Too little time and too much stress are two constants in a caregiver’s life, and gifts that make their hectic days a little easier are always welcome. So whether there is a caregiver on your list, or you’re looking for some hints to drop to Santa, here are some of our favorites:
Around the holidays, there are dozens of gift card options. How about narrowing it down to much needed services for house cleaning, landscaping or snow removal, transportation, laundry, or even meal prep and delivery. Hint: If you live nearby and can do the work yourself, home-made coupons are a great option—and be sure to offer reminders if they go unused.
Tickets to a movie, play, or concert can provide a nice jolt of energy, and why not throw in dinner? Be sure to arrange for someone to look after the person’s loved one during the event.
A subscription to Netflix or Hulu, or DVR service such as TiVo lets your caregiver watch favorite shows or movies when convenient. Did you see a movie that made you laugh out loud this year? Buy the DVD for a favorite caregiver—a couple of hours of good fun at the end of the day is priceless.
For someone a little more bookish, consider a tablet with a book app or an e-reader like a Nook or Kindle loaded with a few books on his or her reading list. A high-contrast tablet limits eye strain under light or dark conditions, perfect for someone who spends many hours sitting bedside.
New caregivers are often overwhelmed by what they don’t know. A book about caregiving or about their loved one’s condition can provide information and reassurance. Three suggestions:
Find a licensed massage therapist who can come to the home. Rather than one 60- or 90-minute massage, ask the therapist if shorter treatments are available—this might inspire the caregiver to make it part of his or her routine.
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress. How about a few sessions with a personal trainer or a fitness membership? Remember that trial memberships often run for a limited period, which may not work with a caregiver’s schedule, so ask about one based on number of visits. For those who prefer to work out at home, the Wii Fit with Meter takes advantage of Nintendo’s popular game system. Fitbit can help to stay on track and monitor goals and progress, and HoldTight keeps phone and necessities—ID, credit card, cash, even headphones—together for runners (or anyone who doesn’t want to carry a wallet or purse), plus it’s customizable.
Caregiving often comes with financial stress. Gifts related to a passion or hobby—a set of spices or beautiful utensils for a cook, a skein of cashmere for a knitter or crocheter, sterling silver fittings for someone who makes jewelry—are always welcome. Other ideas:
Send a batch of cookies from Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, which funds pediatric cancer research, or put together a soothing sampling of de-stressing teas. Gift sets of hand cream and hand soap from Caldrea, or a trio of scented hand creams from Neal’s Yard Remedies, can keep oft-washed hands from becoming dry.