We all have a top 10 list, right? Well, if you’re wondering what to give the caregiver in your life this Christmas, (or if you’re a caregiver and want to give yourself a gift) I’ve put together a list of my favorites. Some of these will work for anyone, not just caregivers. Happy Shopping!
- No Spill Tumbler
There came a point in my Dad’s illness that he could rarely set a glass down on the table without spilling his drink. So we switched to a no spill tumbler, which I know is a no-brainer, but when you’ve been setting the table for decades with glasses, you don’t really think about switching over. Or at least, I didn’t.
- Red Plate
Everyone knows Alzheimer’s affects a person’s memory. But did you also know it affects their vision? As the disease progresses, you can put a plate of food in front of them and they’ll eat certain foods and skip others, simply because they can’t see them very well. Or perhaps they’ll try to pour white milk into a white mug on a white counter and spill it all over the place. Boston University conducted the “Red Plate Study”, where they gave patients with advanced Alzheimer’s white plates of food and bright red plates of food. They found that those who ate from the red plates consumed 25% more food than those patients who ate from white plates.
My Father began struggling with scooping food up on his fork a few months ago. So we purchased a red plate with a high lip. He eats everything on his plate and spills little since he’s able to scoop up his food more easily. The only downside is that this special red plate is so small, it looks like a kid’s plate. But if Dad is still hungry, we just give him seconds. Amazon sells these for just $9.
- Mortar & Pestle
People with Alzheimer’s eventually have difficulty swallowing, which is nothing short of heartbreaking. Since pills are a daily part of life for most senior adults, we purchased a mortar and pestle to crush up Dad’s pills and then mix them in yogurt for easier swallowing. I found a great one at Amazon for just $7.
- Hire a maid service for a thorough house cleaning
One of the sweetest caregiver gifts I’ve ever received was from some dear friends from church who chipped in to pay for a deep house cleaning from the service of my choice. Caregivers operate on very little sleep so anything you can do to keep the caregiver from exerting more energy is a great thing. (Note: they’re not slugs, they’re exhausted). If you opt for this gift, I would let the caregiver choose the service so everyone is happy.
- Pampering tools/Gift card for a massage
If there’s one sermon preached to caregivers, it’s to take care of yourself. This isn’t easy to do because you feel pulled in so many directions, that it’s difficult to carve out some ‘Me Time’. An excellent way to do this is to give them some pampering goodies such as a stress reducing scented candle, eye mask, CD of calm music, bath salts and throw in a box of their favorite chocolate or candy. Another pampering option is to bless them with a gift card for a free massage.
- Home cooked meal
There is something healing about someone showing up on your doorstep with a home cooked meal that you didn’t have to plan, shop for or make. When my Mom was recovering from spinal fusion surgery two years ago, we had a steady stream of ladies from church and friends coming in and out of our house with casseroles, spaghetti, taco salad, soup, vegetables and bread. The desserts they brought were worth fighting over.
It may seem like a simple thing, but to a caregiver, it’s like scoring all the best Black Friday deals online in your pajamas. If you opt for this gift, be sure you check to see if they have any allergies or extreme dislikes.
- Gift card to favorite restaurant or movie theater
This may seem weird, but when someone gives a caregiver a gift card to their favorite restaurant or movie theater, you look at that shiny little piece of plastic as something to look forward to. Your days are filled with not so pleasant tasks and chores and your life is consumed by your loved one’s illness. Dinner or a movie out gives you a couple of hours to disconnect from the illness and feel like you’re part of the real world.
- Odor Absorbing Air Purifier Bags
Let’s face it. With illness comes odor. You scrub and clean and mop. You light candles, febreeze and glade your way through the house. But sometimes, those things only mask the odor. I learned about these charcoal odor absorbing bags from a Facebook caregiver support group and they are AMAZING! They come in two different sizes with hooks if you want to hang them up behind toilets, in showers or closets. They’re made of bamboo charcoal, they’re toxic free, safe for pets and kids, and soak up odors righteously. After you’ve used them awhile, you’ll need to place them in the sun for a few hours to reactivate them. These bags are a bargain on Amazon for about $17 and make a great gift for anyone.
- Coupon to sit with their loved one
Those sweet handmade coupons we made as children and gave to our parents are still a great idea. A coupon given to a caregiver to sit with their loved one for an hour or two can be priceless. They may need to run to the store, take a solo walk in the park or enjoy an uninterrupted nap. I’ll be honest ~ some caregivers have a hard time accepting help because they worry about leaving their loved one with someone who doesn’t know the routine or what to expect. So if you give a caregiver one of these coupons, offer to come over and just observe and take notes. Find out what their loved one likes to talk about or what TV shows they like to watch.
Caregivers live in a perpetual state of stress, which compromises their immune system and leads to a myriad of sicknesses. They also struggle with anxiety, depression, grief, isolation and exhaustion. Even though I take vitamins and supplements, drink loads of water each day and try to eat healthy, it isn’t enough. I need more energy and stamina. I don’t do caffeine, so I’ve been looking for something for years.
I wondered, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a pill that caregivers could take to give them energy and help them cope with stress? Well Holly Jolly Hallelujah! I finally found something!!
It’s called ASEA and it’s a liquid supplement that has no side effects or toxicity. It’s safe for adults and children and you can’t take too much of it. I don’t have a scientific mind, so the best way for me to explain it is this: When we get a cut or a scrape, our bodies immediately work to heal themselves. But as we get older, we tend to experience more maladies because our cells are aging and are no longer working in peek performance. ASEA turns on the switch inside every cell in your body and restores your cells to health. The more you take, the better you feel. Am I saying it’s a cure-all? No. But whatever the issue is, it makes it better. It also comes with a 30-day, money back guarantee.
I’ve been dog sitting for a couple of years now and I always look forward to that time. I get to love on dogs, clear my head and catch up on rest. There were times I would dog sit and sleep for hours during the day, in addition to 10 hours at night. (Since dogs sleep a lot, thankfully, this never interfered with their schedule.) My body was breaking under the stress.
So a couple of weeks ago, I started taking ASEA ~ 2 oz. in the morning and 2 oz. at night and I am AMAZED at how much better I feel. This time when I dog sat, the week was full of running back and forth to my parents’ house every day to help Mom as she recovered from a sinus infection and take care of Dad. There is absolutely no way I could’ve done that without taking ASEA. If I had tried, I would’ve been so exhausted that I would’ve caught whatever bug or cold was floating around and been miserably sick. (In the spirit of full disclosure, this supplement has been so life changing that I decided to sell it.) To learn more about ASEA, click here.
And that friends, is my top 10 list. Hope it helps! Merry Christmas!