By Anna Hazard
One of the best gifts that can be given to a caregiver is the gift of time. As the responsibilities for caring for a loved one is a round-the-clock 24 hour/7 days a week/365 days a year job, any breaks or time away can be considered a mini-vacation of sorts. These small breaks are vital for maintaining a caregiver's own well-being & stress levels as well as helping to prevent burn out or compassion fatigue.
This particular present can take the form of a custom gift card that pledges that the giftee will take over caregiving responsibilities for a set amount of time (a couple hours, a day, a few hours per week) which will allow the normal caregiver time to leave the house. If helping out the caregiver in person is impossible or not recommended (ie due to travel distances, lack of ability to do caregiving tasks) than a gift card or pledge to pay for proffessional in-home or respite care can be given instead.
Spa Trip (Spa & Self Care Items)
As a caregiver's own comfort & grooming tends to take a backseat to the needs of their patients, a gift that can both refresh, pamper an individual, and act as a form of stress relief is often quite popular.
On the more expensive end, this can take on the form of a trip to a spa or have smaller & less costly trips to have a manicure/pedicure, professional hair styling, or massage. These trips would also have the added benefit of being a mini-vacation away from the house and the caregiver's normal responsibilities.
If a trip outside isn't impossible then items that can be used in-home can be substituted instead. These would include scrubs, oils, and other bath essentials, various forms of portable massages, as well as other spa related gift baskets.
Normal household duties can become more burdensome or even neglected altogether when added to the responsibilities of caring for someone. In these cases, a gift card or pledge to provide cleaning services of various types can be one of the more pragmatic and well-favored presents.
This type of cleaning gift could take on the form of a card where you pledge to clean up things yourself (either for so many hours or until the item in question had been finished completed straightened up) or it could take on the form of a gift card to pay for professional cleaning services.
Besides cleaning the house itself (dusting, vacuuming, laundry, sorting of items), other household duties that could also require assistance include mowing the lawn, maintaining the pool or a garden, raking of leaves (in the fall), and shoveling snow (in the winter
For someone constantly in charge of feeding another (and whose own nutrition and feeding habits may be taking a hit in recompense), having their own special meal taken care of can be a greatly appreciated gift.
This can take the part of the gift giver coming over to prepare a home cooked meal (in which case the senior loved one or person being cared for can also be included in the gift) or by taking the caregiver out to a restaurant which would also function as a bit of a mini-vacation.
If neither of the above options are feasible, than a fancier than normal take-out delivery can be done instead or presenting gift certificates to the caregiver's favorite restaurants which could then be used at their own convenience.
Caregiving Gift Baskets
These baskets are a compendium of small gifts that are meant to help a caregiver complete their tasks, decompress from stress, feel appreciated, or otherwise help maintain their own often neglected needs.
Pre-made caregiving baskets can be bought at such places as Healing Baskets, Cancer Gifts, Just Don't Send Flowers or the gift giver can customize their own basket based on the caregiver's individual tastes using the pre-made baskets as a template for further ideas. Popular gift basket additions include spa items, stress relief toys & essential oils, healthy snacks, books & uplifting quotes on caregiving, and other caregiving inspired items such as tailored mugs.
Another gift that keeps on giving throughout a caregiver's potentially harried year are monthly gift subscriptions which can give the gift recipient something to continually look forward to long past the original holiday. These could be to magazines, digital or printed books, music in the form of MP3s or CDs, food-of-the-month, mystery boxes, or other subscriptions based on a caregiver's individual hobbies, interests or needs.
Caregiving specific subscriptions are also available such as to Today's Caregiver magazine, Caregiver's Home Companion magazine, and the Lifeview Caregiving & Alzheimer's DVD series
News updates, tips, and guides on senior care, senior health, stress relief and a host of other caregiving related topics from the professionals at Ella Stewart Care.