Good Gifts For Caregivers
Caregivers need love too!
I had a friend who cared for his ill father for 12 years. We were (and are still) very close friends. I never knew what he was going through with the responsibility of caring for someone who was dependent upon him - he never said much of the trials and tribulations nor did he ask for help.
As I walk the same path of being the primary caregiver for my totally adorable 94 year old Mom, Gertie, I now know some of what he was experiencing. And, unlike my friend, Jeff, I can't walk this path alone. I require support from others - both paid and not.
This article came to me as I was looking for something to make for dinner last night and was remember how special it was when my brother and sister-in-law came over recently and relieved me of dinner duty. They brought all the food, cooked, entertained and cleaned up. Although I was still there tending to my Mom, the break in our routine was much appreciated and I didn't have to be responsible for dinner too! Double bonus!
The below gifts for caregivers are things that I think mean the most to someone who is responsible for the care of another. I'm blessed that my Mom is easy to care for (mostly...) but there are things I wish I'd gotten or knew along the way. The below items will make your favorite caregiver's day much brighter.
And, for more reading, check out my other caregiver articles such as:
Mom and her "therapist" in rehab
While caring for my darling Mom, I uncovered a lot of gifts that were helpful, and some not so helpful. So, I created my own website:
Click that link right there above to see some great gifts for senior citizens and their caregivers.
The absolute best gift for caregivers - My new Kindle eBook - Senior Citizen Caregiving 101: Things I wish I had known
One of the best gifts you can give a caregiver is the gift of time.
It's quite difficult sometimes to get a moment to yourself when you're a caregiver. And, if you're a primary caregiver like I am, the moments when I can get away are precious and few.
One of my all time favorite gifts is when the most adorable man in the world (that would be my boyfriend, John), tells me to go upstairs at 8 pm and he'll put my Mom to bed at 9. This is such a bonus to me it's hard to explain. It's also kind of hard to explain exactly why it brings me to tears the times he does this. But, it does. He'll also spare me once in a while in the morning and give her breakfast #1 at 7 and put her back to bed so I can sleep in until breakfast #2 at 8:30. What a gift.
Giving the gift of time is easy and it doesn't cost you anything. Show up one night and give your favorite caregiver the night , or a few hours, off. You'll never know what this gift means to one who is in charge all of the time.
Give the gift of time...
...in these Day Clocks
When I was caring for Mom, I swear, there were days on end when I had absolutely no idea if it was a Monday, a Friday, or a Wednesday, let alone what time of the day it was. That's why day clocks are so very wonderful. I still have mine on my kitchen table to this day.
The Clox Day Clock is a particularly good model as it's just the right size for a bedside table - it's 8". Also, I love that the readout is very crisp and very clear. This is a wonderful present for those who might have waning sight also.
Some of my other gift articles might hold just the right Christmas present for a caregiver
Senior Citizen Gift Ideas - from one who knows!
Over the past 4 1/2 years that I've had my now 95 year old mother living with me and I've become a full time caregiver, I've scratched my head many times to ...
Gifts for the senior citizen cook
Life becomes more difficult as we age - it's a fact. But, just because your favorite senior citizen is aging doesn't mean that he or she doesn't still like t...
Gifts for menopausal women
First off, let me introduce myself and don't even think about interrupting; I am a 54 year old woman who is starting into menopause. How the heck did I get s...
Practical gifts for very elderly senior citizens
Christmas has come and gone and there are still some practical gifts for very elderly senior citizen to be bought - things that I thought about during my 95 ...
A good tote bag is the perfect gift for a caregiver
After Mom's fall (11/11/11) and subsequent hip surgery and nursing home rehabilitation, I determined that a great tote bad is very necessary for every caregiver.
I was always packing up a bag and bringing food, my computer, medical records, etc back and forth to the nursing home for Mom - sometimes several times a day. I didn't have a good tote bag to help me along with my daily tasks. Until..
Anuschka is one of my favorite purse brands so I went looking for a good sized tote bag. And, I found it in the double shopper there to the right. The thing is not only beautiful but perfectly functional also. It's large enough for me to put in a light weight pair of pajamas, my computer, and a few snacks. There's even a separate pocket for my phone right in the front. You cannot go wrong with handing your favorite caregiver one of these Anuschka tote bags.
