The Reverse Gift List

I would like to introduce you to new game that I want all caregivers to learn to play. It’s called the “Reverse Gift List” game. It’s easy and fun for the entire family. Here’s how it’s played. The only things you will need are a pencil, paper and a little faith. 

Ready? Okay, let’s start playing. Make two columns on a fresh piece of paper (or computer screen). Entitle the first column “ People I trust” and title the second column “Things they can do”. (Don’t race ahead or you’ll take all the fun out of it). In the “People.” column, list all the people who you think would do any little thing for you. And in the “Things” column, make a list of simple tasks, which would help you and your loved one. Then match up the task to person and ask for your holiday gifts. Allow me to show you an example.

People: Marnie (neighbor), Linda (sister), Amy (friend), Melissa (cousin), Phyllis (neighbor), Mary (Co-worker)

List of things: Cook dinner for us once a month. Pick up groceries twice a month. Watch dad for two hours on a weekend. Come over for one night to talk. Make calls to the insurance company. (Feel free to add to this list…it’s endless)

Now, when people ask what they can do (or even if they don’t), you are ready with bite-sized manageable tasks which will help you and make them feel good for being able to be of some help. The most astounding thing about this game is that once you become a good player, you can accumulate a total of an entire days worth of respite and support each and every week (an hour at a time). Remember, respite can be achieved on a daily basis with the smallest of kindnesses. And, respite does not have to be found outside of the home or take the entire day. Having someone watch your loved one for a few hours while you luxuriate in a long hot bubble bath counts, too.

The cost to play our new game is minimal and the winnings great. No money down and tremendous reduction in stress, strain and depression. So, don’t delay and join the millions of caregivers who have learned how to give better care for their loved one and themselves by playing our fun new game “The Reverse Gift List. A great game to play in any season. . (And nobody ever turns you down when you ask him or her to play. (Better than Parcheesi!)

(Batteries sold separately).

Gary Barg is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Today’s Caregiver Magazine and and the co-author / editor of the book “The Fearless Caregiver”. Send questions or comments to him at 

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