While waiting for my son to pick me up after my doctor visit yesterday, I saw two women pushing an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair. As one wheeled him out of the elevator, the other screamed at her, “Wait! Wait! For God’s sakes. He dropped his slipper. Hold on!” The other yelled back, “I was just trying to get him out of the (expletive-deleted) elevator! Gimme a break!” They went back and forth for a while, until one finally said, “I’ll go get the car,” and I thought That poor man. He’s being cared for by these two. I hope they do right by him. I can only imagine how things are at home.

But I also thought, those poor women. They’re in that sandwich generation, so they’re caring for an elderly relative and taking care of their own families as well. Tempers are going to flare. I wonder: Who takes care of the caretakers?

It’s not just people tending to sick relatives or sons picking up mothers who can’t drive anymore. It’s the cashier you chit-chat with as you pick up your morning coffee. The mailman who notices the lawn hasn’t been mowed for a while and checks in.

The people who take care of you could use a nod or a kind word. Chances are they’re also taking care of others at home, too. When you offer some encouragement, you’re taking care of them right back.