Thank you to all who contributed to our list as we prepare for the upcoming seasons. Feel free to print this set of tips; or, share this via Facebook, email it to friends, republish this in your congregation’s newsletter. We want to spread this collected wisdom. Many of these ideas will spark fresh excitement in your community.
as Leaves, Snow and Year-End Holidays
Blow into Our Lives
Give the gift of time. Whether it is a social visit with the caregiver—or respite time, filling in for the caregiver, so they can get away a bit. Time is appreciated! If it’s possible, offer to take the one who requires care out for a while—so that the caregiver can have some time at home alone.
Plan a short fall color tour with an accessible bus for caregivers and the people for whom they care.
Test furnaces early. Start them and run them for a day to see if they’re in working order for the winter.
Organize volunteers in your community to check on wheelchair ramps at neighbors’ homes to ensure they’re in good repair for the months of leaves, ice and snow.
Survey caregivers in your area to see if leaf, ice and snow removal is arranged for fall and winter in the homes where they provide care. Consider organizing volunteers to help out where the caregiver is the one who’ll wind up having to rake leaves and push snow, if you don’t help.
Organize a volunteer crew to help caregivers winterize their vehicles. Got snow scrapers? Check windshield wiper blades? Want some teenagers to give the car a good vacuum inside? Busy caregivers often wind up with vehicles jammed with stuff that they never have time to clean up.
Tech Savvy? How about helping caregivers get setup with Skype or FaceTime or Google-Plus Hangout for the holiday season so that, if they can’t attend a gathering, they can still join in.
Plan a “thanks for the caregivers” Thanksgiving-theme meal in November complete with substitute caregivers to cover their responsibilities at home. This is a great way to get local caregivers in your area to meet and begin forming a support group of friends.
Plan now for just the right holiday gifts to give to the caregivers in your life. Buying local products is wonderful of course. Looking to sites such as NoMoreRack.com and EndOfRetail.com might help you stumble upon a bargain that can express appreciation without breaking the bank.
Organize respite care to give caregivers in your area a “day off” to shop for their own holiday gift giving.
Have a family caregiving arrangement? Consider putting together an album of photos so that the primary caregiver—and the person who they care for—can look through the images and reminisce.
If you are in a close-knit caregiving relationship in your family—and gatherings are planned over the holidays—offer to be the one who goes home early so the primary caregiver can enjoy the entire event. All too often, we simply assume that the usual caregiver will always be tethered to the schedule of the person who needs the care.
Plan a holiday-decorating party for caregivers and shut-ins, after checking on what is appropriate in each case. This can be a fun boost for the whole household and may help weary folks actually get a little decorating done, when they might never find the time.
Share fun holiday music with your community’s caregivers. The gift of music makes an uplifting addition to the environment in any home. Think of burning a mix-CD of music to give to caregivers.
Make a plan now so that caregivers can choose holiday services to attend and can have the time free. Christmas Eve services are extremely popular, yet caregivers rarely have a chance to find replacement caregivers. And, consider having a service in your community at which caregivers—and the men and women they care for—can attend. This may involve planning transportation and a sensitivity to the needs of everyone who gathers.
Thanks for these ideas go to many of our readers, including Suze and Jenny Brown of Chicago, Nance Edwards from San Diego, MaryAnne and Jake from New York, and Bob W from St. Petersburg, Florida.