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Caring Gifts for Caregivers
By Cheryl Ellis, Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 2)

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 consideration.
  • 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.


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