Whether our caregivers are professionals, like nurses or home health aides, or family members, like spouses or adult children, their jobs can often be difficult, even thankless.

Professional caregivers have to develop that special balance of warmth, compassion, and practicality that allows them to do their jobs well, while still maintaining their own separate home lives. And family caregivers often have to make substantial personal sacrifices in order to do what they do, whether that’s leaving the workforce, changing their living situation, or rearranging their own family responsibilities to be available for the person who needs them.

Good caregivers deserve our sincere appreciation every day, but it’s especially important during the holidays. Whether it’s your sister who’s taking care of your parent, your spouse who sees to your each and every need, or a dedicated nursing staff at an assisted living home, take the time this December to show them how much you appreciate what they do each day. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.

  1. Bring in cookies, a cake, or other treats for nursing staff. Is your loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility with wonderful staff? Bring in a nice holiday treat for everyone to share. Often, staff are not allowed to accept personal gifts from family members of the people they care for, but you can always bring in something for the whole group. Homemade is lovely, of course, but not necessary—you can find beautiful trays of cookies at specialty stores, or order a cake with a personalized message of thanks. It’s a simple, but thoughtful way to show you’re thinking of the people who see to your loved one’s needs.
  2. Make your loved one’s home health aide a holiday dish or meal. Home health aides do wonders for both the patients they care for and the patients’ families. Patients who can stay home instead of living in a facility are generally happier and better-adjusted, while their families often feel reduced stress, knowing that their loved ones are in a place where they feel comfortable. Show your appreciation for a home health aide or nurse by bringing them one of your favorite holiday dishes, or make a plate for them and share a meal together. Having a moment to talk and connect will make both of you feel good.
  3. Accompany a small gift with a handwritten letter. Gifts are certainly a lovely holiday tradition, and a thoughtful one can go a long way toward showing that you care. But a handwritten note or letter can be even more meaningful. Even if you thank your loved one’s caregiver daily, taking the time to write something out will mean the world to him or her, and give the caregiver something tangible to hang on to and look at when they’re feeling overwhelmed or sad.
  4. Give the gift of time off. For family caregivers, like siblings or spouses, time off can be an incredibly precious gift. Get together with family or friends and arrange to provide whatever care is necessary in order to give the regular caregiver a day, or two, or three off. If there’s one thing caregivers need, it’s a chance to replenish their emotional stores—time free of those responsibilities will give allow them to do just that. You could even give them a weekend away, either alone or with a spouse or close friend. Who among us would turn down a mini-vacation, after all?

A loved one’s later years can mean great changes for not only them, but for their families as well. Caregivers, both professional and family, are a hugely important part of those changes, and they deserve to know just how much we appreciate the long hours and emotionally taxing work that they do. Year-round, make sure you treat your family’s caregivers kindly—even just remembering staff’s names will show that you care.

At Ashar Group, we care deeply about making the financial aspects of aging easier and less stressful. If we can help arrange a life settlement, ask your financial advisor to contact us today!