Caregivers have an incredible weight on their shoulders — it’s an emotional, around-the-clock job being on call for someone else. Do you know someone who’s a caregiver? If so, taking the time to select the perfect gift is a great way to say “thank you.”
Jump ahead to these sections:
- ‘Thank You’ Gift Ideas for Caregivers
- Holiday Gift Ideas for Caregivers
- Gift Ideas for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
- Gift Ideas for Cancer Caregivers
Here’s how to recognize that special person with a personalized gift.
Thank You Gift Ideas for Caregivers
Sometimes, caregivers just need to know their efforts are appreciated. They’re not doing it for the thanks. They’re doing it out of love — but that doesn’t mean a little appreciation doesn’t go a long way.
Don't forget to leave a "thank you" note to your caregiver, too.
1. Time off
Some caregivers provide highly technical medical care. They work as trained nurses or medical professionals and provide around-the-clock care. If that’s the case, you might not be able to swoop in and take over. But if you can, offering to take over might be a great gift.
Even if they adore the person they’re caring for, a break will help — they can come back rested. Try stepping in a few weekends out of the month.
2. Host events
Just because they are caregiving for one member of the family doesn’t mean other family obligations stop. For instance, your grandmother might be the primary caregiver for her husband. But the entire extended family always goes to your grandma’s house for Thanksgiving.
Trying to host a massive holiday while caregiving can be incredibly stressful. Offer to take over or even help with cleaning and cooking at her house.
3. Gift certificates
It’s often hard for caregivers to take time out for themselves — they often feel guilty for taking a break. But it’s important that they do.
Giving a caregiver a certificate to her favorite spa or masseuse might be exactly what she needs. And if you offer to cover caregiving responsibilities while she’s out using that gift certificate, it might be a perfect weekend.
4. Child care
We attend to associate caregiving with age — adult children caring for their parents or grandparents looking out for each other. But that isn’t always the case! Young couples might be struck by tragedy. A mom might be the primary caregiver for a teen with terminal cancer.
Offer to watch the other children as a one-time offer or on a recurring day of the week. This can help the caregiver focus on other responsibilities. That way, when the kids return, the caregiver can devote his or her love and attention to them without distraction!
Sometimes, a concrete tool is the best thank you of all. It helps make the caregiver’s job easier and allows him or her to get organized.
As a caregiver, you’re essentially juggling two schedules. Mastering your own schedule is hard enough — but adding doctor’s appointments and pills to be taken is difficult.
Give a caregiver a planner that suits his or her organizational style to help him or her feel less scattered and stressed.
Holiday Gift Ideas for Caregivers
Holidays are many people’s favorite time of the year. The art of getting someone the perfect gift is a challenge that some look forward to — but what can you get a caregiver? Often, the answer is pretty simple.
6. Go shopping
Your caregiver may not be interested in battling crowds to go shopping over the holidays. Even if she’s got the perfect list of holiday gifts for others, she might not have the energy to shop for them.
You can take two approaches:
- You can offer to take over the caregiver’s responsibilities while he or she shops.
- You can do the shopping for the caregiver. Take his or her list and get started. Whether you shop online or a favorite local store, serving as Santa takes a big load off the caregiver’s shoulders.
7. Give money
The idea of giving money might make you uncomfortable. After all, you could hurt someone’s pride. But many budgets are stretched thin during the holidays. Extra expenses, like medicine or other needs, can make a caregiver’s financial situation more stressful.
Coming up with a tactful way to give money is hard. You might choose to do so anonymously. Or you could candidly discuss it with them. Sometimes, money alone is the best holiday gift.
The holidays are sometimes too stressful to think about. Many caregivers want to make the occasion special as they have in years past. But it might take too much time, energy, and money to comprehend.
What are some of their favorite holiday foods? Do they always make grandma’s creamed corn casserole? Or do they love a decadent chocolate pie? Even if you aren’t up for making a full Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, making a few special treats is a great idea.
9. Gift baskets
Gift baskets are common during the holidays. They’re a great way to give someone a delicious treat to look forward to. And if you’re custom-creating your own basket, you can tailor it to the caregiver’s needs. You don’t need to stick with classics like chocolate, crackers, and cheese.
