8 Thoughtful Gifts for Caregivers to Show You Care

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:

  • Wine
  • 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!”

Cyndi Davis

“Tea… aromatherapy… hand and foot lotions… books.”

Ronique Breaux-Jordan

Note: When sending flowers, nuts, candy or anything similar, make sure the recipient is not allergic to any of these items.

3. Meals

meals for caregivers

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.”

Wayne Richardson

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!”

Laurie Tapia

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.”

Ronique Breaux-Jordan

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.”

Joan Wiehoff

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.

8. Prayers

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.”

Wayne Richardson

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!

  • Eugene Kay

    On the last year she cared fr me I surprised her on her birthday and gave her a guardian angel and a heart bracelet to measure her heart rate etc, which surprised her and since she was coming to put me in bed because I couldn’t walk due to hip surgery when I felt better and could travel, I treated her to breakfast numerous times. I know it was not enough but I gave what I could because I knew it would make her happy,

  • Ruth Lunsford

    I would greatly appreciate any prayers or whatever is placed on your hearts and God bless you .

  • Laura

    Time someone to volunteer time

  • Teresa Binkley

    I like to give caregivers journals or datebooks to help write out feelings, keep track of appointments, and log what happens when. Everything can become a blur and time passes by for the caregiver, so a journal helps them keep control of the time in a way.

  • gladys deloe

    Host a CareGivers’ Support Group…Our church offers a monthly support gathering for CGs — during one of the Sunday morning times slots. It’s a time to share w/others who truly understand – laugh, cry, and pray together. The church gives a small budget so the host can give them gifts from time to time. She also helps them focus on a theme for the year, with handouts, etc.

  • melisa Dacy rapstine

    Someone gave me (2) $400.00 gift cards to the grocery store I go to. It was so helpful to us after my husband had heart surgery then a stroke at age 55. We went from both working to no income while we waited for disability to kick in.

  • Beth O'Brien

    Losing my husband quite suddenly to a heart attack & child diagnosed with cancer 6 months later the hugh support of family & friends to help pick up the pieces was overwhelming. Food,transportation & hugs of love got us through. To just show up is enough.

  • Jan Ellwood

    Thanks!!! When my loved one is hurting so hard to know how to comfort him while keeping my own basic needs in line

  • M.G.Dybeck

    One day each week giving the caregiver a break by picking up their loved one and driving them to a local program that is sponsored by local govt, where they sing, play games, have lunch, and just enjoy being with others. It is called STARS. It is like a breath of fresh air for both caregiver and the one they are caring for.

  • Linda

    When I was sick . 1 person brought in food . It was much appreciated , but to much we could not eat it all. BIG, boxes So I suggest check to see if U could bring later. The freezer fills only holds so much. Border line diabetic,. Brought in cakes, pies,, cake.
    and candy. We needed low sodium. Brought in some things that
    were highly salted that we could not use. Ask if there is anything special they like. Example we eat a half banana & oatmeal every AM. We like green salad. Never brought fruit ,lettuce salad or oatmeal. It was good to have the food. My husband just made me a plate and heated in microwave.

  • Vicky Niego

    Games, books, driving her for where she has to go, buying her supermarket home list, organizing small visit groups to visit her once a week and preparing for her dips and drinks for that visit…

  • Pat Adkins

    During my husband’s cancer journey, our dear friend sends us encouraging cards each week. She includes scriptures full of God’s love and assurances that He is always with us. This kindness is at the top of our blessings and proves a friend’s thoughtfulness can be the best gift in these challenging times.

  • KD

    A prayer shawl. Someone who took my dog on her daily walks. A friend drove me to a doctor appointment when my regular caregiver needed a break. A gift card for housecleaning service.

  • Judi

    My family showed One day in Spring and tended my gardens, laid mulch, planted flowers. It brought me so much joy!

  • Carolyn Blyzniuk

    When my husband was in the hospital around the holidays, for Whipple surgery for pancreatic cancer, his friends brought a basket with a shawl/blanket and neck pillow for me along with aromatherapy items, a small Christmas’s tree and lounge pants for my husband. It was such a great gift that we used while there and now at home. My employer sent a gift of food from Omaha steaks and his brother also sent a gift of food as well. Our friends and family have brought food for us, ate with us, visited, brought me wine, etc. .. they also had a huge fundraiser for my husband. We are very blessed. The prepared food is a huge help as our journey continues.

  • LSchlemmer

    A friend of mine sat with me one afternoon while I was taking care of my mother-in-law. We were all looking at mail-order catalogs. She got us interested by asking questions like, “what would you pick on THIS page?” She did that on various pages. A few days later she stopped by the house and dropped off 2 or 3 items we unknowingly “picked out”! 😀

  • Harriet Burke

    Having someone come and clean the house has been most helpful while caring for my nearly blind husband who has Parkinson’s/Lewy body dementia. People don’t realize how exhausting 24/7 care can be.

  • Amy Banowetz

    Love. Lots of love even when it’s hard

  • Tarnise Small

    Caregiving is about more than meeting someone’s physical needs. It about being able to create a bond with those in need doing the works of the lord encouraging them with love and undivided attention.

  • Lisa

    Have hope, be strong and never give up ! You got this… thinking of you and your family today as you begin this next stage of your journey ❤️

  • Betsy Lane

    As my husband’s 24/7 caregiver (two years for a bank injury leading directly into the past 7 months with pancreatic cancer), meal delivery has been a HUGE help, as has people who drop off basic groceries (the grab an extra gallon of milk, dozen eggs, bagged salads, etc). A favorite free gift is when we receive cheery postcards drawn by our young nieces and nephews! So nice to get mail that’s not a bill or a notice from the insurance company !

  • DeAnne

    My sister is my caregiver (along with others.), I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family! She takes care of three other people and still takes time for me too. I have TBI and if anybody has that they know how tough that can be. I know that a lot of other people need her, but she’s mine! If you have some inexspensive ideas please suggest them

  • M. Ricci

    I am a quilter/sewer and have made or purchased table runners or a placemat set for a kitchen table. I’ve also given a wreath for a front door (a red, white and blue one can be given to a man) which can be decorative but with artificial flowers in case of allergies.