Photo courtesy of Unsplash.
If you know people who work endlessly to make another’s life better, be sure to take this holiday season as an opportunity to make them feel appreciated for all the sacrifices they make. Whether they’re caring for an elderly or disabled person, make things easier for the caregiver in your life by pampering them with gifts like these.
Therapeutic massage. Relieve all the tension and stress from their body.
Mani-pedi. Treat them to perfectly polished nails and a venting session.
Candles. Everybody loves the soft light and sweet smells of a candle. They can also instantly transform the mood of a room and the person in it.
Bath Bombs. Nothing says indulge in self-care like a colorful soak in the tub. Get some essential oils and lotions to complete the experience and have them feeling freshly relaxed and ready for bed.
Coffee. A gift certificate to their favorite local shop could be just the escape they need. You could also pick out the perfect inspirational mug to put it in so they can start their day off right.
Planner. Help them keep their lives organized with a day planner or wall calendar.
Movie night. Sometimes a good night in is needed, so put together a basket full of their favorite snacks, movies, and a soft blanket to snuggle up in.
Car wash. If they don’t have the time to devote to their vehicle, gift them with a fully detailed service so they are driving around in style.
Subscription to a meal service. Make life easier for them by cutting out the shopping and planning when it comes to dinners. They can get pre-portioned ingredients and instructions to make delicious meals for the whole family.
Gift certificate to a department store. Let them buy something nice for themselves without all the guilt.
Hair appointment. Get them a new haircut, dye, or style so they can look and feel their best.
Alarm system. AARP suggests “floor-mat alarms, bed- or chair-pad alarms, motion-sensor alarms, door alarms, audio monitors, and video camera monitors.”
Sound machine. Encourage meditation with a sound machine or CD. It’s important to take care of one’s mental health, especially if they’re caring for another. The Huffington Post notes that “Meditation can help boost the immune system, reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration, decrease blood pressure, improve your sleep, increase your happiness, and has even helped people deal with alcohol or smoking addictions.”
Flowers. Perk up their day with the bright colors of their favorite flowers.
Mail. Surprise them with inspirational letters and cards or add them to a wine- or cheese-of-the-month club so they have something to look forward to when they get the mail.
Phone accessories. A smartphone sanitizer, portable charger, or phone and key finder could all come in handy for someone who lives a hectic lifestyle.
Sometimes the best gift of all can’t be purchased at a store. Instead, listen and give words of encouragement. Remember that when shopping for caregivers, you should avoid gifts that will require extra work, regular maintenance, or time. You could even volunteer to help out with some of their daily duties or chores by paying for a few hours of respite care. In the end, as long as you’ve taken the time out of your day to make their life a little easier and let them know they’re not alone, it’s a job well done.
Can You relate?
Do you ever feel like you are expected to be a smiling super-hero but you feel like a little kid in nothing but your underwear, being held together by painters’ tape? Do you feel like you are expected to soar – but your cape is really just a thin, disposable piece of plastic?
Well, turn your back on all those perceptions and refuse to wear expectations (yours or anyone else’s) that cause you to lose sight of who YOU really are.
If you are a family caregiver, I do believe you are a super-hero. But I also believe you are human – and often tired – and overwhelmed.
I believe YOU MATTER!
Please take off the cape once in a while and just be YOU. Sometimes the most heroic thing we can do is say “NO” or ask for help. Take care of yourself: It will renew your super-Powers.
Valentine’s Day: Cupid and candy and hearts and flowers – and caregiving. When you are providing long-term care for someone you love, February 14th can be full of so much emotion.
While there may no longer be fancy romantic dinners, bouquets of flowers, or boxes of chocolates, there are still those special moments. Moments of seeing into someone’s soul and knowing – just knowing. Moments of tenderness. Moments of holding a hand, touching a cheek, or stroking their hair. If you are caring for someone you love then you know what I mean and you know just how precious those moments are.
Valentine’s Day isn’t really about romance. Its about letting someone know that you care. To me, its a time to celebrate kindness and human connection and love. Its not about the greeting card industry, but about greeting others with words of kindness and love. Its not about giving flowers but about giving a smile or a hug.
