Caring for others is part of what makes the holidays so special. So it only makes sense at this special time of year to recognize those who care for society’s most vulnerable members. With that in mind, here’s a look at some great gift ideas for caregivers. Each can make the season a bit more merry for some very special people.
Let’s start with some tried-and-tested ideas. All of them have seen their share of use over the years. But that’s only because they work so well.
- Hand-crafted items. Mittens, scarves, sweaters – they can all take some of the sting out of winter’s chill. You can find them at most retailers or make them yourself if you have the time and talent.
- Food. Why not honor the caregivers in your life with a few special snacks? Just make sure you take any special nutritional needs or preferences into account. You’ll find plenty of sugar-free, gluten-free, and vegan dessert recipes online. Or you can throw caloric caution to the wind with some old school choices, which have all the flavor and everything else that goes with it. We leave the choice up to you.
- Plaques or letters of recognition. All of us need a pat on the back every now and then. Yet, more often than not, we fail to get the appreciation we deserve. Plus, let’s be honest: sometimes we don’t appreciate those around us as much as we should. The reasons for this dearth of praise are many. According to Psychology Today, they can include childhood trauma or the misplaced fear that the accolades will go to the recipient’s head. Whatever the problem’s cause, the solution is the same. Shine a spotlight on those who go the extra mile and watch their faces light up with well-deserved joy.
The Gift of Service
Like many of us, caregivers are usually short on time and more than a little tired. So why not give them a helping hand? Here are some examples of what we mean:
- There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love cleaning their homes and the rest of us. To tell the truth, we’re not sure the first kind even exist. If they do, then we’ve yet to meet them. In any event, a certificate for a housecleaning service will lighten the load of anyone on your gift list. Costs range from $89-$168 for a typical interior house cleaning that lasts about four hours or so, according to HomeAdvisor.
- Facial/massage/spa visits. Sometimes all it takes to turn a frown upside down is a little pampering. Check with facilities in the caregiver’s area for packages and prices.
- Restaurant gift cards. Cooking ranks almost as low as housekeeping when it comes to most people’s idea of fun (TV chefs are the exception, of course). So why not lessen the burden of your favorite caregiver with a great meal? Check online menus for prices and policies.
- Autogeek informs us that some people love to detail-clean their vehicles. If your caregiver is among those intrepid souls, then putting together a suds bucket filled with her favorite car care products is a gift that’s sure to please. If not, then a gift certificate to your local full-service car wash can do just as well.
An Idea That Never Fails
We’ll leave you with a suggestion from the good folks at AARP. Give your caregiver an understanding ear when she needs to talk. Sound simple, but it’s far from easy sometimes. After all, caregivers see things the rest of us do our best to avoid. That kind of stress can wear anyone down. So let her unburden herself to you from time to time; and, when she does, don’t just hear what she’s saying. Listen. That’s a great idea, not only during the holidays, but all year round. Season’s greetings and best wishes for a happy 2018.
Guest Contributor: Beverly Nelson is the creator of Stand Up For Caregivers, which aims to help protect and advocate for the health and well-being of adult caregivers.