As I prepared to go out of town to visit and care for a loved one, I made sure to pack a few items that I felt were not necessary for the trip but essential to my wellbeing while away. They were small, inexpensive things that keep me comfortable and happy and that I aim to have a steady supply of at home. I thought, “What great gifts these would make for caregivers.” Then I remembered that caregivers in certain settings might not be able to accept them.
Are you planning on giving a caregiver a gift? Did you know that caregivers in health care (or care providers) may decline certain gifts? Here, I share why and suggest 12 gift ideas for caregivers — stocking stuffers to stock up on and secret items to stash away — and simple ways to make presents even more special or personal. Show appreciation, consideration, and holiday spirit; save time, money, and energy, and use them for your own self-care, too.
Giving & Accepting Gifts in Health Care
Caregivers in hospitals, nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, and home health may turn down a personal gift that could influence the quality and quantity of care given and affect relationships between caregivers, care receivers, co-workers, and employers. Monetary or expensive presents such as cash, checks, gift cards, and entertainment tickets conflict with ethical caregiving, but intricate hand-made gifts are also concerning.
In general, modest personal gifts and gifts that can be shared with a group are acceptable. If it has not been communicated verbally or in writing through a handout or posting, ask the unit or office coordinator or supervisor about the organization’s policy on giving and accepting gifts. Alternatives, such as ways to recognize an employee, contribute to the organization, or donate to a charity, may be suggested.
Stocking Stuffers to Stock Up On
Here are gift ideas that are modest and can be shared with a group. They are things that caregivers never seem to have enough of and can be purchased in bulk and stuffed in a stocking or stocked in the unit or office. Add a special touch by picking reputable brands, seasonal produce, and holiday flavors.
1. Card or Poster
Express your gratitude and holiday cheer with a simple note, card, or poster. Choose one that fits the occasion, person, or group, write words of thanks and encouragement, and consider having others sign it.
2. Healthy Snacks
Supply ongoing fuel in the form of quick, nutritious bites. Consider pre-packaged nuts, seeds, dried fruits, trail mix, and energy bars, and fresh fruits with a thick peel. Avoid food allergens as much as possible.
3. Stimulating or Relaxing Beverages
Provide caffeinated drinks for staying awake and alert and de-caffeinated ones for keeping calm. Consider boxes of coffee cups, instant coffee packets, and tea bags.
4. Smooth-Writing, Black-Ink Pens
Present a caregiver, unit, or office with smooth-writing, black-ink pens, which are always needed to fill out and sign paper documents but are often misplaced.
5. Breath-Freshening Mints
Give mints to freshen the breath — especially behind a face mask.
Secret Items to Stash Away
Here are gift ideas for friends and family members, who are caregivers. They are more personal and more expensive items that can be made or purchased through deals or sales and kept in their secret stash. Select their favorite brands, flavors, colors, patterns, prints, scents, and sounds.
6. Non-Clinical Face Mask
Gift a loved one with a fancier, more stylish face mask that can be worn outside of work. Consider a designer version or making one, using new materials from your home or a local fabric store.
7. Moisturizing Lip Balm
Stock up on lip balms so that lips stay moist and kissable.
8. Hand Sanitizer & Hand Lotion
Supply sanitizer and lotion to help keep germs away and hands soft and smooth — especially with all that handwashing.
9. Emery Boards & Nail Polish
Provide files and polish to even out nails and give them a nice paint job.
10. Fluffy, Fuzzy Socks
Give comfy, cozy socks to cushion feet that often support the rest of the body all day.
11. Solid Cologne or Perfume
Stuff a stocking with a rub-on fragrance that won’t evaporate or spill and fits in a bag or purse.
12. Music for Commutes
In a card, include a gift card for purchasing and downloading music to listen to on the way to work, or a printout of a playlist you made.
When it comes to caregivers in health care (or care providers), the key to gift-giving is to offer presents that are modest or shareable. It seems that more can be given as long as everyone gets the same thing, but check the organization’s policy to make sure. Again, alternatives may be suggested.
Can you suggest more gift ideas for caregivers — things that they can stock up on or items that they can keep in their secret stash? Can you suggest more ways to make affordable gifts even more special or personal? Comment on or share this post below.