A wise person once said, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. Good advice for all of us, but especially for caregivers who pour themselves out every day in caring for a loved one with cancer. The holidays can drain the last drops of energy from individuals already overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caregiving. Here are ten gift ideas to refill their cups and restore their souls.
Tickets to a holiday show, concert or sporting event can provide a welcome break. Double the gift by offering to provide respite care during the event.
Prepare a home-cooked meal that’s ready to eat. Ask about dietary restrictions and preferences. Use containers you don’t need to have returned and include small surprises, such as candles for the table or festive paper goods to minimize clean-up.
Offer to decorate or help with shopping or wrapping. Ask about their family traditions and how you can help keep them going. Baking a selection of their favorite cookies and treats can summon the holiday spirit in their home and yours.
Caregiving often involves a lot of time in waiting rooms. A good book or a selection of magazines can help pass the time enjoyably. And since everyone likes to be read to, a subscription to a service like Audible will provide a novel escape with a new book every month.
A little indulgence goes a long way. Give the gift of a relaxing massage or pamper someone with a pedicure, facial or other spa service. Package your gift with soothing lotions or bath salts.
Activities can be a great form of therapy. Tailor your gift to the individual’s taste. Puzzles, crossword books, craft kits, paints – even coloring books and markers – provide thoughtful ways to help caregivers unwind. Or give a certificate to a photo book website like Shutterfly or Snapfish to help them create a lasting memory.
Offer to help with everyday tasks. Pitch in with the laundry; grab a shovel when it snows; walk the dogs on a daily basis. Or go in with friends to hire a cleaning or snowplowing service.
Baskets filled with small gifts can be as much fun to create as they are to open. Tuck in soft socks, soaps, coffees and special treats. Or send a basket custom-designed for caregivers from a site like Healing Baskets.
Caregiving can be a lonely road for caregivers and patients alike. Rather than dropping off a gift and running to your next commitment, take time to visit. Share the meal you brought; watch a movie together; play a game. Sharing time together may be the best gift of all.
Invite friends dealing with serious illness to spend the holidays with you. You’ll reduce their stress and magnify everyone’s joy. Hospitality is a gift from the heart that will grace your home with true holiday spirit.