3 min read

Caregiver Holiday Guidelines

Caregiver Holiday Guidelines

I was listening to SiriusXM yesterday and one of the hosts remarked that the holiday season often acts like a magnifying glass for many families.

If things are going well, the excitement grows.

If things are NOT going well, feelings of loneliness and unhappiness seem more intense.

Either way, the "pressure" of the season can sometimes override much of the good.

Certainly, having a paid/professional caregiver in your circle of support makes a big difference during the holiday season because, of course, caregiving is NOT a solo act.

When everything is NOT on your shoulders, when someone else can be your family member’s hands and feet, the burden of care shifts to a level of freedom where you don’t have to be “ON” all the time and find energy to move beyond care needs.

As with most things, there are trade-offs. It’s no different having a caregiver in your home or your parent’s home. Really, it’s a balance as your caregiver becomes integrated into the household, which can include relatives, friends, neighbors, even medical professionals.

That integration is both beneficial and challenging – on the one hand it can be the support your family member needs, providing a trusted relationship and an open, communicative heart.

On the other hand, having them present can also intrude on your privacy, or family member’s privacy. Let’s face it, there are some topics and conversations you don’t want your caregiver to know about or be part of.

For sure, navigating and managing caregiver relationships may become complicated, and there are boundaries you should never cross.

Again, more trade-offs… 

No matter what, you want to maintain an employer/employee relationship with your caregiver, whether or not you pay them directly, it must remain professional.

You also want to continuously nurture that relationship, so they keep bringing their best every day which is most important!


Image 1 Caregiver Holiday Guidelines

With the holiday season upon us, should you include your caregiver in the family gathering you’re hosting, or would it blur the professional line by becoming too friendly?

What about giving them a gift, especially this time of year?

Does that set a precedent? Does it become a slippery slope? What if next month, the relationship goes south, and they have developed expectations for the future, and when those are not met, will there be problems?

Gifting or including … it depends.

And I know that’s kind of a non-answer, but truly there is no absolute way to go.

To help, let’s frame it up this way, and then you can decide what feels right for you.

I’m sure you’d agree that the ultimate goal of hiring a paid/professional caregiver is to create a nurturing, person-centered home care experience that you and your family truly desire and deserve. In other words, you want to create a winning home care environment where everyone’s needs are met.

When people feel like part of a team (that is, part of your family household), they develop a connection, a purpose, and a reason for what they do. Feelings of support enhance the level of trust and commitment.

So, using the example of a Christmas dinner family gathering, should you include them?

If they’re in the home actively providing care, it’s definitely a good idea to include them in the meal. Really, what’s another place setting?

It’s that integration factor. Showing they’re part of the team and they matter, outside of being just someone you’ve hired. 

If they’re NOT included, try to picture how that might make them feel, or your family member they are caring for, feel?

Of course, your caregiver may not be comfortable sitting down with family, or maybe it’s too soon to bring them in; that’s fine too.

An alternative would be scheduling them to come for dinner after the holiday. 

But, in general, if you can include them, usually that’s a better option as it helps nurture the care recipient – caregiver – family relationship, 

So, what about giving them a gift?

A key boundary never to cross is to stay away from cash.

Gift cards are OK but keep it small, like a $25 Starbucks card (though that won’t get you much in 2023) and include it in a holiday card.

You see, it’s never wrong to show your appreciation for the care and attention they’re providing because, as we all know, caregiving is a tough job.

A third option, though it’s a bit more involved, is to buy some Team swag to give as a holiday gift. Something in the $30 range. This year we’re giving out Team Ben stainless steel, insulated water bottles. Last year, we got the team fleece jackets (which were a little more expensive) but they were a hit.

I think you get the gist. 


Nurturing the relationship with your caregiver is an every-day activity, and it's always time well spent. 

How you do that, and when, is up to you.

But I can guarantee that if you keep nurturing, and it becomes almost habitual, the payoff is huge for everyone.

So, when you get a moment, focus the holiday season’s magnifying glass on what’s going well in your life, and on the circle of care that surrounds you; you’ll be amazed at what unfolds.