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Caring Gifts for Caregivers
By Cheryl Ellis, Staff Writer
Practical gift options also include enrolling the loved
on in the Safe Return program from the Alzheimerís
Association. For caregivers, the organization supplies
jewelry that indicates one is a caregiver. The Safe
Return program operates 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
Friends and family can pool funds to offer this gift to
those who care for the person.
Individuals in home improvement occupations can offer
their services to help make the home a safer place. This
is especially helpful when larger bathrooms are needed,
doorways replaced with wider-swinging hinges, or other
ideas that make home design safer.
Clothing repair or alteration can be a gift as well.
Budgets may not be able to handle buying new clothes,
but everything old becomes new when adorned with fabric
paint or iron on decals. A favorite blouse that has
become stained may not be able to have the stain
removed. Yet, the dye artist can create a new piece with
a run through the washing machine. Even later stage
patients can appreciate a re-working of color. As long
as everyone is careful that paint or sewn on items hold
fast, it becomes a snappy garment.
Ideally, the gift caregivers and interested parties want
to give is the gift of healing and recovery. Such an
option exists in making donations in the name of the
family unit and patient. Until a lasting cure is found
for Alzheimerís and related processes, any gift from the
heart is special.
Gifting Do, Gifting Donít
- Be aware of the ability of the person to use equipment,
even something simple like a radio. You may spend time
showing them how to use it, but even early stage
patients may find they are frustrated. This calls
attention to their memory disorder and can push
caregivers to the limit if they are unfamiliar with the
equipment (such as DVD players).
Donít assume that the individual has the same tastes
they once did. Grandma may have loved orange, but canít
stand it now. Take the current situation and likes into
Donít be upset if the loved one expresses displeasure
over the gift. Their minds are changing, and it often
has nothing to do with you or your selection. Later,
they may grow to like your choice very much.
When giving to caregivers, use the same rules. Caring
for the loved one short circuits the whole
family, and it may not be a case of like or dislike.
Include receipts to allow for exchanges. Purchasing an
expensive piece of jewelry may seem like a great way to
uplift someone who has to deal with the mundane. But
if it isnít practical because standard gear is a
t-shirt and sweats, itís best to forego the glamour.