Want to give a family caregiver a meaningful present? I've been a caregiver for various family members for more than 35 years, and I would be happy to receive any (or all!) of these items.
Here are some ideas for gifts that might be helpful or encouraging for the caregivers in your life, grouped around a few of the things that, in my experience, caregivers need most.
Aromatherapy diffuser and essential oil. Research indicates lavender can be relaxing and promote better quality sleep. People also use vanilla, chamomile, rose or geranium for relaxation. I like the ultrasonic diffusers that use water to diffuse the oil into the air.
Make sure a diffuser can be used safely, with a wide, stable base that won't topple over easily. You'll also want one that can run without bright lights and emits continuous mist all night (eight to 10 hours).
A hot bath. Make a package of bath salts, oils and lotions with a note encouraging the caregiver to take a relaxing bath before bed.
Relaxation and meditation aids. A sound machine producing white noise or nature sounds can help calm the mind or drown out distracting noises. Meditation and self-hypnosis apps can calm and distract a worried mind.
For example, I go to sleep with Andrew Johnson's Deep Sleep app every night, and I played it for my dad when he was living with Alzheimer's. Other apps to consider are Calm, Sleep Cycle, InsightTimer and Headspace.
Alarm and notification gadgets. It's important for caregivers to feel confident that even if they sleep soundly, they will wake up if needed. Useful products include floor-mat alarms, bed- or chair-pad alarms, motion-sensor alarms, door alarms, audio monitors and video camera monitors.