13 Gifts to Give the Family Caregiver


13 Gifts to Give the Family Caregiver


It's time to give. And, sometimes, when you begin to think about what to give, you stare at an empty piece of paper. You may be especially stumped if you want to buy for the family caregiver in your life -- that individual who cares for a family member with a chronic illness, disease or disability (like a parent, spouse, grandparent or child with special needs).

I've got some ideas to help you fill your paper with ideas and get a gift which shows how much you care:

1. A family caregiver chases time and rarely catches it. You can give them time with gift certificates to a local cleaning service so they'll gain time and a clean house.

2. A family caregiver captures details and often can't keep up. Help them stay organized by hiring a Virtual Assistant for an hour or two every month.

3. A family caregiver wears immense responsibility and rarely takes it off. You can give him or her a break by stopping by with coffee and bagels on a Saturday morning (or pizza and wine on a Friday night) to simply listen. When you listen without judging or "shoulding", you give the family caregiver a chance to loosen the strings of responsibility.

4. A family caregiver gives -- often more than he or she receives. Give the gift of monthly cards of thanks that you send. Write from the heart about how much you appreciate the family caregiver and you'll give the family caregiver a regular chance to receive. Check out the Caregiver Cards from Jenn Chan's Senior Shower Project.

5. A family caregiver often misplaces (sometimes loses) hope and then struggles to find the way to continue. My books are about giving back hope while writing honestly about the impact of a caregiving experience. You can give one of my Take Comfort books in the four-part series or my latest book, Caregiving Lists of Your Courage, Hope and Resilience. You can purchase the books on Amazon (print and Kindle versions available). I also recommend An Insurance Policy for The Big One: My Mom, Her Mind, and Me by Penny Rose Haddon, also available on Kindle.

Other recommended authors include:

6. A family caregiver often dreads scheduling a break because the work to organize the time away is just too much. Create the break for him or her. Step in to hire and oversee the help as well as learn the care routine. Then let the family caregiver take the time away.

7. A family caregiver can feel like life has passed him or her by. Bring life to the family caregiver by offering to pay for online classes and training programs like our Certified Caregiving Consultant. During a time when the family caregiver often has to say "no" give the chance to say "yes."

8. A family caregiver often can use a guide to help them sort through a decision, find the right help and understand the best next step. Our Certified Caregiving Consultants provide just that guidance and offer gift certificates you can give to the family caregiver.

9. A family caregiver often acts as technical support for the person for whom he or she cares (the caree). Give the gift of customer support -- set aside time to trouble-shoot a caree's challenges with his or her laptop, tablet or smart phone. Then, offer the same help to the family caregiver.

10. Connect family caregiver to support by setting up caregiving podcasts on his or her phone. Get started with our Caregiving Podcast Network and my 12 Podcasts of a Caregiving Christmas from last year (more coming this year).

11. A family caregiver bears so much of the brunt of the caregiving experience. Lessen the load by taking the wheel and offering to provide transportation for the next doctor's appointment, errand run or grocery store trip. You also can make the experience lighter by making regular visits to the caree to simply sit and socialize.

12. A family caregiver can sometimes dread the holidays, which can remind the family caregiver of how much has changed while adding work to an already overloaded day. Give the family caregiver a holiday season by hosting the holidays and simply inviting them to show up (no dish necessary). Help them celebrate by offering to decorate the outside the house (and inside if that helps).

13. A family caregiver often feels alone and trapped by fate to shoulder an experience that can feel too much. Bring support to the family caregiver by purchasing the session recordings and virtual archive of our Third Annual National Caregiving Conference. An attendee called the conference "phenomenal." More than 50 family caregivers and former family caregivers delivered presentations and led panel discussions. Even more family caregivers joined the discussions during the sessions. With our NCC18 recordings, the family caregiver will feel understood, validated and in great company.

What would you add to my list? Please feel free to add what you'd like to receive and what you have to give in our comments section, below.

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