According to some sources, November is Caregivers Appreciation Month. Some list the actual day dedicated to caregivers and their selfless duty in February. Still others say it’s November 13. Isn’t it always a good day to show caregivers some love and appreciation? Here are 15 ways to thank the caregivers in your life all year.
1. Random emails, texts and cards
If you have a special caregiver in your life, thank them from time to time. This show of gratitude can be something informal. For example, send a text letting them know they’re appreciated in general. Or send a more detailed email thanking them for something specific. This is a lovely thing to do if they go above and beyond in some way. Or maybe they’re just consistently reliable. Thank you messages can also be a nice touch for someone’s birthday, anniversary or a special holiday. As you know, caring for others is not easy. Therefore, letting caregivers know you recognize their sacrifice helps them feel good about the work they do. Click here to find some lovely, inspirational messages. Or write your own!
2. Gift cards
What does your caregiver like to do as a special treat? Routinely talk to them and gather ideas for appropriate gift cards. Perhaps they would feel pampered with a massage or manicure. Or maybe they like to frequent a local coffee shop or bookstore. If you’re gifting them something lengthy like tickets to a movie or a whole spa day, consider pairing the gift with an offer to babysit or cover their shift that day.
Regularly ask caregivers about themselves. Give them an opportunity to talk about their interests, health issues or other concerns. Ask open-ended questions that show an interest. Fix them a cup of coffee or tea, then sit and listen to whatever they have to say. Allowing someone to vent, or just talk, is a precious gift. This is especially true with people who spend most of their time making it about everyone else. Shine the spotlight on them for a change.
4. Respite care
Set aside a day every week or month to give caregivers a break. Respite means you take over and allow them to spend some time on themselves. If you’re the spouse or partner of someone providing respite care, take over extra duties at home so they can give this gift of time to the caregiver. Team work makes the dream work! When you provide respite care, encourage your caregiver to take an extended nap, go out to lunch with friends or do whatever they want to enjoy some well-deserved time off. You can even hire an end-of-life doula to add to your care team. Part of a doula’s job is to provide structure and free time for caregivers and volunteers.
5. Gift caregivers a special basket
Put together a themed basket with some of their favorites. This could include self-care items like face masks and bath bombs or a blend of red and white wines with cheese and crackers. Movie buffs appreciate baskets with popcorn, candy, soda, and gift cards for a movie streaming service. Get creative!
6. Cook a meal or have one delivered
Sometimes caregivers are so busy caring for others, they forget about themselves. Do you know of a special dish or dessert they enjoy? Put a meal together that can be stored in the freezer for whenever they’d like to enjoy it. There are also plenty of services that deliver fruits, vegetables, meals or cakes. Click here to find your caregiver’s favorite restaurant and send something from anywhere in the world.
7. Write a letter
Receiving a heartwarming, handwritten letter brings a big smile to anyone’s face. Your personal note of gratitude sends a powerful message of appreciation. It also shows you recognize their hard work and the important role they play in your life.
8. Be their caregiver for a change
Offer to help and be specific. For example, set aside some time to run errands for them. This includes picking up groceries, dry cleaning or driving them to the doctor’s office. Encourage them to think of you as a source of support.
9. Send flowers
A simple bouquet of flowers brightens up someone’s day. These can be professionally arranged, from your own garden or handpicked wildflowers from the local park. They fill the whole room (or house) with love. They smell nice, too!
What is your caregiver’s favorite cause or charity? Whether it’s a local nonprofit or international organization, find it online and make a monetary donation in their name. Make sure the charity lets them know.
11. Visit them when you can
Sometimes the most valuable gift we can give is our time. Spend an afternoon sitting with your caregiver and catching up.
12. Deliver some treats from a local bakery
We might not think to indulge in gourmet cakes or cupcakes. That’s why it’s so special when someone gets them for us. Consider this the next time your caregiver celebrates a birthday or just because!
13. Babysitting/Pet Sitting
Send your caregiver out for a date night with their partner and offer to watch their children and/or pets. This is often the most expensive part of a night out. Taking care of their little ones, furry or otherwise, makes it possible for them to spend quality time with the adults in their lives.
14. Advocate for caregivers
Spread the word on social media. Remind others that caregivers deserve some love. This includes voting for lawmakers who support those working in at-home care. Make sure they know you consider them a priority and worthy of support.
15. Provide them with resources.
Really tune in to the caregivers in your world – whether they’re caring for family, friends or neighbors. For instance, would they benefit from support groups, training sessions or local forums? Pass along information you find to help them with self-care options. Share ideas for how to deal with issues that come up. They might also benefit from online classes that expand their skills and abilities.
These are all ways to thank caregivers in your life. Ultimately, no matter what you do, make sure they know how special they are – to all of us.