The holidays are a wonderful time to help the caregivers in your life. If, for instance, your mother is taking care of your sick father, she may be too proud to accept the help you want to give, so you can take advantage of the gift giving season to provide her a needed break.
If you are the one providing caregiving services, don’t hesitate to give yourself the gift of relaxation and a mental health break.
Conserve mental health
Caregivers effectively do the work of five nurses. They are always on call, and weekends may be harder than weekdays. While most caregivers do their unpaid jobs out of love, they are at high risk for depression and stress-related health issues, especially high blood pressure and heart disease. Those caring for patients with dementia are at the highest risk.
For those reasons (and so many more), no caregiver should feel guilty about asking for help or needing a break. It’s important to nurture our mental well-being, and taking time off is, in fact, critical to successful caregiving.
Coordinate gift giving
Friends and family of caregivers need to coordinate their gift giving to make it go further. If your Aunt Linda is caring for her sister with Alzheimer’s, her friends and family need to resist the temptation to just give her a magazine subscription or a sweater. What she needs is pre-paid adult day care and a day at the spa. Three or four people may want to get together to purchase these services.
Here are some other gift ideas for caregivers:
Holiday gift giving can be a blessing to caregivers if the gifts are properly researched and coordinated. Give everyone else a gift certificate to Applebee’s, but give your nearest and dearest caregiver some carefully thought out time off and peace of mind.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
This blog post is a guest post by Beverly Nelson of Stand Up for Caregivers. Her website offers many good resources for caregivers: www.standupforcaregivers.org
I cared for Mom for seven years and learned so much from my experiences with her and Alzheimer's.