Caring for a Caregiver!
June 5, 2011 10:43 AM   Subscribe

I' m recovering from major surgery and I am bed/house-bound. I'd like to give the people in my life who are taking care of me a nice gift.

About a week ago, I had another major surgery. For the last few years, I've gone through some serious health issues, which luckily, seem to be resolving themselves after my hospital stints.

There are a handful of friends in my life who have really gone out of their way to take care of me - making meals, keeping my apartment clean, helping me with my physical rehab, etc. It can be exhausting and it takes time out of their own busy and hectic 30-something lives.

I know they do this cheerfully and because they love me, but I want to give them something to show my gratitude. I would gladly return the favor but that's not an option given my physical state right now.

I am limited right now to either purchasing something on the internet or calling a business to set something up, but otherwise, anything is fair game.

It doesn't have to be big or crazy - I was looking to spend maybe 50-100 dollars on each person. My first idea was spa gifts, but I thought maybe there were some more ideas out there.

I'd like it to be something that maybe relaxes them or does something for them that saves time, since they've been giving so much of it to me.

Thanks for your help!
posted by carmenghia to Human Relations (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A really nice bottle of wine, a gift certificate to a sweet restaurant, a a round of golf, tickets to a show... depending on what your friends are into, something customizable like that could work.

I'm thinking of these things more along the lines of relaxation/enjoyment than saving time... I don't think there's anything you could purchase for me or order online that would actually save me time.
posted by J. Wilson at 10:54 AM on June 5, 2011

It may go without saying, but I'd also write a heartfelt note expressing your appreciation and thanks to go along with your gift.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 11:05 AM on June 5, 2011

A friend of mine recently lived for a month with my fiance and me while she recovered from a serious injury. She needed help with most aspects of daily life/personal care, and we did devote a lot of time to her care.

She wanted, as you do, and as anyone would, to show us how grateful she was for our help. She has done several small but truly thoughtful things for us (she wrote a lovely poem, made us a little treasure hunt, and watched our cat for a weekend) and has given us a few small gifts. Her parents also sent us an Edible Arrangements fruit thing (delicious!).

Unfortunately, our friend also feels as though it is impossible to "pay us back" properly. She feels indebted, and not in a good way. She mentioned that she feels as though she should be over at our house washing dishes all the time. She has even offered to edit my graduate school papers. My fiance and I honest-to-Pete do not want to be repaid. We were happy to help and we aren't keeping score.

I say this because it is not only uncomfortable to feel indebted to another person, but also to feel as though somebody is trying very hard to do enough nice things for you to "even things out" and pay back a debt. I think it's a wonderful thing to thank your friends, but please don't feel as though your gift has to have a certain value.

I think a great gift idea might be a gift certificate for a professional massage. That's exactly what I wanted when I was caring for my friend.
posted by Cygnet at 11:40 AM on June 5, 2011 [5 favorites]

You know what? People who are helpful like to help. Seriously, whenever I help someone, it makes me feel good - feel useful - feel needed - feel love. And when I need help but don't ask for it, my friends get pissed off. I didn't give them the gift of helping me; I robbed them of the opportunity to feel good, to feel useful, to feel needed, to feel love.

One heartfelt "thank you" is enough, and a small gift is icing on the cake. The main thing is that your friends know that you'll be there for them when they need it. And no need for the burden of gratitude on either side.
posted by likeso at 4:38 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thank you all for the suggestions - It's a good reminder to keep it small, and let the action of caring speak for itself.

I had already planned on writing each of my lovely friends a small note of thanks and your suggestions have led me to reflect on a personal and small gift for each of them.
posted by carmenghia at 10:06 PM on June 5, 2011

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