I think family caregivers really express the heart of Valentine’s Day every day. Thank you for all the things you do for those you love, and all the ways you do them, and all the heartfelt effort you put into caring. You are amazing. You are sweeter than any chocolate, more beautiful than any flower, and more valuable than diamonds. You are a caregiver. You are the perfect Valentine.
(The gift in the photo was created by a man while at a Senior Care Center and given to his sweetheart as a gift – the best one she says she has ever received)
Holidays can be an especially hard time of year for family caregivers.
I hope this post doesn’t seem too negative. So many people crossed my path this year who were struggling through the holidays that I wanted to give them some recognition.
I have this love/hate relationship with the holidays…
and absolutely love being with my family and friends, keeping holiday traditions (like baking day) and seeing the grins on my grandchildren’s little faces. However, I hate the commercialism and stress and need to please everyone. Forced smiles and feelings of inadequacy abound during the holidays. Parents spend beyond their means because giving that perfect gift has become a symbol of love. That makes me sad.
For many family caregivers, the holidays are a REAL mixed bag.
They can be a time of blessing and connecting, and giving, but they can also be a time of sorrow and disappointment and added pressure. They are a time of remembering – and wishing – and loss. There is this expectation of joy and cheer that often leaves them asking, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I feel it?”
The ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future can be especially haunting and daunting for family caregivers. Feeling exhausted, sad, guilty, and hopeless are all understandable emotions. So, if you can relate, and are glad to see Santa head back to the North Pole, taking the trees and lights and shopping frenzy with him, please know that I understand.
My New Year’s wish for you is PEACE, REST, COMFORT, RESILIENCE and true inner JOY.
If you have found ways to enjoy the true spirit of Christmas while caregiving, please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know if I can share them. I will put them together and share them before next year’s holiday season rolls around.
But for those family caregivers who find the holidays a struggle and for those who have experienced loss and feel something is “missing” this time of year, I hear you!
Give me a call if you just want to talk: 702-706-4707 or schedule a free session through this website. I really do care.
We live in a culture of ‘never enough’. There’s never enough time, never enough money, never enough help, never enough resources, never enough…
For caregivers, this philosopohy can seem especially true. It often feels like there just isn’t enugh of anything.
However, all of this ‘never enough’ thinking can leave us feeling frayed around the edges, spread too thin, and scared. We can buy into the belief that ‘We are not enough.’
Consider this idea instead: THERE IS ENOUGH. WE ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE ENOUGH!
When we believe in the idea of scarcity, when we buy into it hook, line, and sinker, we find ourselves living in this small box that seems to be closing in on us. I want to encourage you to expand your thinking. Start thinking in terms of ENOUGH.
There is enough time. Although you may have more duties than daylight, we all have 24 hours in every day and there ARE ways to prioritize, delegate, and set boundaries that can help those hours become enough. They simply have to be enough: They are all we have. Just the simple act of changing your perspective and believing that there is enough time can change the way you see, and spend, your days.
This same idea holds true for every area where you find yourself saying, “There isn’t enough…”
When you catch yourself thinking and feeling that there isn’t enough, try this: Acknowledge your feelings of stress and struggle – but counteract those thoughts by consciously telling yourself, “There is enough…”
This is especially important when you feel that YOU are not enough. When you feel like you are inadequate and/or lacking in any way as an individual, I want to encourage you to say out loud, “I am enough.” I have these three little words written down so that I see them often. I need to remind myself. There is a big world out there that’s sending me messages that say I am not
enough and that there isn’t enough and that I can’t ever DO or BE enough.
If you think about it, this whole concept of ‘scarcity’ puts us in the passenger seat. It creates a type of victim thinking. It also downplays real scarcity in our world. There are places and people on the planet who truly don’t have enough.
Believing that there is enough and that we are enough, even in the midst of the most difficult situations, provides a better, more positive, and more optimistic approach to life.
Try it! Just try replacing thoughts of ‘not enough’ with ENOUGH! See how consistently changing that one area of thinking, that one belief, improves your outlook, replacing lack with sufficiency. (And don’t forget to be thankful for ALL that you do have. IT IS ENOUGH!)