To read more about Mom's rehab, visit my Squidoo article: Adjusting the elderly to rehabilitation for a broken bone.
Some people who love my mama...Click thumbnail to view full-size
Relieve the caregiver of some cooking duties
If you don't have the time to go over and spend an evening making a meal, how about preparing some meals in your own kitchen, freezing them and dropping them off? Freeze meals in individual portions for ease of serving and less waste. A vacuum sealer works perfectly in this scenario. I've had a vacuum sealer for years. There's rarely a week that goes by that I don't use it to seal meals. Meals will last up to 1 year in the freezer when sealed properly.
Make sure to label the meals with a sharpee so that the contents are clearly marked. Also, before giving this gift to a caregiver, check for any dietary restrictions. In our case, Mom's on a low sodium diet so I need to know how much sodium is in the items I freeze. I usually just mark them on the front of the package too.
It's so nice to open the freezer and find something "different' for Mom.
Help your favorite caregiver by vacuum sealing some meals
Not only will the caregiver not have to prepare meals, but the elderly person might like a bit of variety. I know that I tend to cook the same things over and over so having "different" foods is a welcome break from the normal routine for my Mom.
Gift cards are always a nice thank you for your favorite caregiver
Gift cards are a great gift for any caregiver and are much appreciated - particularly the Spa Finder gift card! What caregiver doesn't need to be pampered with a nice manicure and pedicure once in a while. Go ahead and splurge - get two - they're small...
Give caregivers the gift of silence!
I can only listen to so many "who's the daddy shows" (that's what Mom calls all of the judge shows on TV....).
The same night that I was spared making dinner, my brother and sister-in-law walked in with this invention that totally changed my life! My Mom's hearing is not what it once was so the volume on the TV can curl my toes. But, no longer! TV ears to the rescue!
TV ears are small wireless earphones that hang from one's ears. It's possible to mute the TV totally (bless you who ever invented these things) but Mom can still hear the TV fine. The TV ears have their own volume so, depending on the level of deafness, almost everyone can hear the TV clearer and louder through the things. As a nice side note, I can hear her call me as she doesn't have to compete with the TV any longer.
The battery on TV ears lasts up to 10 hours. Balance can be variated between the left and right ear to adjust for different hearing levels.
As I type this, it's a Saturday morning and Mom is watching the news with the TV ears. I feel like I'm on a mini-vacation as I'm listening to my favorite soothing music with my iPod.
I highly recommend TV ears. They are SO worth the price.
Are you a caregiver?
I wish I'd had these books when I started taking care of Mom
I chose not to have children so, when Mom came home to stay, I was pretty much working from nothing to try to figure out how to care for her. In a lot of ways, having a 94 year old is similar to having a young child - as a child crawls, tottles and walks, I see my mom walk, tottle and now start to move even more slowly.
I wish I'd had someone give me a few of these good resources. Any (and all) would make a great gift for a caregiver.
Caregivers love to smell good.
If you know caregivers who are offended by strongly scented lotions (consider me....), this Bvlgari Omnia Crystalline will be most appreciated. Not sweet and not strongly scented, a dab of this lotion is sure to delight anyone.
How about giving your caregiver plants from your garden?
Now, here's a sweet gift which I always appreciate.
Even nicer than cut flowers, if you ask me, are flowers for a garden if your caregiver friend has a garden. I have a memorial garden for my Dad and sister that is right outside my Mom's bedroom so she can see it every day. I planted things that reminded us of my Dad such as poker plants (he was quite the gambler) and some blue flowers as his eyes were cornflower blue. My sister loved purple so I have purple impatients and hydrangeas.
Mom and I love this garden and love when friends contribute to it. And, this gift is very easy as all you have to do is split a plant you have and plant it at your loving caregiver's house. What a beautiful tribute and what an appreciated gift. But, remember, you have to plant it!
Note: For some reason, the deer around here eat everything except this garden. I think they must know how very special it is to Mom and me.