Many of us will be considering thoughtful gifts for caregivers soon – and for a good reason. Caregivers love our family as much as we do.
But, caregiving is hard work and oftentimes stressful!
So, caregivers deserve a thoughtful gift. Something that shows you’ve put your heart into choosing it just for them.
Whether the caregiver you are buying for is a healthcare provider in a medical setting, serving in your home with your little ones, or keeping an elderly loved-one safe, the gift should represent a token of your genuine thanks and appreciation.
I also think it should be a gift that matches their personality – a gift that they will enjoy receiving, using, and perhaps even keeping for a long time.
Sometimes though, especially if you are looking for gifts for caregivers of the elderly, a heartfelt gift will also fill an unspoken need – something that fills their cup so-to-speak.
Here is a detailed list of caregiver gift ideas to get you thinking of the perfect gift. You might even find ‘the one’ here!
(I have listed numerous unique caregiver gift suggestions based on my nursing experience and research throughout this post, however here is a quick link list for your convenience.)
This post contains affiliate links below. If you click on a link, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I truly hope you find this list helpful. *Be sure to ask about food allergies before purchasing food gifts.
A Break from Caregiving Duties
First off, more than anything else, short breaks or time away may be THE most treasured gift for a caregiver. As I mentioned, caregiving is stressful.
If you have family members who are providing care, perhaps the best gift for the caregiver on your list would be a break from their caregiving duties.
It may be that the most precious gift is the gift that costs the very least.
Perhaps just bring a treat or hot meal to share.
Caregiving can also be lonely, and taking time to sit and visit is priceless to the caregiver.
If they refuse, offer to drive them somewhere, to be with them, or do the mundane task alongside them. Hug them. Listen to them.
Distraction (through interaction) is also another way to give a caregiver a break.
Support The Caregiver’s Self-care
Many caregivers put their self-care on hold while they care for others. You can support their self-care through your gift.
Caregiving is always in a state of change and can deplete energy. Plus, caregivers often do not eat full meals.
A quick and easy power snack can be just the thing to get the caregiver through the rest of their day. This snack is not only delicious but made in a food plant that is free of the top seven food allergens.
It’s so good it tastes like a treat! That’s why bags of snack foods like these are perfect for a care package for a caregiver.
They’re inexpensive, so you can even consider several options or get them a different bag of nutritious snacks every month!
A few other ideas for a caregiver care package includes:
- Sleep mask
- Super-soft throw blanket
- Comfy pajamas
- Dark chocolate
- A gift card to their favorite grocery store or drug store
- A massage gift card (most caregivers would NEVER buy one for themselves!)
- Offers to cover their caregiving duties (doing it yourself, finding trusted volunteers, or by hiring help) so the caregiver can be away for their necessary wellness checks and preventative care.
Comfort Gifts to Pamper Your Caregiver
A night of good sleep is a necessity for a caregiver. But sometimes it’s hard to let go or the day’s challenges and relax enough to go to sleep. A simple but effective way to help your caregiver rest better (and feel pampered!) is to gift them some lovely lavender pillow spray.
A long day of caregiving deserves a moment for pampering. Or at least something to help de-stress and relax. (Also see great gift ideas for male caregivers here)
Soaking in the tub with these bath bombs may be the best home ‘spa day’ gifts – especially for caregivers that can’t get-away. (#paid link)
In contrast, if a ‘bath’ isn’t a good fit for your caregiver, perhaps pampering hardworking hands and feet is a better fit. (#paid link)
Gifts that Bring Happiness, Pleasure & Joy
While you can’t change the situation, you can make the situation more pleasurable. Here are some ideas to bring a smile to the face to any caregiver.
Caregiver Gift Basket Ideas
Picking a theme helps make it easier to come up with ideas, but just about anything (big or small) can work in a gift basket. TIP: sometimes it helps to buy the items before you buy the empty basket!
- Multiple pampering items like a foot spa, pedicure supplies, a gift card for a pedicure, warm fuzzy socks, lotion, and a gift card to a shoe store.
- Snack & Movies – pack in their favorite snacks, mix in some healthy options (like popcorn, dried fruit, salsa), add their favorite drink (coke, sparkling water, juice, etc.) and include some uplifting DVDs or a membership to Amazon Prime Video.
- Quiet – noise-canceling headphones or earplugs, soft slippers, bubble bath, soft fluffy towels, hot chocolate and marshmallows, a beautiful mug, a good book.
- Hair – their favorite hair products and a gift card for hair services.
- Hobby basket – fill the basket with accessories that can be used for their hobby when they have a few free minutes.
- Holiday basket – New Years, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother & Father’s Day, Memorial Day and summer holidays, birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and religious holidays like Easter and Christmas are all great themes for caregiver gift baskets.