What about including some relaxing bath salts? Or a bottle of wine and a gift card? To make it holiday-themed, you can include some peppermints or wrap your gifts in holiday paper.
10. Membership gifts
For someone who’s already got a lot on their plate, something like a gym membership might add even more stress than it’s worth. But what about a food delivery membership? Lots of grocery delivery services like Instacart offer yearly or monthly memberships.
Your caregiver likely has to coordinate care each time he or she goes to the grocery store. And that can make each week stressful! Getting groceries delivered could be a major load off the caregiver’s shoulders.
Gift Ideas for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is sad and stressful — it can take its toll.
11. Install alarms
There are a lot of stressors when someone has Alzheimer’s. The patient might forget where she is or feel unsafe because she can’t place herself. There are a lot of things to worry about. Some companies have created products that help give peace of mind.
Think about installing child-safety measures. Put plastic covers over outlets, install a chain on the front door. Install motion sensor alarms and cameras.
There are countless books on Alzheimer's and dementia. Some are meant for doctors or patients. Other books meant for their caregivers.
It’s best to find a book that focuses on the caregiver’s emotional experience. A book that helps support the caregiver emotionally might be perfect.
13. Day programs
It may be hard to find time in your schedule to relieve the caregiver. What else can you do? As more adults develop Alzheimer’s, programs are being developed to help them. Many cities offer programs for adults that provide care and activities during the day.
Investigate some of these programs close to you. What do they cost? What activities are involved? Help the caregiver make arrangements if it seems like a good fit. That way, the caregiver could get a few days off each month.
14. Make it a date
Many caregivers often feel isolated. Offer a time to talk now — not just when you have to share condolences after their loved one has died.
Offer to spend time with the caregiver doing a lowkey activity — it might be just what’s needed.
15. Memory books
Help the caregiver with reminders for the Alzheimer’s patient. Who are the patient’s family members? Why is that person calling on the phone? Alzheimer’s is often terrifying and disorienting.
You can help! Many companies offer recording services that record simple messages from family members.
Gift Ideas for Cancer Caregivers
It might be easy to come up with gifts for terminal cancer patients. But what can you give a caregiver?
Your caregiver likely spends a lot of time driving — back and forth to appointments, picking up medication, going on shopping trips, etc.
What kind of books does the caregiver read? Get her an Audible membership or buy CDs of her favorite books — it might be a great entertainment option.
Dealing with cancer produces so many emotions. From fear to dedication, caregivers give everything they have. This is especially true if they are a medical professional, and you’re thinking of gifts for doctors. During this difficult time, they probably need support.
They might not want to go to a traditional support group. But you can research helpful online resources, from online therapists to meditation apps — there are plenty of resources available.
18. Practical items
Sometimes, the list of responsibilities is overwhelming. Reminding someone to eat or take pills can feel like too much. Of course, you can’t take every single caregiver responsibility away. But you can help!
There are automatic pill dispensers available. When it’s time for the patient to his or her pills, they’re dispensed. Alarms can be set on the patient’s phone to remind him or her to look at the dispenser. Simple items like this can be a major help.
Some gifts are so ordinary that you don’t think about them. But cancer patients and their caregivers often have a lot to carry around. From books to water bottles to an extra change of clothes, it all can’t be fit in a purse. And most patients spend a lot of time away from home. Hospitals and treatments take up a lot of time. Why not get a caregiver a rolling suitcase?
From novels to nonfiction, lots of books have been written about cancer. Whether the caregiver is contemplating hospice care or looking for a fictional escape, books are a great way to pass the time.
Make sure you take the caregiver’s preferences into account. Maybe she hates reading ebooks or maybe she doesn’t want to lug around a regular book. Finding the perfect book is a fun experience.
Help a Caregiver
Often, caregivers are left to grapple with the unknown.
There are so many factors they can’t control. But it might help to start end-of-life planning — something that gives them a concrete outlook toward the future. Some of the unknown factors and stress can be reduced.