Most of us have at least one or two caregivers in our lives. As the holidays arrive and gift lists are being made, we often come at a loss when we need to think of an appropriate gift for caregivers.
Have no fear, Caregiver Warrior is here! I want to share 4 spectacular ideas that will thrill your special caregiver. None are expensive but they are priceless. I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of all of these gifts, and I will forever be grateful.
Offer a few hours of your time. Relieve the caregiver so they can get out for an hour or so. Usually, this involves simply hanging out with those they care for. My parents rarely needed anything critical or medical, they just relished company.
Believe me, the caregiver will arrange everything around the few hours you give them so your involvement will require little effort. If you really want to knock the socks off the caregiver you can always add gift certificates to a nail salon, a barbershop, a spa, Starbucks, or even the movie theater.
Regardless, that caregiver will find something to do in those few hours even if it’s sitting on a bench somewhere staring at the sky or taking a luxurious nap in the next room.
Just like an athlete with fresh legs and stamina who goes in as a sub during a game, you can take the ball from your caregiver.
Things like offering to do the food shopping, driving someone to an appointment, doing laundry, picking up the dry cleaning, or cooking a meal for everyone are all excellent ways to relieve that exhausted caregiver.
Making yourself available for any errands or appointments is absolutely invaluable. These simple tasks can become overwhelming for someone who is already exhausted, and the relief you offer is a gift you can’t even begin to understand.
If the caregiver has reached out and needs to talk, for Pete’s sake, listen without comment, judgment, giving advice, or trying to fix anything. All they really want is validation and support. Saying “I’m sorry,” or “Wow, that must be so tough” are a great place to begin.
If they ask for feedback, by all means, give it, but don’t push your advice on them. If they aren’t reaching out, encourage them to share by asking them how it’s going or how they are doing.
Then really, really listen. We all want to be heard and usually, caregivers just need to get their feelings out in the open. Having a trusted, caring person in their lives who will simply listen is like oxygen.
We should show open, demonstrative appreciation of the caregiver all year round and be extra appreciative during this time of the year. Cards, calls, thank yous, and compliments should rain on them.
Also, be mindful of how you approach their caregiving techniques. If they are the sibling or person who shoulders most of the responsibility and you only see them during the Holidays, be extremely careful not to barge in or take charge without asking the caregiver’s permission or inquiring if they need help.
Barging in and taking over is never appropriate and makes it seem like you are disagreeing with or judging established routines and decisions. The last thing they need during this intense and stressful time is someone who shows up occasionally and tries to change the program.
If you come to realize that’s exactly what you’ve been doing, in addition to disagreeing with the way your loved ones are being cared for, ask yourself whether this might stem from feeling guilty for not showing up more often. You might simply be trying to overcompensate.
If, indeed, there are issues that need to be addressed, do so in a loving, supportive way after letting the caregiver know how amazing they are and how grateful you are. Caregiving can be a lonely and thankless job.
Instead, seek to find out if the caregiver needs more help in the future after taking the time to truly make them know how appreciated they are here and now.
Tread lightly when walking around angels, you might hurt their wings. Send them love and gratitude and have a sincere desire to lighten their load even if it’s with a joke, a smile, or a hug.
I’m sure these thoughtful gifts will be met with open arms and smiles. They may seem simple or self-explanatory but you would be surprised how powerful and welcome they will be.
I wish all the Caregiver Warriors and their loved ones the happiest and healthiest of Holidays and the most abundant of New Years! Much love!
What special gift are you going to give to the caregiver in your life? Have you found yourself trying to overcompensate for not being around? How often do you catch yourself judging or providing advice that hasn’t been asked for? Please join the conversation and share your stories!