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Would you like to show a caregiver appreciation? Do you want to give a meaningful token of gratitude to a caregiver for their dedication and commitment to care? Beverly Nelson, writer for Stand Up for Caregivers has offered to write this article for our blog to suggest gift ideas for caregivers.

According to a 2015 report from AARP, an estimated 39.8 million Americans spent some time providing unpaid care for an adult. So, odds are good that you have a caregiver or two on your shopping list who could use gifts that help them save time, reduce stress, and relax. Here are gift ideas for those who might need encouragement to take a break from caring for others to practice a little loving self-care.

Get the Caregiver Cooking

Meal-delivery services like Blue Apron and Sun Basket can be great gifts for time-pressed caregivers who want to have home-cooked dinners, but might not be able to make time to do their own grocery shopping. These meal kits can also offer a welcome variety of interesting ingredients and ideas for busy cooks in a recipe rut or novice chefs who would like to expand their repertoire in the kitchen.

What’s more, home-cooked meals can encourage healthy eating, which can fall to the wayside for busy caregivers who might be hitting the fast-food drive through more than they’d like. And research shows a nutrient-rich diet is good for the body and brain alike. Likewise, the simple acts of slicing, dicing, and sautéing can cultivate a sense of mindfulness, appreciation, and connection to food — and the friends and family it’s shared with — which are all things that reduce stress and promote relaxation.

But not all meal-delivery services are created equally. When selecting the best boxes for the caregivers on your shopping list, read reviews and consider factors including their experience level in the kitchen and any special dietary requirements or preferences they might have.

Get the Caregiver Coloring

Providing assistance to loved ones often includes long stretches when caregivers might be on call to offer help at a moment’s notice, but have little to keep themselves occupied. Boredom can also befall those receiving care. Consider giving gifts that will help keep caregivers occupied and engaged. And think of it as a bonus if those gifts provide an opportunity for caregivers and those they’re caring for to interact in a meaningful way.

For instance, adult coloring books can help people focus their attention away from caregiving concerns and other personal worries and increase feelings of relaxation and awareness of the present moment, very much in the same way meditation can. And, while coloring requires some level of attention, it’s a low-stakes activity.

These factors help make coloring fun and relaxing for many, including some seniors and others who need assistance from a caregiver to complete more complex or physical tasks. For these adults, coloring can also boost dexterity, improve hand-eye coordination, and help maintain motor function — all while providing an outlet for creativity and self-expression.

Get the Caregiver Out of the House

Caregiving situations might make it as difficult for the person providing care to get out and about as it is for the person receiving care. In those cases, caregivers would likely welcome a gift certificate to a spa for a manicure or massage. And, to encourage them to actually use the gift, make sure the spa is in a convenient location, and offer to provide respite care while the primary caregiver is taking a well-deserved break.

Or, better yet, make alternate respite care arrangements and take the caregiver on your holiday shopping list out for dinner. You’ll both probably appreciate the opportunity to have conversation over an indulgent appetizer or decadent dessert. Organizations including the Family Caregiver Alliance can provide information on respite care options and help you research respite care in your area.

The holidays are the perfect time to show your love for the caregivers in your life. And, no matter which of these options you choose, they will appreciate the hard-earned recognition and relaxation the gifts give.

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