by Beverly Nelson
Caregivers work professionally or domestically to provide physical and emotional support for those in need. A caregiver can be a parent, a child, a relative or someone who is close to the person who needs care. However, caregivers are often associated with seniors who lack the mental or physical capacity to live independently.
As the holiday season approaches, and we go about our yearly Christmas shopping habits, it’s important to keep these citizens in mind. Since caregiving can be very stressful, providing a gift that will alleviate anxiety, while improving emotional and physical self-care will not only show that you care, but will also maintain a level of comfort. Here are some tips and gift ideas to keep in mind for the caregiver in your life.
The Importance of Caregiving
Since a caregiver not only feeds, but also cleans and maintains the quality of a person’s life, giving back is an excellent way to show your gratitude. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, a caregiver is either paid or unpaid to care for someone. There are over 43.5 million caregivers in the U.S., and about 34.2 million aren’t formally employed to care for someone.
Performing simple tasks, such as laundry services and prescription pickup is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the job of a caregiver. Other duties may include caring for pets, opening mail, transportation and grooming and bathing. As more baby boomers reach old age, the field of caregiving will expand as well.
Caregivers often view their job as merely something to be done, but the skills they acquire prove to be tremendously helpful for those who have become riddled with stress due to a loved one’s illness, diagnosis or life-changing event. Though caregivers typically grow into their role over time, women fill the predominant role in this arena.
Support for Caregivers
Though the daily tasks of a caregiver can induce a great deal of stress, those who fill these types of roles typically see their job as simply something to be done. Therefore, they are less likely to reach out for help since that is what they do for others. However, it’s important that a caregiver doesn’t neglect him or herself in the process of taking care of someone else.
Finding support for caregivers can run the gamut reaching out to family and friends, talking to a therapist, or joining a support group who will help them navigate their feelings. Caregivers are people too, so the best way to show support towards one who is facing difficulties is to lend a helping hand.
Holiday Gift Ideas for Caregivers
Caregivers may need help asking for help, so this is where you can come in. Consider the following gift ideas to pamper your caregiver and give him or her a well-deserved break:
- Maid service: Spending so much time caring for others oftentimes means caregivers set aside their own needs. They may not have time to keep up with accumulating clutter and mess at home. Home Advisor estimates that the average price of a cleaning service in Raleigh NC, for example, ranges from $103 to $173 for a 6-hour session. A gift of one or two cleaning sessions may just be your caregiver’s favorite gift of all time.
- Spa services: Make your caregiver’s dream come true with an all-day spa visit to wash away the stresses of the daily grind. She will leave feeling rejuvenated and revived.
- Meal prep: One of the hardest things to do at the end of a long day caring for others is preparing a healthy, homemade meal. Help your caregiver avoid reaching for unhealthy foods or hitting the drive-thru by giving him or her a meal prep service.
- Gym membership: Physical activity has been proven time and again be one of the healthiest ways to reduce depression, relieve tension and reduce the effects of stress. Sometimes, all one needs to start incorporating this healthy outlet into their weekly routine is a little nudge in the right direction.
- Art or cooking classes: If your favorite caregiver is creatively inclined, consider gifting him or her with art or cooking classes. A creative release can do wonders to minimize one’s stress level.
Caring for a caregiver is necessary – everyone deserves love and affection. With the holidays right around the corner, keep these encouraging tips and gift ideas in mind to help a caregiver nurture self-care this holiday season.