The Children’s Inn at NIH took time to shine the spotlight on the parents, guardians, and companions who sacrifice so much of themselves to ensure their young loved ones can pursue their best hopes for cures at the National Institutes of Health. The Inn put on a series of programs and events with these caregivers in mind, finding ways to thank and recognize caregivers contributions to their loved ones’ health, and the advancement of medical science.

“Caregivers Week is a way to let them know that everything they do for their loved one doesn’t go unnoticed,” said Kalli Mays, The Inn’s Family Program Coordinator for Health and Wellbeing. “We really appreciate what [caregivers] are doing, and we wanted to make this week extra special for them because so many of the activities that we normally do are for kids. The caregivers’ wellbeing matters just as much so they can help their loved ones go through what they are going through.”

The festivities began with presentations of gift baskets to each of the caregivers at The Inn last week. Among other things, the baskets included gift cards, which they could use during  a shopping outing .

Throughout the week, volunteers came to The Inn to provide services for the caregivers. There were complimentary haircuts, manicures, and massages made available by volunteers. The Inn’s programming team also hosted a soap-making class. Caregivers could also take part in trips off-site, to TJ Maxx and an international market later in the week. Perhaps the highlight of the week came on Tuesday when volunteers Erika and Masood teamed up with Barcelona Wine Bar to provide a sumptuous dinner for the caregivers in The Inn’s kitchen.

Women getting manicures

Caregivers enjoy manicures in The Inn’s bistro

During the activities at The Inn, the programming team also organized activities to engage children and teens while their caregivers were celebrated. The kids also decorated desserts for Tuesday night’s dinner.

The caregivers themselves were appreciative of the activities designed with them in mind. Though it is their younger family members who are dealing with rare and serious medical issues, the caregivers often carry the full weight of life-altering decisions with unimaginable consequences, often thousands of miles from home. The opportunity to enjoy some time set aside solely for themselves was welcomed and beneficial to their mental health and physical well-being.

Caregivers Week is an annual tradition at The Inn, taking place each November in conjunction with the Thanksgiving holiday.  Monthly Caregiver Nights continue to help the adults create a sense of community and momentarily relieve their burdens. Any volunteers interested in making in-kind donations of their time and services for the caregivers staying at The Inn are encouraged to reach out to Senior Volunteer Engagement Manager Meghan Smith at [email protected] to arrange details.