People who care for the elderly or disabled have a very difficult job. It’s physically and mentally demanding work that takes a heavy toll on one’s emotional well-being. And it can be a thankless role.
There’s usually so much focus on the care-recipient’s condition that little thought is given to the individual who monitors that condition day after day. The holidays are a perfect time to reverse that trend and show the caregiver in your family, or the one who stays with a loved one, how much they’re appreciated. There are lots of gift-giving options, things you can buy and wrap or offer to do to help ease their burden.
The gift of volunteering
Caregivers spend hours on end seeing to every need, without having the time to care for their own needs. They need time off to run errands or for some needed rest and recreation. One of the most meaningful holiday gifts you can give is some time off. Offer to fill in on a weekly basis to give your family’s caregiver a regular break each day, or maybe a full day off now and then. That’ll give them a chance to spend time recovering from the stress of being on duty every day. If you can’t be there in person to help, think about giving a gift card for temporary in-home or respite care.
A little pampering
Caregivers need some outlet for their stress, and there are few better ways to work off built-up tension than a massage and a visit to the spa. If you’re not familiar with spas or don’t know where to find one in your community, there are a number of online tools that can help you. Don’t forget that someone will need to stand in while your caregiver enjoys a day of well-deserved self-indulgence.
A relaxing dinner at your caregiver’s favorite restaurant is a great way to combine a little down time with an enjoyable meal. Consider giving a gift card or enough money so that he or she can take a guest (or yourself) along. You can add to the meaning of your gift by offering to watch the care-recipient for the evening.
If your caregiver is a religious individual, a devotional gift can be a tremendous source of comfort, especially at stressful times or when he or she’s feeling a little blue. The Bible, Torah or other religious book is a thoughtful gift for a special person who gives so selflessly. A religious symbol is another good way to express your appreciation during the holidays. A cross, saint’s medal, menorah, or homemade Kwanzaa gift is an intimate way of expressing your appreciation.
Is your caregiver a pet owner? If so, the holidays are a good time to help your caregiver some needed attention to their dog or cat. Paying for a year’s worth of dog-walking services can be beneficial to both owner and pooch, since caring for an elderly person probably doesn’t allow for a lot of pet-and-owner time. Consider adding a bright and colorful leash to your gift. These days it’s easy to find a dog-walking service in your area via the Internet. Most of them make it easy by allowing you to book an appointment and pay online, and some provide text updates with details about each walking session.
There are a number of ways to show your caregiver how much you appreciate all they do for your loved one. The best gift is one that helps ease their burden and makes their job just a little easier. Use your heart and your creativity to give them something with deep personal meaning.