I would like to dedicate this post to all caregivers in the world. My definition of caregiver here is someone who is taking care of a sick person or child, whether at home or in the hospital. Thank you for your kindness and dedication.
I'm preparing a care package for a wonderful youngwoman whom I know will spend a long time taking care of her sister who has a serious illness. I will not elaborate about the illness, but let me say that this woman is a kind and generous soul, she is a single woman who works full time outside the home to provide for herself, her sick sister, her sister's baby AND her ailing mother. Her father and her sister's husband are no longer around, so you can imagine how this young woman struggle to stay afloat and keep her family together, financially, physically and emotionally.
I personally don't know this amazing young lady, I heard about her from a friend, but I really admire her courage, love and dedication to welcome her mother, her sister, and her baby nephew into her care. Things must be really hard for her. If you know someone who is in similar situation, I encourage you to send your own care package. Trust me, it will also make yourself feel good. And care packages are so much fun to prepare! This family lives out of town, so I packaged everything and send them over through the post office.
Grocery store gift card
I bought a giftcard for her to shop at a well-known national grocery store chain, which she could use to buy anything that she or her family might need. Considering that they also have a baby in the house, and the mother cannot give her son breastmilk nor taking care of her own child, this family will spend a lot for disposable diapers and formula, which do not come cheap. I sent her grocery store gift card before, and it was very much appreciated. You can do the same with giftcard from national chain like Walmart, Target, or online merchant like Amazon. We don't have it in Indonesia, but if you live in the US, and the recipient drives a car, a gift card to buy gas, I'm sure, is also a thoughtful gift.
Emergency hospital bag (for the caregiver)
Have you noticed that when a loved sick one needs to be taken to the hospital, most of the time the caregiver will remember to pack for the patient but often forget to pack her own neccessities? I got her a nice collapsible bag - it's not even new, it was mine and still in mint condition - and threw in all kinds of small neccessities that she might need for an emergency hospital stayover.
Travel sized toiletries, toothbrush kit, hand sanitizer, packs of tissues and wet wipes, body lotion, lip balm, small-sized towel, a nail clipper, a notebook and a pen, a pair of house slippers, a cotton nightgown to sleep in, a strip of vitamin C, two cans of bear brand milk (it's a famous brand of milk here that has been advised to consume to maintain stamina or during recovery period after illness), several packs of energy bars in different flavors, a bottled water, several satchets of instant breakfast oatmeal, tea, coffee and cocoa.
If she ever finds herself in a situation where she needs to rush her sister to the hospital, she doesn't need to think of what to bring for herself. She just needs to concentrate on what her sister might need, grab this bag, and off. Her sister might be able to use some of the bag's content, as well.
Not everyone likes to read like I do, but I think this young lady will enjoy this book I got her to encourage her and lift her spirit. I found it in a used book store. Again, you don't need to spend tons of money for the care package. Just make sure that everything is still in good condition, and will be beneficial for the recipient in one way or another.
A beautiful agenda
This young lady works full time outside the home to support her family, so she would definitely need an agenda. But even if she stays at home, she can use the agenda for journaling or writing to-do-list. Afterall, every woman loves having something pretty like this, even if she will only keep it and not actually use it!
Chocolate is believed to be a stress reliever. Not everyone loves chocolate, but I never met anyone who doesn't like Nutella. Here in Indonesia, Nutella is considered an expensive brand of spread, so it might not be in her family's grocery list. Sending her a jar means that she can indulge in this yummy spread, guilt free.
A big bottle of vitamin C
This young lady is the main breadwinner of the family. She cannot afford to get sick. Considering that in Indonesia vitamin is not common in typical household grocery list, this might help.
Food mix that might not be in her grocery list
I included easy-to-cook mixes of various healthy and delicious soup: cream soup, tomato soup. chicken soup, vegetable soup etc. They come in light packs that are easy to send in package and once received, easy to cook. Just add hot water, stir, and eat. This lady that I'm sending the package to happened to live in a colder state of the country, and hot hearty soup that she can easily prepare for herself at night after work might be a nice change from her usual menu.
A pampering gift card
This lady has a very tight budget. Most likely, she spends all her earnings from work for her family and doctor bills. She will have a very limited budget for herself, and she really deserves a break from time to time, having so much responsibilities on her shoulders. So why not sending her "spending money" to splurge on herself, again, guilt-free?
Perhaps a Starbucks gift card for a cup of macchiato and a piece of espresso brownie that she can enjoy before work? A day at the spa gift card might be too much for a caregiver, because she won't have that much of a free time, but what about gift card for one-hour massage? Surely she can spend one-hour to relax her tired limbs and muscles, and to be attended to, inhaling nice smelling aromatheraphy and listening to soothing music? One hour of free, uninterrupted time to invest in herself, so she could leave the spa with lighter steps and more bounce and sunny smile! Bookstore gift card might do well, too. Nowadays they sell everything in the bookstore like beautiful stationeries and knick knacks, not just books. You can do well with so many options, from Barnes & Nobles to Krispy Creme to Sephora.
It's just some ideas. I'm sure you can come up with many more. It helps if you know the caregiver personally and know what he/she likes, so you can customize your care package to suit the recipient. As I mentioned, I don't know the lady personally, so the care package that I'm preparing is quite general.
If all else fail, and most of the things I'm preparing are not suitable for her, at least she knows that someone cares enough to take the time and resources to create this gift for her, and appreciate her struggle and sacrifice.
Last but not least, below are two pictures of cool care packages that I found over the internet. They are amazing, aren't they! Of course it's what's inside that's important, but as you can see, presentation and packaging creates a huge first impression, too!
I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies: