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Which Gifts Should be Under Every Family Caregiver’s Tree?

250px-Gifts_xmasAh, there’s nothing like the perfect gift. When you receive just what you wanted and needed, you feel understood, appreciated, loved. The present gives the best gift–that wonderful feeling of being accepted just as you are, just as you want, just as you need.

So, I wonder: What gifts should be under every family caregiver’s tree? What present would give the gift of love, acceptance and understanding?

Please share your gift ideas in our comments section, below, for a chance to receive one of the gifts we’ve wrapped for you under our tree. We’ll choose random winners on Tuesday to receive:

1. A $50 gift card

2. Annual Membership (a $49.95 value) (And, we’ve got three of these wrapped up to give.)

3. Caregiving Survival eBook Set (a $9.95 value)

4. “Me Time” eBook Set (a $12.72 value)

5. Caregiving Comfort eBook Set (a $8.74 value)

6. Take Comfort, the CD set (a $19.95 value)

7. Take Comfort, Too, the CD set (a $19.95 value)

8. An autographed copy of Good Morning to You!, a journal of greetings, gratitudes and goals (a $28.97 value, which includes shipping)

9. Autographed copies of The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey and Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers (a $40.94 value, which includes shipping)

So, what do you think? What gift should be under every family caregiver’s tree?

(Would you like to donate a gift to give to a family caregiver? Just send me an email.)

About Denise

Avatar of Denise
I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues.


  1. Avatar of Gail Kroll

    I know the perfect gift that I would love. I have been wanting to give our new CNA caregiver. A gift subscription to We are not allowed to give gifts to our caregivers so if the website chose our CNA to get a gift subscription I would be ecstatic!

    • Avatar of Denise

      It’s so wonderful to find a great CNA. It’s like having a solution wrapped up in a good friend. Our site is for those family members who provide care-the sons, daughters, grandchildren, spouse, siblings, parents, nieces, friends. While caregiving as a professional is a tough job, it differs from the emotional drain of caring for a family member. So, that’s why we’re just here for those family members who provide care. :)

      • Avatar of Gail Kroll

        Thanks for clearing that up, Denise! I don’t think we can give her a gift but I am going to phone the Agency to find out if we can give her a gift card maybe? My Mom tried to give her money for doing her nails yesterday and she refused it. I’m going to phone right now! There must be something!

  2. Avatar of Richard

    This is easy, when the kids were young our big thing was board game, which created family time and I would like to think helped bring our blended family closer together. We would have puzzles going, sometimes 2 games of Monopoly, Me and Trish would be doing a game of Scrabble maybe. But the best ones were those that took awhile to finish like Monopoly, Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, Life. We’ve saved all our games (4 tubs full) for babysitting time with future little feet. Those are what should be under every tree. *
    – Richard

    • Avatar of Denise

      Hi Richard–I loved those board games, too, and loved when we were able to recycle them with my nieces and nephews. I’m looking forward to CandyLand 2.0 with the greats some day.

      What I’m looking forward is the gift you would receive as a family caregiver that made you feel understood in all that you do. For instance, what gift could your brothers give you that made you think, “Wow, they really get what this is like for me.” What gift could you give to @trish that would show her that you honor what she does for Robert?

      In essence, what present would you like to receive as a family caregiver that made you feel like you just received the gift of acceptance?

  3. Avatar of G-J

    The gift that would make me feel like someone outside out house gets it is a gift that includes a family member spending time with my husband, a day at the spa for me (booked by someone else so I have to go), someone cleaning my house while we’re out that day, and dinner delivered that evening. This can happen once our son returns to school next month. I would feel like the giver understood that I don’t take time for myself and need to have a day where someone focuses on me while my husband is occupied and I don’t have to worry about feeding my family. Ahhhh….

  4. Avatar of Pegi

    A person, your person. Be it friend or family member. Someone who listens with out judging. Someone who knows when you just need to be quiet, but not alone. Someone who doesn’t answer with platitudes like “it’ll fine”, when you know it may not. Someone who will walk in the door and say “take a break, take the afternoon, I’ll stay here”. Someone who not only entertains and cares for your loved one, while you take that walk or get a haircut; but washes those dishes in the sink or mops that floor you haven’t found time to do. Someone who can make you laugh. Someone who cares for your caree almost as much as you.
    If all caregiver’s just had that one person life would be so much easier.

  5. Avatar of Gail Kroll

    Some session with Denise – like when Mom knows I’m going to have one tomorrow with her and welcomes it! So I can LET LOOSE! – and then I can learn more to “think outside the box and welcome caregiving change.” Thanks, Denise! You are a great caregiving-coach!

  6. Francine werlinger

    The gift I’d like to find under my tree is a certificate for someone to offer to watch my husband for a weekend…..or more! I’m Coming up on 15 years of caregiving. I’d love to go on a day trip, or spend a weekend in a B & B! It would be wonderful to have a break!

  7. richard wagoner

    i care for my wife that has ms and what i wish would be under the tree would be nothing material but for me hope, for a cure to ease her pain,joy to be with her every day,patience and more energy to make it thourgh the day and the smile she gives me when i put her in bed everynight. i love her so much.

  8. Avatar of Thedogmama

    A friend – to talk to who knows how to listen.

    A husband (or wife, or partner)- who understands how difficult it is and just holds you when you need it.

    A doctor – who listens carefully to both you and your caree.

    A moment of time – to be yourself. When, without guilt, you think just about you and what you want or need.

    I already received my gift this Christmas. Today, my husband, the man who shamelessly every year wheedles, cajoles and bribes either myself or our two children into wrapping his Christmas gifts, quietly wrapped, put ribbons and bows and tags on all the gifts I have managed to buy and put them under the tree. That is true understanding.

  9. Janet McCaskill

    Having been my husband’s caregiver for almost 11 years now I can tell you that the things that I appreciate more than anything else are invitations to go to the movies (movie tickets), invitations to go out to eat (restaurant gift cards), food prepared and brought to the house, a sitter so I can have “me-time”, a massage (haven’t taken advantage of that yet, though) and just knowing that my husband is being well cared for by his nurses and his doc. Peace of mind for the caregiver means more than any gift that can be purchased.

  10. marisol companioni

    Best gift for me would be TIME!

    Spend time with me or with my mom.
    Take time out to listen to me with open mind.
    A time to laugh, cry, eat together free of
    How much time we have to spare.
    Simply free time from thinking or doing
    Anything but smell the roses along the way…

  11. My first thought about what gift would be good to give a caregiver was a gift certificate for time spent with Caree and tickets for the caregiver to go to a local play or movie theater. My next thought was for a gift of a box of very nice chocolates!

    I have done this several times, went and made dinner (at their house) for the family of an acquaintance who was recovering from a serious accident and for a family that just had a baby. That’s a gift that would be awesome too!

  12. A great gift would be a little time for self. A journal and a date…I think a day at least once a month to go on a date with someone who will listen not judge as you share these feelings on a date to express your emotions..

    A date which could allowe you to be sad,cry,angry,happy to express whatever emotion that fills you….but better a chance to let it out before it eats you up..a chance to stay connected to living ancd connecting a social world of people I guess a site for caregivers to connect to each other maybe locally or by similar situations they are dealing with and support each other through the hard moments could be helpful .

  13. Avatar of Gail Kroll

    I have thought long and hard about this. What finally came to me would be this. I have two sisters – I have told you all about them. A judge and lawyer who both make lots of money. Me? Not so much. I would love to have some fairy dust to spray upon them to help them understand that people are not out to get Mom (my caree) and they are out to help us. Not ALL the time but most of the time. Just a little fairy dust to help them understand that I am truly trying my DAMNEST to do my best with Mom. ALL the time. Even the times I am exhausted from chores. Exhausted from staying in the house to be with Mom all the time. BUT? I WANT to be with Mom so if they could just help that process a little I would appreciate it. Like I think my younger sister might be getting me a laptop for Christmas (I hope!) Then? I could do more while sitting with Mom in the den. My older sister? I don’t know. I just don’t trust them alone with Mom. Unless the CNA or a caretaker who is experienced is with them. Do you know what I mean? When we got the flexible shower head installed – my younger sister and her son did it – she said “Okay! Let’s give Mom a shower!!!!!” I said, “Let’s wait until we learn how!” Do they just NOT GET IT? I guess they mean well. I KNOW they do! But this just creates anxiety in me. To think of leaving Mom in their care when they do risky things for her care. Anyway? I guess I want that fairy dust! That would be my gift! I don’t even want to leave Mom. I HATE leaving her. Whenever I leave her with anyone other than our CNA I get scared. And even then? That isn’t too comfortable yet too! Merry Christmas and I hope you all get your presents you wanted just like I want my fairy dust!

  14. Avatar of MimbyNYC

    There are two gifts I’d love. One would be spending an afternoon with me to sort through my mom’s jewelry and photograph those pieces she wants to give away after she’s gone. The other is an offer to take care of my mom and her cat, Catalina, when we’re on vacation–any part of the vacation they can manage.

  15. Avatar of Gail Kroll

    I want to thank you for the TAKE COMFORT, TOO (CD SET) which I won. I am sincerely looking forward to listening to it. Or even finding time to listen to it. Mom isn’t feeling well lately and her health has severely deteriorated. I think it is time for hospice.

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