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How Sandwiched Boomers Give and Get the Gift of Health

Dec 25, 2007
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're the ones buying presents for parents who have health needs, as well as for emerging adult children going off to college or living on their own who are concerned about their fitness. The gift can be used toward a variety of health related services - prescription co-payments, medical or dental visits, even some wellness programs, elective surgery and gym memberships.

We know that you're trying to maintain a life in balance yet still honor 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. Let your family help to clean up the mess 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 will all feel as if they're taking a more active part and you will be less exhausted as well as freer to enjoy the festivities.

2. Give yourself a break. Have your out of town guests stay in a hotel; it actually might be a relief for all of you and the beginning of a welcome new family tradition. Rather than worrying about all the desserts you've eaten, use that pent-up energy for a walk in the park. Or pay off some debt instead of 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 constellation, caring for the growing needs of aging parents, take a breather and call a friend. Share what you're feeling about what's going on - relish in getting it off your chest and some feedback, or in having a grip on yourself and likely 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 medical gift card to your family members. It's a present that is sure to fit and will let others know how much you care. For that family member 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.

(C) 2007, Her Mentor Center
About the Author
Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. & Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. are founders of http://www.HerMentorCenter.com, a website for midlife women and http://www.NourishingRelationships.Blogspot.com, a blog for the Sandwich Generation. They are authors of a forthcoming book about Baby Boomers and family relationships. They offer free newsletter Stepping Stones.
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