It’s December and most of us already are shopping. Gift giving is the norm at this time of year to show appreciation to those who are caring for our loved ones.
But here’s the big question: What do we give?
SCENARIO 1: IN-HOME CARE 24/7
The answer to today’s question is likely to vary, depending on the caregiving situation. If you are looking for a gift for someone who is caring for a loved one 24/7 at home, then there is nothing like giving the gift of time. It might look like this:
- Give a certificate for an afternoon or evening out that clearly states that you will stay with the person who is in need of care.
- If you are handy, offer an afternoon of service in order to take care of needed chores around the house.
- Give an afternoon out where you assist in helping the caregiver and the caregivee, so that they can go out for an appointment or simply for a meal. This is especially appreciated when the people involved are spouses and actively assist with the transportation and transfers along the way.
- If you have more than one person in on the gift, provide a short getaway where one person takes the caregiver out and the other stays in with the one needing care.
- Provide some freezer meals that are easily reheated. Better yet, take requests for favorite meals ahead of time so you can prepare foods you know the recipients will enjoy.
- Offer to Christmas shop, wrap gifts, bake cookies.
SCENARIO 2: IN A FACILITY
If you want to show your appreciation to staff members in a facility where your loved one lives, first and foremost check with the facility itself on staff policies. Some institutions have strict rules on whether staff members can accept gifts from residents or their families.
If they cannot receive gifts you can usually still get a little creative and show your appreciation by making your gift an “it’s for everyone” experience:
- Put a decorated basket in your family member’s room along with a note that asks people to take one. Fill it with stocking stuffer items such as candy, individual hand sanitizers, or something that shows your family members personality. I once knew a gentleman that had lost his ability to talk. However, whenever we saw him he would give my kids a quarter. In his case it would be perfect to share that story and have a bowl of quarters out as a keepsake. My dad loved tractors so a perfect gift for his basket would be a bunch of miniature tractors. Staff members love to be able to get to know their patients a little better.
- Consider sponsoring a pizza party (or something similar) for a staff during a certain shift. Let them know ahead of time that you will be buying lunch/dinner by having pizza delivered. Bringing donuts also goes over well.
If specific staff members can receive gifts, then anything goes. Wondering whether money is appreciated? Keep in mind that many of these employees are not making much money for the work that they do. A gift of money along with a note that says “Thank you—spend this on yourself” gives the person permission to do just that. Gift cards are also nice. Talk to your family member about who should receive such a gift. As an occasional visitor, you may not know which staff members have the closest relationship with your loved one.
With any of these ideas, it really is the thought that counts. Big or small they really will be appreciated.
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