In serving older adults across the country, we often help those who have served in the military. Many members of my family have served, so it is a great honor to be able to say that we help these elderly veterans each day.
There are quite a few members of the Home Helpers team who are veterans, too. For example, Bonnie Roberts, the owner of Home Helpers of Londonderry, New Hampshire, was a U.S. Navy officer and spent over two decades in the military. She is now co-chair of her local Caregiver Advisory Committee.
Do you have a friend or relative who has become a member of the so-called Sandwich Generation?
These workhorses split their time between caring for older and younger family members, and the resulting stress seems only to grow during the holidays — which can be an opportunity for you, as a friend or loved one, to lend a hand. With a bit of thought, you can find a gift of time or a considerate item that will be remembered for months to come.
Here are our top suggestions for what Sandwich Generation family caregivers really want, from our in-home care team at Home Helpers.
Stress Relief or Time Away
Gifts of stress relief are all about offering respite to the harried caregiver. The gift of some time off from their duties might be what they want and need but are hesitant to ask for.
- Do it for them
Offer to look after the kids or the elderly loved one a few hours a week, or pick a longer amount of time, and let your special friend get away for even longer.
- Offer to pay for senior in-home care
Helping cover the cost of the senior in-home care services of a professional in-home caregiver will let your gift recipient know you are tuned in to their daily struggles. If they already have elder care resources in place, offer to cover a certain amount. If they are new to the idea, you could help the family research local in-home care agencies.
- A babysitter — maybe your own daughter or son
Pre-pay for the first X amount of hours.
- Do some of their chores
Offer to go shopping for them, to clean the house, or to cook a meal.
- Gift certificate to a spa
A professional massage, manicure, or beauty treatment is often the perfect escape.
- A story to escape into
Is your family caregiver a book lover? A movie buff? If so, a great paperback, DVD, or gift certificates would be much appreciated. (Check out our list of top caregiver books for more ideas.)
- Entertainment tickets
What’s always a big hit? Tickets! You can get a gift card for a movie theater, or tickets to the next big concert, play or musical. Everyone deserves a night out once in a while
- A vacation (or a “staycation”)
Organizing a stay at a hotel, a day trip, or a series of fun events can give your special someone some much needed time to themselves.
- A night out
A dinner for two is always appreciated. And if you’re the date, then they also get time alone with you.
- Entertainment subscription
A subscription to Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, or a book club can easily become the gift they remember all year.
Cozy and comfortable
- A comfy blanket
A great gift for the family caregiver who loves to relax on the couch at the end of the day.
- Soft or therapeutic slippers
Family caregivers tend to spend a lot of time on their feet. Coming home and slipping into these can be something to look forward to day and night.
- Homemade scarf
It will keep them warm and always remind them of you.
- Hot chocolate, cider, tea or coffee
- Grocery store gift card
- Baked goods
- Lunch or dinner delivery
- Snack subscription
Services such as NatureBox, Healthy Surprise, and Graze are gaining in popularity. They’re a nice treat for those who love trying
newand healthy food.
Nature helps so many people relax and enjoy their day. Why not bring some plant life indoors?
Staying organized is a key to minimizing stress in any situation, but especially when it comes to elder care and childcare. Think about your family caregiver’s daily life. Could a calendar or daybook help them keep track of all their family’s doctor appointments, soccer practices, and recitals? Would a whiteboard help highlight food and kitchen needs?
If your family caregiver friend has been talking about getting back into a workout routine for the new year, here’s your opportunity to help them achieve their goals.
- Gym membership
Many community gyms offer gift certificates, or you can give them money to help pay for it themselves.
- Fitness classes
- Home exercise equipment
If they don’t like going to a gym, or there isn’t one available, a set of weights, an exercise DVD, workout clothes, or other home fitness equipment could be just what they need.
As they say, it’s the thought that counts. Here are some ideas we’ve collected that might help you think of the perfect way to show you care:
- Family photo album
- A homemade book of encouraging quotes, or a jar filled with an encouraging message for every day of the year
- A hand-sewn quilt
- Letting them know you appreciate them, and saying thank you
- Listening to caregivers and being there for them to vent
Over to You
What gifts for caregivers have you or your family members enjoyed receiving? Let us know on Facebook!
Be sure to check back next week as we share our gift ideas for seniors.
As the holiday season gets closer, I hope you all enjoy the spirit of gift giving. Just remember — the gift of time spent together is always the best of all.