Speaking of Christmas, another thoughtful Christmas gift for caregivers may include a gift card that allows the caregiver to Christmas shop (budget, travel, and guilt-free) for their family.
A caregiver might also enjoy a gift basket of Christmas decorations, and possibly help with the decorating.
Holiday decorations can brighten the mood of everyone in the home.
Gifts for Caregivers Who Love Writing, Art, Knick Knacks, or Items of Whimsy
Perhaps your caregiver sees the beauty in the little things. Gratitude rises from the colors of a flower or the notes of a bird.
For some, writing these things down can cultivate an attitude of joy or self-discovery to help get through the harder days. Gratitude journals are a good fit for those who like to write, but don’t have a lot of time to write. (#paid links)
Sometimes the ‘cute or pretty’ says it all.
Family members often say that their caregivers are like their angels. And, sometimes our family members are angels to serve as the caregiver.
The two gift ideas below can be a daily reminder of how much your caregiver is loved and appreciated. Especially if coupled with a beautiful, hand-written note of gratitude.
Anything personalized is also a safe bet for caregivers who like artful whimsy.
Is your caregiver a dreamer? How about a lotto ticket?
Caregiver Gifts That Offer Convenience
Sometimes items that bring convenience to the caregiver can make the perfect gift.
Tools of Convenience for the Caregiver
Pre-paying for a maid service is a helpful convenience. Some caregivers would love someone to do it all, while others would love a break from the bending and lifting of specific cleaning jobs.
If it’s getting more difficult for the caregiver to leave home, an Amazon Prime Membership (affiliate link) is a big help.
For the caregiver that enjoys reading, a Kindle Paperwhite coupled with the Kindle Unlimited Membership (affiliate links) provides the convenience of borrowing or buying as many books as desired without having to keep track of them, carry them around, or take them back to the library.
Tools to Aide Caregiving
If you have the opportunity to listen to the caregiver talk on a regular basis, you’ll hear where their struggles exist.
Inexpensive caregiver aides (coupled with thoughtful personal gifts) can provide ways to make the caregiver’s job easier.
Something simple like a whiteboard can be helpful and time-saving (the caregiver can write information on the whiteboard which may reduce the number of questions from the one being cared for).
A notebook or caregiver log book can be helpful if the caregiver mentions they are forgetting when something has last been done.
A pill dispenser can be helpful if the caregiver mentions they struggle with keeping track of dispensing medication.
Humorous Gifts for Caregivers
Caregivers will get it done. But some caregivers almost ‘own it’, hence their caregiving role infuses into everything – even their sense of humor.
Perhaps this funny slogan shirt (in purple, blue or black) will be the perfect gift.
Or, one with a softer touch and a hint of Friends.
Gifts for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
Caregiving for people with cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), and people with post-COVID symptoms can present unique challenges.
Due to the nature of AD, caregiving changes and becomes more difficult as the disease progresses. Meaningful gifts make the caregiver life easier – through stress relief, happy memories, or convenience.
As mentioned above, the gift of a break from caregiving is always going to be needed (even if not requested).
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, a gift to help the caregiver remind the loved-one will be a welcome gift. Caregivers answer the same question over and over.
Coupling a reminding gift:
- Tabletop erasable whiteboards and markers
- Calendars with family birthdays and events already filled-out
- A label machine so labels can be placed on drawers, baskets or cabinets
…with a gift card for a getaway or break (pedicure, coffee-date, movie tickets) can serve the caregiver’s needs beautifully.
In the later stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, caregiving becomes more time-consuming. Gifts that help the caregiver keep up with everything are a welcome gift to receive. Again, a break from caregiving is also welcomed in most cases.
- House cleaning or maintenance, maid service
- Dry cleaning
- Computer or technical support
Gifts for Cancer Caregivers
The items above can undoubtedly work for caregivers of cancer patients and those taking care of people who are experiencing a health-related crisis.
But, unlike slowly developing conditions related to aging or the elderly, some conditions arrive more suddenly.
These situations can occur more often in younger-aged people. In these instances, like with a cancer diagnosis, spouses may become caregivers overnight.
Gifts for People Caring for Family in a Health Crisis (cancer and COVID)
In many cases, families going through a cancer-related health crisis are trying to keep their home life as regular as possible. The expectation is to return to some level of pre-cancer diagnosis of life eventually.
But, these caregivers may be struggling with a variety of different issues. Therefore, gifts for caregivers of cancer patients can help with these struggles:
- Paying hospital and medical-related bills
- Worried about being able to go back to work
- Fearful of worsening disease
- Having difficulty adjusting to the changes and keeping up with meal preparation and normal house-keeping and family duties
And now recently, hospitalizations related to COVID are a new cause of a health crisis. All of the suggestions for cancer caregivers will also be appropriate gift suggestions for COVID caregivers as they adjust to their situation.
