When someone is helping you with the care of your aging parent or loved one, it is natural to extend your appreciation. You may want to get your senior caregivers a gift during the holidays. You may have friends or neighbors who have helped with your elder Mom’s care and you wish to do something special for them at the holidays. We’re here to share some caregiver gift ideas, as well as guidance about giving gifts to paid senior caregivers.

Professional Senior Caregivers Gift Ideas and Policies

Can my Mom’s caregivers accept gifts?

Generally, caregivers through home care agencies or at senior care facilities may not be permitted to accept gifts from clients or families*. Before purchasing a gift, always check with the agency or facility. Don’t ask the caregiver directly, as this puts him or her in an awkward situation. Instead, contact Human Resources or the administration to ask them about their policy. They also may be able to make alternative suggestions. Many times, the agency or facility will hold a holiday party for their staff. You may be able to send a special dish along or contribute to say your thanks.

* This is another benefit to working with an agency. If you find out your elderly parent has given a generous gift or extra cash to a private caregiver, it can be difficult to find any recourse. An agency should have clearly delineated policies and can assist in remedying the situation if something like this occurs. It can also be a helpful way to prevent the gift-giving in the first place, as you can explain the agency’s policy to your loved one.

What are some alternative caregiver gift ideas to show my appreciation when someone can’t accept presents or cash?

  • Send a letter/email to the supervisor about why you think the caregiver deserves special thanks and what he/she does that is so special. At EasyLiving, such “kudos” are not only an important indicator of the caregiver’s quality work, we also give out iCARewards points for them. So, not only does this have a positive impact on their work profile, it also can help them directly earn gift cards and prizes.
  • Share a special meal together or treat your loved one and the caregiver to a special holiday meal or activity. This has double impact as a gift for both your loved one and the caregiver. If you are nearby, you might be able to cook some special family favorites and enjoy a nice meal together. If not, you can either get a special meal delivered or treat to a restaurant outing. Many local restaurants will have special holiday menus and it might be a fun chance for your loved one to get out and it potentially gives the caregiver a break from cooking.
  • Write a thank you note or nice card to the caregiver (even better, send a copy to his/her supervisor also or ask if you can send it to be read at the agency’s holiday party or caregiver appreciation events).
  • Ask the caregiver if there is anything that you could purchase for the home/client that would make his/her job easier. Again, this has double the impact as it can also improve your loved one’s life. Maybe the washing machine is no longer working well or the client could use some easy-wear clothing or a shower chair for the tub. Maybe the client and caregiver enjoy reading together or watching movies and you could buy some additional/updated books or DVDs (or a Netflix account).
  • As mentioned above, the agency or facility may hold a holiday party or caregiver appreciation event. You could send along a special treat to add to the celebration or maybe even send some flowers, balloons or something else to show your appreciation and make the person feel special while celebrating with colleagues. Check with management staff for ideas and guidance.

Caregiver Gift Ideas for Various Helpers

A friend has helped a lot since I’ve been caring for Mom. What can I get for her this holiday season to show my appreciation?

Any nice gift along with a note about how much you’ve appreciated her help will be a nice way to show her how much her help means. If she’s a person who does a lot for others, the gift of some relaxation time might be good so consider a spa gift certificate or something similar. Think about her interests or just get her a nice little holiday treat. It would be especially nice if it comes from you and Mom. Maybe there’s a homemade treat you can make for her together, or simply write/sign the card together.

One of Mom’s senior neighbors always helps her out. I don’t know her well, but I’d like to give her a gift this holiday. Any ideas?

The ideas listed above may apply. Since you don’t know her well, a homemade treat or gift card might be best. If you can find out any of her hobbies or a place she likes to go, you can get her an appropriate gift card. Ask your Mom if she knows of something she might appreciate. Sometimes you encounter someone who really feels uncomfortable accepting gifts (though usually homemade treats or something festive are accepted). Maybe you can find out if there is a charitable organization or event that this person cares about to make a donation on their behalf. This might also be a good time to ask the neighbor the same question mentioned for professional caregivers. Mom’s neighbor might have noticed something she needs, or maybe offering to pay for a caregiver to assist with certain tasks will help.

What’s a good gift for a friend who is a caregiver for her elderly parents?

The best caregiver gift ideas offer the gift of time. Would it be possible for you to stay with her parents to give her a break? You can do a combo gift, by providing her with a gift certificate for a restaurant or spa (massage can be great for the aches and pains of caregiving) or tickets to the theater, while offering to stay with her parents during that time. If she is able to, it can also be nice to take her out to lunch or for a fun day/evening out to relax and spend some time together. She might need a empathetic listener just to hear her frustrations.

Comfort gifts are also nice, such as slippers or a luxurious blanket or a good book (or gift card to purchase) or music. Preparing a meal or arranging a meal delivery service can be a nice treat. There are also many nice gifts and gift baskets online that are designed around relaxation or pampering. You also might be able to help with other areas, such as doing research for her or offering to come over and do some yard work. You have to know the person to know what is most appropriate, but your kindness will be appreciated.

For more caregiver gift ideas, check out Aging Wisely’s Gifts for Caregivers and Those Facing Serious Illness.

What are your favorite caregiver gift ideas? Do you know a great store for caregiver gift ideas? Let us know!

EasyLiving can help! We offer caregiver respite services, help with meal preparation and holiday tasks, shopping assistance, transportation and more. Give the gift of peace of mind this holiday season! Purchase a block of time, and we can help your caregiving friend make this holiday season more manageable (and enjoyable!). Call us at 727-447-5845 or contact EasyLiving online to find out more.

*Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net