By Harry Cline
If you know someone who is a caregiver for a family member or as their full-time job, more than likely, they give a lot of themselves to those they care for. They are probably expected on call 24 hours a day and have to make many tough decisions all the time. It’s one of the most stressful jobs a person can have, and there’s often no pay. However, many caregivers do it out of love and the goodness of their heart, which makes them extra-special and deserving of some self-care.
This holiday season, show the caregiver in your life how much you appreciate them. Just acknowledging her hard work will warm her heart and get her through another day. If you’re struggling with finding the right gift for that exceptional caregiver, here are some ideas.
Every caregiver is exhausted. Even if they don’t have a lot of physical work (some do, some don’t), they are always on high alert, which is very emotionally taxing. Caregivers are at risk for many stress-related illnesses because they usually have less time for themselves. So this year, give the gift of relaxation. A gift card to a spa, a nail salon, or a massage therapist will provide them with the chance to unwind. But don’t forget to make it possible for them to go. If she can’t leave her family or individual, they offer to take over for a little while.
Having time aside for personal needs and responsibilities is often challenging for any caregiver. Helping them manage her basic needs, like their own doctor’s appointments or grocery shopping, will be highly appreciated. Also, taking over their duties for a couple of hours can ease their mind and body. Offer to do this regularly so that they can get some much-needed respite.
If the caregiver in your life hasn’t been getting enough exercise, you could gift them a membership to a local fitness facility near where they live. Staying in shape can energize them and keep them mentally and emotionally healthy as well. They may even be able to exercise with their seniors if they enroll them in the SilverSneakers program, which gives seniors access to many fitness facilities around the country.
Pay to have a cleaning service come to the caregiver’s house or offer to do it yourself. Helping them manage household things will go a long way toward relieving the pressure they are dealing with. On any given day, a caregiver will have a running to-do list in her head. Take some of those things off their list.
If the caregiver in your life has a pet, they likely don’t have much time to spend with it these days. Give a gift card for dog walking for a year. They will feel better knowing their dog is well cared for while they are busy working or taking care of a loved one, and the tired pup will be much less likely to cause trouble around the house. Toys that stimulate the dog’s mind will also help keep them out of trouble.
These days, you can have almost anything delivered. Some services will pick up carryout from nearly every restaurant and deliver it right to your house. Give a gift card for one of those services so they can order dinner on nights they don’t have the energy to cook and clean up afterward. If you want to cook something, make something that would be easy to freeze, like a casserole or lasagna. That way, they can pop it in the oven whenever she wants an easy, home-cooked meal.
Caregivers can often feel very isolated. Only they know what they’re going through, and it can be challenging to have time to connect with other people. So spend time with the caregiver in your life. If they can, take them out to coffee or for dinner and listen to them. If they can’t get away, bring over takeout and a bottle of wine and sit, talk, and share some good laughs.
Sometimes, a caregiver needs to not think or talk about her stresses but have a good laugh. The gift of time and emotional support is the most crucial way to show your love. Whatever you decide to give the caregiver in your life this year is likely to warm their heart and let them know just how cherished they are.
Photo by Anthony Tran at Unsplash