You sure don't want to forget the family caregiver. That's the one that has stepped up to the plate. They're doing all of the things that you either can't or should do but don't. They need your help. Show that you care with thoughtful and helpful gifts.
John is really grateful to his sister Anne. Anne has really stepped up to the plate and takes care of all of Dad's needs. I know it's not easy
John told me and I wish I could do more to help her. My job keeps me pretty busy and I travel quite a bit. Here are some ideas that John came up with that might help his sister Ann throughout the year
I have yet to meet caregiver who isn't dealing with one stressful situation after another. Depending on what's going on it can be both mentally and physically exhausting. Massage therapy can help on both ends. Relaxing both of mind and body to take both the physical and mental stress away even if just for a short while.
If you can afford it buy a package so the caregiver can enjoy monthly massages throughout the year. Massage therapists often offer package deals. You may be able to buy multiple sessions at a discounted rate. The Big Chain massage therapy places also offer packages. The problem is the massage treatment is often a hit or miss. One day you may have a great therapist and the next day not so great. The plus side is you can usually get in with just a few minutes notice. And that could be helpful to a caregiver who's never sure what the day is going to bring.
Reach out to your friends on Facebook or next door to find out where a good therapist in your area can be found. Some therapist will even come to the home. This could be good or not-so-good depending on the situation. You can also check with the Massage Therapy Association to find a therapist.
The key is you want to make sure that the environment is going to be right for relaxation. If there's a lot of noise and things going on in the house it may not be the best place. On the other hand, if being home will reduce anxiety that being away could create then that could be the best choice.
Hire Someone To Help
If a therapist comes to the house make sure there is a designated area away from any noise. Also, be sure that someone is in charge of caring for dad while your sister relaxes.
Make sure that you also schedule someone to take care of Dad while she is enjoying her massage. If it is a challenge to find someone to help the gift will not be enjoyed or appreciated. It is also important to find a massage therapist who is close by. There is nothing worse than getting a relaxing massage and then having to fight traffic jams to get home.
Facials, Pedicures and Manicure
All are welcome treats! Again, if you can, give a series of sessions. This way your caregiver can get away frequently and enjoy the benefits all year long.
A Spa Day Would Be a Real Treat.
Make sure that the caregiver has someone in place to take care of the one she usually does. Worrying about mom while you're trying to relax it's not going to be very helpful. The day should be relaxing and stress-free. If possible schedule a spa day during the week. Spas are less busy than they are on a weekend. As such, therapists are usually more relaxed and not in a hurry. And that's the environment you want.
Yoga or Tai Chi Classes
Again, think relaxation. A gift certificate for 6 months of yoga or Tai Chi classes would be a wonderful gift for any caregiver. But you want to make sure that there's someone in place to care for Mom and Dad so the caregiver can take advantage of the weekly classes.
Attending the classes will also help her to connect socially with people outside of her circle. She will be able to leave the world of caregiving behind her for an hour. Additionally, her instructor can probably help her learn movements that will help with the physical stress of lifting a loved one.
The Gift of Time
If you live close by regularly offering your time is probably the most valuable gift you could give. Make sure you don't just offer it though- follow through. There's nothing worse than somebody having to remind you that you were supposed to bring over dinner or come by and visit dad.
Give a gift certificate stating exactly what you intend to do. Idea- You could offer to take Dad out once a week for an outing to give your sister a break.
Make Sure She Understands What You Are Giving
Be specific. State clearly when and for how long you will be gone with Dad. Maybe you plan to pick up Dad every Tuesday night or every Friday night. And you'll be gone a few hours. Or maybe you plan to spend the night every Friday night or every other Friday night find something that works for you that you can be consistent with. The key is to follow through on what you promise to do.
Honor Your Commitment
If something happens, and it may, communicate quickly. Let your sister know that you won't be able to do it Tuesday night but you would be able to do it on Thursday night. Ask if that's okay. Remember your caregiver may be counting on this time off so that they can do something with their friends. Above all, treat your gift of time as important as a meeting with your most valued client. Honor the time.
Other Ways to Give the Gift of Time
A gift of time could also mean that you could offer to cook once a week and bring in a home cooked meal. Okay, so you’re not a cook. LOL Bring takeout once a week and have dinner with dad while your sister takes a couple of hours to run errands or just have a relaxing soak in the tub. Think outside the box. What could you do that would make her life easier?
But I Live Far Away
If you are not able to pop in for weekly visits because you live too far away, there are other options. Remember it’s okay to hire someone else to help when you can’t be there.
A Cleaning Service
Hiring a maid or cleaning service to come once a month or once every couple of weeks is a welcome gift for anybody I know. Knowing that there is one less thing that you have to take care of can take a lot of stress off your sister's shoulders.
A Home Care Service
Hire a Homecare service to come in once or twice a week. This way your sister gets a full break. Getting away for several hours, a couple of days a week can make a big difference and how she feels. SYNERGY Homecare has qualified caregivers who can help. And the great news is, she will be able to count on them to be there. SYNERGY has a large staff. You never have to worry that the caregiver has called in sick. A replacement will be sent right away.
Gift Cards And Services
Gift certificates for dinner out or to pick-up are always welcome! Also, a gift certificate to Instacart or Shipt. This will allow the caregiver to order groceries and have them delivered. The time saved with this service will be much appreciated by a family caregiver.
Visit As Often As You Can
If you live far away plan a visit at least once a year. This should be a visit where you take over all of the duties and your sister goes on vacation. I know you are thinking that you really do not want to give up your valuable vacation time that you have earned. But isn’t that the least you can do to help? Plan a couple of long weekends. That way it will not cut into your vacation time too much. And your sister can escape for a much-needed break. You may even consider paying for her to go to a B&B close by to relax.
Family caregivers have a tough job. And it may go on for years. Honor them this holiday season and show how much you care.