A female Right at Home caregiver is holding up a piece of paper for a senior male client to read, while standing with his walker inside at Christmas time. A female Right at Home caregiver is holding up a piece of paper for a senior male client to read, while standing with his walker inside at Christmas time.

Family Caregivers Should Put Themselves First on Holiday Gift List

Caregiving can be stressful. When you add holiday duties—finding the right gifts for loved ones and friends, hosting family dinners, and attending parties—to your other obligations, your stress level is bound to increase. Although it’s tempting to pare down your task list, guilty feelings may creep up on you. If so, it’s time to take a step back and make this holiday season a time to ease your stress with gifts for yourself.

Give Yourself the Gift of a Guilt-Free Holiday Season

As the primary family caregiver of an aging loved one, it can be all too common to feel resentful during the holidays if it feels like everything is on your shoulders. That can be compounded by feelings of grief due to the loss of loved ones or a longing for a simpler time. Here are some ideas for ways to be kind to yourself and choose a gift that will help you be the best you can be:

  • Skip the mall. You don’t have to fight the crowds to find the perfect gift for those on your list. If you know which merchant carries the item, visit its website and have the item shipped. You may have to pay for shipping, but consider how valuable your time is. If you have an item in mind, you can always do an online search.
  • Say no. Yes, it’s OK to say no. You don’t have to accept every invitation to a holiday gathering. It’s OK to decline and instead treat yourself to a massage, manicure or pedicure without feeling guilty!
  • Order groceries online. Since the onset of COVID-19, most grocery stores have offered online shopping. For a small fee, you can have the groceries delivered, or you can choose to pick up your order at the store.
  • Let your grocer prepare your holiday meal. Many grocery stores have deli departments that prepare entire meals available for pickup or delivery.
  • Take a break. It’s OK to ask for help. Make a list of things you could use help with, and ask a relative or friend to choose which ones they are willing to help with.
  • Accept offers of help. If accepting help makes you feel guilty, it’s time to reassess your thinking. The offer is made in good faith, so accept it.
  • Order a meal or two delivered. Don’t feel you have to treat your family to a homemade meal every day. Pick up a ready-to-heat meal from your grocery store or have a meal delivered from your favorite restaurant.
  • Join an exercise class. Exercise is a great way to relieve both physical and mental stress. If you’re not interested in a class, commit to a daily walk. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for exercise recommendations.

Have a Caregiver on Your Gift List? Here Are Some Gift Ideas

For family caregivers, self-care likely isn’t at the top of their to-do list. You can help them move it up on their list with some thoughtful gifts. Maybe you already know the right gift, but if you’re stuck, visit websites like DailyCaring, Parade and Verywell Health, or do an online search for caregiver gift ideas. Here are some suggestions:

  • Gifts for relieving aches and pains. Caregiving can wreak havoc on muscles and feet. Gift the family caregiver an electric or microwaveable heating pad. Sore feet can be soothed as well with an electric foot massager.
  • Help with relaxation. Weighted blankets and soothing music or white noise CDs can help family caregivers fall asleep. If they don’t have a CD player, consider purchasing one for them.
  • Ready-to-prepare meals. Meals are available online or at the grocery store, making dinnertime easy and tasty.
  • Dinner out. After a tough day, preparing dinner for the family can be taxing. If you know the caregiver’s favorite restaurant, gift cards are a great idea.
  • Magazine subscriptions. Magazines can help give an escape from the daily challenges of caregiving.
  • Comfy robes and slippers. At the end of a long day, who doesn’t like to snuggle up in comfy clothing?
  • Gift cards for a manicure and pedicure or massage. Caregivers may have little time to care for their nails or relax with a massage. Consider a gift of a monthly mani-pedi or massage.
  • Your time. Perhaps the greatest gift you can give a caregiver this holiday season or any time of the year is your time. Can you spare an hour or two each week to give them a break?

How Right at Home Can Help

This holiday season, consider respite care from Right at Home. This service allows family caregivers to get some time to recharge, run errands, or simply catch up on their “me” time. A professional caregiver can provide that needed break during the holidays or beyond, whether a couple of hours a day or a couple of days a month. Contact the office nearest you and speak to an aging specialist about the services available to you.

If you are interested in receiving tips and helpful information about the aging journey, subscribe to our Caring Right at Home e-newsletter today.

Marsha Johns, blog author

Marsha Johns is a veteran health care marketer and award-winning writer. She strives to make medical topics understandable and relatable for all readers.

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