It’s that time of year again, the holiday season. Your already busy schedule is about to get even busier and on top of that shopping is an expected piece of the puzzle. Some love gift giving and the whole shopping experience, others avoid it along with the holiday crowds by cyber shopping. Regardless your preference odds are you have a family caregiver on your list.
Allow me to cut right to the chase unless you’ve done any family caregiving yourself, you have no idea what it’s like. It quickly becomes a never-ending day of to do’s for the sake of another human being. Who happens to be either aging and/or have an illness. It also involves an exhaustive amount of paperwork, equally exhaustive amount of time juggling with financial crunching and planning. All the while their own lives and responsibilities still need to be tended to.
What do you give to the one who gives so much to another?
The gift of a task completed. Paid for and done is a beautiful thing for someone who simply has too much to do. Is there a lawn service, snow removal, meal delivery, repair service etc. Be creative, think about their environment do you see something big and task-related that you see they aren’t keeping up with? Handle that, trust me most likely they either can’t afford to do it with medical expenses or have limited time to fit it in.
Hire an elder pro. When it comes to caregiving “knowledge is power” takes on an even bigger role. An hour with a professional elder attorney, insurance specialist, estate planner, geriatric specialist that can assess where they are now and how to help them plan for the future will be the invaluable gift that keeps giving.
The gift of Professional Respite. Everyone tosses the word respite around to family caregivers not realizing that not everyone qualifies for this unless they meet certain eligibility factors. Worse even when you do, funding and availability can be non-existent. Call a home health agency and ask them if they’re willing to create a respite package that would include (for example) 2 hour weekly respite visits.
Gift cards. Sometimes simple is best, I know everyone says it’s impersonal. My opinion is a gift card, especially ones that don’t define the store to shop at is always a win. It’s like a tiny piece of indulgence a person rarely gives themselves tucked in a drawer or purse.
The gift of YOUR time. I saved the best for last, though it requires knowing the person well. Caregiving becomes a very isolating experience in too many ways to discuss here. So many changes and concessions are made that just the one on one human connection gets lost. Roll your sleeves up, head on over there and remind that person that they are so much more than a caregiver. They are someone worthy of your most valuable resource…time.