How Sandwiched Boomers Can Give And Get The Gift Of Health

by : Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D.

Americans are busy spending well over $26 billion on gift cards this holiday season. And, just when you thought you'd heard it all, here comes the idea of a medical gift card. With the holidays literally right around the corner and your stress level high, it may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

This unique card is being issued by Visa and the targeted audience is the Sandwiched Boomers. They are the ones buying presents for parents who have increasing health needs. They're also looking to gift their emerging adult children who are at college or living on their own and concerned about their fitness. The gift can be used toward a variety of health related services - prescription co-pays, medical or dental visits, contact lenses, even some wellness programs, elective surgery and gym memberships.

We know that you're trying to maintain a life in balance while still honoring the complexity of Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa. Try to understand what it is about the holiday that is most meaningful to you. Then decide to focus on what you want to do, not on what you have to do. Let this time of year be a major step toward taking care of your own needs. As you begin to lay the groundwork for change in your gift giving rituals, treat yourself to better health by keeping your stress in check.

1. Ask for what you need. Pronounce the Christmas meal potluck and don't feel guilty about it. If they want to, let your family help with the dishes after the holiday dinner. Accept your friend's offer to bring an appetizer, or even the main course, to the New Year's Eve party. They'll all be glad to play a more active role and you'll have the time and energy to participate in the festivities.

2. Give yourself a break. Arrange for your out of town guests to stay in a hotel; it actually may be a relief for all of you, and the beginning of a welcome new holiday tradition. Instead of worrying about all the desserts you've eaten, use that energy for a brisk walk in the park. Or pay off some debt rather than taking the family on an expensive outing; they will understand and grow from the experience.

3. Find emotional support. With the challenges of college age children coming home, integrating new in-laws into the family unit and caring for the growing needs of your parents - take a breather and call a friend. Share your feelings about what's going on with your family - relish in getting it off your chest, gaining some positive feedback or having a good laugh together.

Receive, from yourself, a virtual stress-free voucher and relax into the idea of some peace of mind. As a remedy for the frustration of product recalls and the mall mob scene, make this the season to give the gift of wellness to your family members. It's a present that is sure to fit and will let others know how much you care. For that special someone who has everything or the hard-to-buy-for one on your shopping list, it's the perfect idea. And your contribution will help your loved ones stay healthy in the New Year.

© 2007, Her Mentor Center