We know it can be hard finding the right thank you gifts for caregivers. Whether it’s someone special in your family, a friend who’s stuck with you through thick and thin, or an especially caring nurse or doctor, it can be difficult to show someone just how much their kindness means.
Likewise, if you know someone who’s caring for a person going through cancer, you might want to help them out during the holidays, but not know where to start. So we’ve come up with some ideas to help you find the perfect gifts for caregivers – they really do deserve it!
Gifts for carers that won’t cost you a penny
Around big celebrations like Christmas, Eid, or even significant birthdays, there can be an added pressure to ‘make the holidays happen’ on top of everyday caring responsibilities. It might be that the person you’re buying for wants to make the occasion perfect, but is frustrated trying to fit it in on top of everything else. You could volunteer to go round and help put up decorations, or pop round with some seasonal treats and a festive film for the afternoon. Or if the person you know has children, you could always volunteer to take them out somewhere fun to get them in the festive mood.
Help with the food shop
Often it’s the little things that mean the most. Big gestures come and go, but if you volunteer to do a ‘big shop’ for someone who’s looking after a person with cancer, chances are they’ll appreciate the help! You could pick up their shopping list while you’re out doing your own shop, or even just take care of ordering their online shopping delivery. If you do want to spend a bit of money on someone, a great gift for Christmas or other holidays is a fresh food delivery subscription.
An extra pair of hands
This one doesn’t just apply to the holidays – it should be number one on your list if you know someone who’s a caregiver. Again, it’s the little things that make a big difference. Going round and taking on a couple of small tasks, regularly if you can, could free up an extra ten minutes for that person to relax and de-stress.
If there are a lot of medications to be sorted into pill boxes, you could help out with that. Preparing some meals that can be easily frozen and reheated is also a good option, or you could even just help by cleaning the house or doing some laundry. Your visit won’t just help that person out with the chores, it could also provide them with some much-needed company and a supportive ear.
A meaningful, handwritten note
Sometimes it’s good to be old-fashioned. If you want to let someone know just how much you appreciate them, you can’t beat a sincere, handwritten card or letter. But writing your feelings down can be hard at the best of times, and when cancer is involved it can be difficult to know the right thing to say. So we spoke to the charity From Me To You, who gave us some tips on what to write in a card to someone with cancer. Read the full article for lots of incredibly helpful card writing prompts.
A simple, peaceful holiday – not a perfect one
Big occasions like religious festivals and anniversaries can bring up some difficult feelings when someone you know is going through cancer. It can be tempting to try and make everything perfect, or to ‘distract’ from the illness and difficult emotions by being ‘extra festive’. However, it might be easier for everyone involved to accept that this holiday period might not be exactly like the ones in the past.
Adjusting things to be simpler, less tiring, and more relaxed might feel like a break from tradition. But it could also help the person who’s feeling unwell and the people around them enjoy their holiday period – without the added pressure of having to pretend everything is like it was before they were diagnosed.
Thank you gifts for caregivers – something to put under the tree
If you’re eager to buy a physical gift for your carer, or have some extra cash you’d like to spend on a caregiver you know, there are plenty of options that most people will appreciate.
A spa treatment (or the next best thing)
Regardless of the level of caring the person is doing, it’s likely they haven’t taken some time to pamper themselves for a while. If you can arrange for them to take a day off (and help organise back-up care if needed), why not treat them to a massage or a day at a spa?
Or if that’s a little bit out of your price range, you could recreate the experience for them at home, with a mini spa treatment kit or some luxury toiletries.
A day off
Of course, this depends on the individual’s situation – and we certainly don’t recommend organising this as a surprise gift! But if you know someone who just needs to get away from it all for a day or two, there are a few ways you could help them out. If you’re able to take over their responsibilities yourself, you could always volunteer. But if a bit more expertise would be helpful, organising a back-up carer could provide some much-needed relief. We recommend the SuperCarers service – they can set you up with a fully qualified carer by the hour or per day, for a range of different duties and levels of care.
They might not be the most exciting or glamorous-looking present, but if you can give the gift of sorting out a frustrating or tricky little daily problem, you’re likely to make a carer’s day. Things like easy-to-grip cutlery, non-spill cups for people with difficulty holding steady, or even a handy pill organiser could make the world of difference, and shows a great deal of thought and consideration for what the person is going through.
A cancer journal
We’re always talking about how helpful writing can be for people affected by cancer (and science has even proven that writing in a journal can help reduce stress). A beautiful new diary is the perfect gift for anyone who has five minutes every day to spill some feelings onto a page. And if the caregiver you know is overwhelmed with paperwork and appointments, there are even some beautiful cancer-related journals like the CanPlan that can help you record test results, symptoms, progress and appointments. Who doesn’t love getting new stationery?!
Gifts for nursing staff and medical teams
If you’ve been in hospital or have recently had a family member go through treatment, you may want to express your gratitude to the team of medical professionals who helped you through it. However, in many hospitals and caring professions, staff often can’t accept gifts over a certain monetary value. It’s best to ask if you’re unsure, but if you’re stuck for ideas, here are a few points to get you thinking.
A handwritten card or note
Ok, we know we’re repeating ourselves here, but truly the best thing you can give a nurse or doctor is a heartfelt sentence or two telling them they made a difference to you. It’s why most of them do what they do, and a beautiful card or letter will stay with them for a long, long time.
If you’d like to buy something for a whole ward or medical team, you could always go for a tin of chocolates or biscuits. But doctors and carers can end up receiving a lot of these around holiday times. Something more thoughtful might be a simple addition to the staff’s daily quality of life, like a nice coffee maker or teapot or the tin opener that nobody can ever find when they need it. Another option might be a large tub of intensely moisturising hand cream, because nursing staff wash their hands so often every day that their skin can get very dry.
Something for other people on the ward to enjoy
If you or someone you know had a positive experience in a ward or clinic, you might like to pass on the good vibes to other people using the service. By buying something for other patients to enjoy in the future, like some plants for the garden, a donation of books, or some artwork to brighten up the place, you can show your gratitude to the staff and make a difference for other people going through cancer.
This final idea depends on your budget and the policies of the team you’d like to thank. If you have some money that you could donate towards equipment, that’s great. But you could also offer to take part in a sponsored event to raise money for the clinic, or for a charity that supports them. Either way, if you’re able to give a financial donation to a ward or a care facility, you’ll be giving an incredible gift to staff and patients.
Do you have any gift ideas for caregivers? Or are you a carer who’s received something really meaningful? We’d love to hear your ideas for the perfect thank you gift for caregivers – drop us a note in the comments below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.