In these scenarios, coordination of care or services is a precious gift to caregivers.
Some suggestions include:
- Meal trains (and restaurant/take out gift cards)
- Transportation to treatment
- Transportation of children to school or events
- House-keeping and laundry
- Running errands
- Prayer and faith support
Monetary gift cards can also help in these instances if you do not feel comfortable asking about their financial issues.
Many family members and caregivers have told me receiving financial help with car payments, groceries, take-out, home repairs, or utilities (by paying them for a month or two) were priceless gifts as well as acts of kindness.
How to Do a Meal-train
One of the most organized meal trains I’ve ever seen included this process:
- An online meal train sign up tool.
- Set up with a cooler on a porch at a designation drop-off home with a designated drop-off time so this designated friend could bring the cooler to the caregiver’s home/front porch at a specific time (so the immune-resistant patient didn’t get exposed to multiple people).
- Provide a list of suggestions for snacks, desserts, and meals (with favorite recipes & grocery lists), as well as food allergies and likes or favorites. To keep it simple, they had a small list of ‘food we love to eat’ and ‘please do not include these food items.’
- And a request to use disposable containers (so dishes didn’t need to be returned)
- The family’s favorite restaurants and treat establishments were also listed so friends could help with an additional meal through a gift card.
The meal delivery started every day, then decreased over several months (went to every other day, then 2-3 times a week) except during chemo weeks where it returned to every day.
Gifts for the Spouse of a Cancer Patient
In the instance above, a list of the spouses’ favorite snacks and treats was also provided so people could put together a care package for the spouse of the cancer patient too.
I thought adding this list was particularly thoughtful! Plus, I can see how it would be easy to add small comfort items like:
- Repairing hand cream (to counter lots of handwashing)
- A nice shaving cream (for men)
- A favorite baked-item or dessert
- Lipbalm (a rarely mentioned, but a treasured gift)
- Candles or hobby-specific gift cards, etc., to pamper the spouse a little bit
Ways to Assist with Transportation
Depending on the patient’s infection risk you can help the cancer caregiver by:
- Transporting the patient to treatment
- Sitting with the patient during treatment
- Watching children or pets while treatment is occurring
Keeping life as regular as possible means keeps children involved in their activities. But getting them there can be challenging.
- Offer to transport children to school or school events
- Assist with transportation to extra-curricular activities
Gifts for Assisted Living Staff
In some cases, you have multiple caregivers. This happens, of course, when your loved one is receiving care at some type of caregiving facility.
But, showing appreciation to every special caregiver may be cost-prohibitive.
Whether you’re buying gifts for caregivers in an assisted living, nursing home, extended care facility, or even a hospital or clinic, the same idea can apply.
That said, the best-received gifts for multiple caregivers are personalized and sharable.
For example, a hand-written card personally thanking each special caregiver by name combined with a basket of favorite local food treats*, a large box of chocolates or a tower of snacks is always a success.
Another idea might be giving each individual caregiver a card with a kind note of gratitude along with tickets to a local event (like a matinée movie or play).
I’ve also received a thank you card with a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop and another person gave me a card with a $5 gift card to a local ice cream shop. Both were a wonderful gift to receive.
(*I would not recommend making the food yourself in this instance due to food allergies and possible local food laws guidelines. However, handmade crafts and other non-food items are often well received.)
Caregiver Gift – After Death of Patient
Caregivers feel the loss and grief after they lose the person they’ve taken care of – no matter how short the time of caregiving.
Providing care to someone is a personal and almost an intimate experience. It would be a mistake to assume the death of that special person did not affect the caregiver.
Thoughtful gifts provide appreciation and a personalized touch.
For example, a beautiful card with a handwritten note – or if appropriate a prayer – is helpful to the caregiver experiencing grief.
Another thoughtful touch is a copy of a framed photograph of the patient and caregiver together, or if not available, a framed picture or small album with pictures of whom the caregiver provided care.
Items that were important to the deceased may be more meaningful than a purchased gift.
A special necklace, stuffed animal, or item on a dresser like a ring holder, statue, or other personal items may be a special gift (as long as all other family members approve!).
In closing, it only takes a few quick minutes to match the perfect gift to your caregiver. As a result, the recipient of your gift will not only know you thought of them but how much you love and appreciate what they do for your loved one every day!
Caregiving is truly rewarding, but at the same time stressful, lonely, and isolating.
Hug them, touch and love on them, and see them. Gift-giving with careful selection is a great way to appreciate them and encourage them to take good care of themselves as they care for the people you love.
And, if self-care is a struggle for the caregiver, perhaps my free 5-day Self-care Bible Study would be a lovely gift (or maybe a present for you).
Written by Lisa Kimrey, RN. Updated 7/17/20. Original content written 1/23/19.