by Jessica Toomer
The holidays are a time for celebrating with family and friends, spending time with loved ones, and of course, gift-giving. For caregivers, the season can bring added stress, worry, and financial burden. Instead of giving a piece of jewelry or new outfit to the caregiver in your life, why not try giving them something more meaningful, instead – a helping hand as they look after their loved ones.
Here are a few easy, last-minute gift ideas sure to please any caregiver this holiday season.
Many family caregivers are so busy looking after their loved ones that they don’t have time to focus on themselves. That means things like eating healthy and enjoying a home-cooked meal can fall by the wayside. Why not take the added stress and hassle of preparing dinner off of their plate and whip up a delicious meal for the caregiver in your life? Make sure to follow any dietary restrictions they have, try to cook some of their favorites, and don’t forget to make enough for you to enjoy the meal with them.
Not having enough hours in the day is a common complaint among caregivers. When you’re stuck at home with a loved one suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s it can be a chore to get small, daily errands like picking up the dry-cleaning or changing the oil in your car. Instead of letting the caregiver worry about how to complete those tedious tasks, offer to cross everything off their to-do list on a day you have free.
Having a freshly cleaned home is a simple luxury many caregivers do without. Between medication schedules, doctor’s visits, and everything else that goes with taking care of a loved one, they may not have the bandwidth to deal with a messy living space. Lighten the load by offering to do the dirty work yourself or, if you have the funds, pay for a monthly cleaning service to keep their house spick and span all year long.
Because most caregivers are consumed with looking after their family members and loved ones, they rarely have the time to look after themselves. In fact, many caregivers actively ignore their own needs in the service of others’. Give the caregiver in your life a day filled with pampering – a massage, a facial, a needed haircut, whatever they desire – so that they can relax, recharge, and return to their family with a renewed spirit.
Maybe the caregiver you know isn’t the kind of person to spend hours in a salon or spa. That’s okay. Instead of gifting hours of pampering, just gift them a whole day’s worth of time to spend however they choose. Learn about their care routine first – when and how to give meds, feeding schedules, exercise regimens, etc. – so that you can take over their duties, freeing them up to enjoy a day off without worry or feelings of guilt.
After the holidays, the extra help caregivers may receive from friends and family may end, leaving the caregivers to get back to their usual routines without regular help. If it’s something you can afford, think about giving a gift that helps year-round, like a subscription service. It could be something as simple and relatively inexpensive as a Netflix account that provides entertainment when the caregiver has a moment to themselves or something bigger, like a cleaning service, a meal delivery subscription, a gym membership – whatever they might need to ease the weight off their shoulders as they focus on caring for their loved ones.
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