Patricia McMorrow | 05.15.19
Whether a family caregiver is a spouse, child, sibling, relative or a friend, taking care of someone facing a health crisis can be a thankless task. This is especially true if a caregiver is working with someone who has long-term needs.
Thank-you gifts for caregivers don’t have to be expensive or elaborate. As with any gift, it’s the thought that counts. Even small tokens of appreciation can make an impact on caregivers who are dedicated to looking after a person who needs help.
We reached out to our community to discover the best presents they’ve ever given or received. Check out these 8 thoughtful gifts for caregivers:
1. Time Off
The gift of time can be a very meaningful way to show how much you appreciate the time and effort a relative or friend spends on caregiving. What many caregivers want is for time off and for someone else to do the giving. Our community suggested massage gift certificates and a spa trip as a couple different options for some relaxing time away.
However, offering a caregiver some vital “me time” doesn’t have to involve a physical gift, either:
“When my husband and I were taking care of my father, I had a few friends who were willing to come stay with him once in awhile so my husband and I could have quality time together.”
Alexis C. LaMere
“I am the 24/7 caregiver for my husband the past 2 years. Best gift was my kids coming together and helping so I could take a vacation with friends.”
Barbara Pyles Kelly
Once this selfless caregiver escapes their normal routine and gets some time to care for themselves, they can return refreshed and rejuvenated.
2. Gift Baskets
Gift baskets of fruit, flowers or pampering bath items will brighten a tired caregiver’s outlook. Fun fact: flowers have been scientifically proven to increase the happiness chemicals in our brain — and flowers can be ordered online and delivered almost anywhere the same day.
Our community shared a few great ideas of what to include in this gift basket:
- Gift cards (Amazon, groceries, house cleaning, gas, favorite restaurants)
- Personalized and unique pillows covers, blankets, puzzles, etc.
“A snack basket! As a caregiver for my grand daughter going through a bone marrow transplant, my parents brought me a basket of snacks (a lot of different kinds) and some stationary items. It was great!”
“Tea… aromatherapy… hand and foot lotions… books.”
Note: When sending flowers, nuts, candy or anything similar, make sure the recipient is not allergic to any of these items.
Everyone’s gotta eat, right? But cooking and planning meals can add mounds of stress to a caregiver’s already hectic life. Bringing over homemade meals, supplying eating utensils and even doing something fun like ordering pizza delivery are all super helpful ways to make your loved one’s days easier.
“Food! When my daughter was battling cancer I greatly appreciated when her friends or my family brought us meals. I struggled to find time, energy or means to cook. Her friends took turns bring us prepared dishes. It was a Godsend.”
Amy Elizabeth Ax
“My best gift was my stepdaughter making Thanksgiving dinner for us at our place.”
A free CaringBridge online health journal allows you to update everyone at once and offers a scheduling tool to help you coordinate caring tasks.
4. Child Care/Dog Watching
A free gift that will always be a huge help to your loved one: babysitting. Offer to take over childcare or dog-sitting duties for your friend or family member so they can take time to go on a date with their partner, take a workout class, or even use one of their other gifts (like a massage).
A helpful way to schedule this is with our Personal Planner tool which allows people to sign up for childcare, meal sign ups, carpools and more on their loved one’s CaringBridge site.
5. Smiles and Hugs
Several of our respondents mentioned that hugs and smiles offer a sense of comfort (not to mention reducing stress, boosting the immune system, and many other benefits).
“A thank you or a smile is all I need! It’s one of the hardest things! So hard to see a loved one go through tough times with cancer, Alzheimer and or anything!! Love and hugs to everyone that gives there heart and time to someone in need!”
6. Monetary Support
Offering the gift of money may at first not sound like the most “thoughtful” gift, but that’s not true. Caregivers often bear the burden of their loved one’s health care costs, and financial support may be critical at this time.
However, you don’t have to hand over cash to be helpful. You can get creative with this type of support as well:
“When I was taking care of my momma, someone helped pay my car payment for 2 months. It was a blessing.”
Amy Ross Nash
“A group of us just donated to a college friend’s heart and lunge transplant fund.”
Another idea is to ask your loved one where the costs add up the most. For instance, hospital parking can be surprisingly costly – offering to help cover specific costs that add up can be enormously helpful – and add some extra thoughtfulness to the gesture.
7. Quality Time
Reach out. Be there. Show up. Caregivers need someone to check on them and offer a few kind words or a funny story. They often make their care recipient their #1 priority – caretakers deserve to be made a priority too.
“The gift of time from loved ones is the greatest gift of all.”
Whether this looks like a comedy movie night in with ice cream or a long chat on the phone, the time you offer your loved one will show them how much you appreciate all their hard work.
Knowing that the people closest to you are thinking of you and sending you good vibes even when you’re not together is a great comfort for many caregivers.
“As a caregiver, I was given a prayer shawl… anything sentimental that leaves you with memories is great.”
What Are Your Best Caregiver Gift Ideas?
Have you ever given a caregiver gift that was a big hit with the recipient (or received something amazing)? Please share it with our readers to give them inspiration!