If you know anyone who is a primary caregiver, you know that their life is often filled with stress. You also know that they make sacrifice after sacrifice for the ones they care for, and this can take a toll on their physical and emotional well being. If you’re holiday shopping for a caregiver in your life, here are some tips.

 

Think about gifts to help them relax

Yes. Relaxation. It’s something that seems easy to many of us but can elude a caregiver. When you spend most of your time dealing with the day-to-day of someone else’s life – someone who is possibly ill or has special needs – you tend to carry a high level of stress. This holiday season, buy them a gift that can help them truly relax.

One great idea is a set of nice coloured pencils or crayons and a few colouring books. Research – both scientific and anecdotal – has shown that colouring can really help an adult destress. Another idea is a subscription to a health/beauty service that will send them a care package full of things like toiletries, food, or makeup every month. Remember, these sorts of subscriptions can be tailored toward men or women! Also, as long as you confirm it with them first, giving the gift of a night on the town is a great idea. Think restaurant gift cards and/or concert tickets.

Finally, If you want to go the silly but still effective route, think sleepwear. Specifically, an adult onesie. They are cozy, fun, and can help a person really take their mind off life’s stresses.

 

Or how about a gift that makes their life easier?

Since a caregiver also has to worry about their own daily responsibilities, one of the best gifts you can give them is a service or product that does a lot of the heavy lifting for them.

One such gift is a subscription to Blue Apron, HelloFresh, or Tasted. These offer ready-to-cook pre-portioned gourmet meals for the person who still wants to cook and be healthy, but doesn’t want too much hassle. Another idea is a home assistant like Google Home or Amazon Echo. These internet-connected, voice-activated devices are gaining in popularity and can serve as your scheduler, reminder, note-taker, music-player, grocery order-er and much, much more.

 

And finally, it’s ok to ask!

Gift giving 101 may say that gifts are better when they are surprises, but that’s not always the case – especially when the giftee is a caregiver. Not only do caregivers often have bizarre schedules, but they may need help with very specific aspects of their lives. Don’t be wary of asking how you can help. If you want to be a little more subtle, you don’t have to say what can I get you for the holidays? You can ask them about their interests outside of their job and what they have been needing recently. Listen to them and take hints. Gift giving 101 should be rewritten to say that the best gifts aren’t unexpected – the best gifts are ones that are truly needed.

This holiday season when you’re crossing people off your shopping list, remember that for caregivers in your life, the best presents are often the ones that make their lives easier. Do what you can to find a gift that can help them relax, take the edge off, or something that will make their everyday life much easier. And remember – it’s not wrong to ask!

 

Written by Beverly Nelson of StandUpForCaregivers.org

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com