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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 238 - Gifts For Caregivers

Is there a caregiver in your life? A relative, perhaps, or a neighbour or friend?

Or are you the ill spouse, looking for a gift that will be both meaningful and useful?

Here are a few suggestions; not all will be appropriate for every 'giver', but I hope that you, reading this, may find some inspiration.

Audiobooks - caregiving can be draining, and can eat into the time and energy one might otherwise spend reading or watching a DVD. Audiobooks may be an ideal choice; they can be utilized while doing chores like dishes or laundry...or just when things are quiet and one needs to relax without too much engagement.

 An iTunes gift card - when one is too tired even for an audiobook, music can be soothing.

A pair of comfortable slippers - caregiving can require a lot of moving around, and a nice pair of shoes can make this a lot more bearable

Board games and puzzles - these are an excellent way for a caregiver and patient to remain connected as a couple.

Hand-held electronic games - great to help a patient keep occupied and mentally alert, and can be a relief for a caregiver who has to be on call whist his or her patient is sleeping.

Craft kits - really for the patient; one of the hard things about being a patient is the feeling of being useless, and the ability to make something beautiful and perhaps useful can make the caregiver's job in keeping up morale easier.

Promissory notes - these are 'tickets for help' that can be redeemed as the caregiver needs it, and can include -
  • Picking up a meal and bringing it to the caregiver's house when cooking is too much of a burden
  • Helping with cleaning
  • Taking the patient for a day out so the caregiver can have some private time (or taking the kids, if there are children in the household)
  • Taking care of pets
  • Helping with yard care
  • Washing and detailing the caregiver's car
  • Going on a library run
Incense - a house in which chronic illness is present, especially when incontinence or frequent vomiting is an issue, can really need a touch of freshness. Incense (I like sandalwood) or a potpourri can make a big difference.

Premium cigars - while smoking is not very good for you (but remember Fidel Castro lived to be 90!) the smell of a good cigar can go along way toward masking odors and can give a surprisingly pleasant ambience...and for the patient, can provide a measure of relief for pain and nausea. I use them for the latter purpose, and can highly recommend Drew Estate 'Acid Blondie', Drew Estate 'Acid Earth', and Tatiana 'Groovy Blue' as three of the best. You can buy them online from several retailers - I use Thompson Cigar. For those on a budget (like me!) Swisher Sweets are surprisingly pleasant, and readily available at Wal-Mart. (Pipe tobacco can also leave a nice, nostalgic scent, but smoking and maintaining a pipe does take a bit more work.)

What do you think? Can you add any other useful and thoughtful gifts?

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Ariel Sharon) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.

Marley update...he's probably going to be moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.


He's up over 200,000 signatures, but PLEASE keep the pressure on. If you haven't signed, please do! Please click o his name in the paragraph below.

If you have a moment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Rachel, and thank you for visiting.

  2. These are all wonderful ideas. I would have happily received any one of these while I was caring for Richard. Heck, I'd take any of them right now. Have as good a week as you can Andrew! Hugs!!

    1. Thanks, Paula...I sure appreciate your validation from experience. Hope you have a good week as well, and hugs back.

  3. Wonderful post and great tips. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Linda, and I appreciate your being here.

  4. Wonderfully thoughtful gifts for those who give so much!


    1. Karen, thank you so much, and I wish you blessings in return.

  5. Ok, the cigar part made me laugh ;). Does Barbara smoke cigars?! Pedro has never smoked, but he loves the smell of cigar smoke because it brings back memories of his childhood (he was born in Cuba).

    1. Anita, Barb doesn't smoke, but she'll keep a cigar burning when I'm too ill so that I have the aroma. I spent a lot of time among the Cuban population in South Florida, and cigar smoke's a pleasant memory for me as well.

      Thanks so much for being here!

  6. Love those promissary notes, Andrew.

    These are helpful ideas, some I would never have thought of. I'm appreciative! Would love if you'd share your link on my gift giving post ...


    1. Thanks, Linda, and I would be honoured to share the link! Thank you for the invitation.

  7. I love all of these ideas, Andrew, especially the audiobook idea. I do love a gift that gives me the flexibility to do other things at the same time. My only suggestion might be to give them a gift card for a favorite restaurant or cafe, so they can be waited on for a change! ;) Thanks for all of these great and creative ideas!

    1. Beth, a gift card is a great idea. Thank you for that!

      And thank you so much for being here.