With the holidays quickly approaching, I have been asked by clients and family members alike what the best gifts for caregivers are this season. After some reflection about all the things caregivers do for the people they are taking care of, I made a few adjustments to my answer.
There is no amount of money that will ever fully recognize the amount of stress, love, and care that any family or professional caregiver goes through each and every day. However, here are a few ideas that may help the caregivers in your life feel recognized, appreciated and pampered.
I think of these caregivers as the folks who work for in-home care, home health, and hospice companies. They may also be private caregivers who work for themselves or through a caregiver referral agency. If they work for a private company, do check on company policies for gift-giving.
- Massage, Manicure, and/or Pedicure gift certificates
- Gift certificate to a nice restaurant
- Movie tickets
- Anything to help facilitate relaxation and pampering
Did you know that 4 in 10 U.S. adults cares for a sick or elderly loved one? That's a whole lot of care being provided without any paycheck at all. Family caregivers often feel overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and pulled in many different directions by work and family obligations.
- Offer to go shopping
- Cook a meal
- Clean the house
- Lunch or dinner delivery
- Let them know how much you appreciate everything they are doing!
- Respite- can you help them have a day/night off?
Facility caregivers are anyone who works in a nursing facility, long term care facility, assisted living, memory care, retirement community, adult care home or any other residential setting for seniors. These caregivers are definitely underpaid for the amazing work they do. Often, the companies they work for also have very strict gift-giving policies in place that can make it difficult to express gratitude. As with private caregivers, check the company policies on gift-giving first.
- Letter of recognition- This is one of the most personal gifts I can think of for a facility caregiver. A letter touting their amazing skills with your loved one, the care and compassion they bring to work everyday, or they way that they bring a smile to the resident's faces that they care for will go a long ways in showing your appreciation. This letter could be given to an administrator as well to be put in the caregiver's employee file.
- Donation to the facility or organization the caregiver works for- Many care facilities will have an “employee bonus” fund that is split amongst the employees or direct care staff.
- Donate on behalf of the caregiver- If there is no bonus fund to contribute to and/or the gift-giving policies are tight, donate to a non-profit or cause like the Alzheimer's Association, Parkinson's Association, or Senior Wish Foundation in your area. I found this great site that rates and links to charities if you need ideas.
- Food, Coffee, Teas for the breakroom- and make it the good stuff.
Gifts for Caregivers: Not just for the Holidays!
Don't just say thank you at the holidays, say it year round! Let the caregivers in your life know how much they are appreciated. A smile, pat on the back, a listening ear, and a willingness to help out are always welcome. Don't forget each November is National Caregivers Month, another special time to recognize the caregivers in your life.
Have any gift ideas we missed? Add your thoughts in the comments below!