Finding the perfect gift is usually challenging in the best of times, but it can be more complicated when you want to cheer up a loved one with a serious illness or injury. Here are ideas for unique and meaningful gifts and gestures to make their recovery go smoother, whether in the hospital or at home.
Offer Your Help. When you’re ill or injured, sometimes the best gift is a little extra help. Some people may be hesitant to ask for it, so consider offering help with the following.
- Outdoor work. Shovel the snow, salt the side walk, water plants, or mow the lawn.
- Errands. Drop off/pick up dry cleaning, do laundry, pick up their mail, or offer to go to the post office.
- Meals and groceries. Go grocery shopping for them, bring prepared foods. Organize a meal delivery schedule for them. Websites like Foodtidings help you organize a meal schedule and put in preferred foods.
- Kids and pets. Kids: Baby-sit or take the kids out even for 1 hour. That hour will be a peaceful hour for your loved one. Pets: Pet-sit, walk the dog, pick up/drop off pets for grooming appointments, etc…
Gift Ideas. Sometimes you can’t always be around to help. Here are a few gift ideas to lift your loved ones’ spirits.
- Hats, headscarves, and headbands to cover up on the “bad hair days.”
- Funny cards and emails — laughter is the best medicine! Send funny animal and kid pictures/videos, funny comics, and videos of comedy parodies.
- Dammit Doll: Dammit Dolls are a fun and unique way for your loved one to express frustration. It is a 12 inch stuffed fabric doll which your loved one can slam on their bed yelling, “Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!”
- Air fresheners, because hospitals do not always seem so great! Check with your loved one first if they are sensitive or allergic to any scents.
- Personalized jewelry: Jewelry can serve as a happy reminder of better times and helps them feel loved. Give a personalized jewelry like a charm bracelets, necklace charm with a sweet message, and lockets.
- Gift cards! It may seem impersonal, but it’s not. Gift cards can be for household expenses or to help add in some fun: Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Dunkin Donuts, Chipotle, iTunes, etc…
- Decorative pieces: Liven up a bedroom or hospital room with decorations like banners and posters. Bring in items of their favorite hobbies: sports, TV shows, movies, animals, etc…
- Pillows: Bedroom and neck pillows are comforting. Bring colorful pillow cases to add a pop of color and to distinguish it against the hospital items.
- Clothing: Non-slip slippers/socks, pajamas, lounge wear. Think comfortable but stylish! When you look good, you feel good! It is important to ask them if they prefer a certain style of clothing (e.g. zip-up jacket vs. pull-over) because of any physical problems they are having.
- Entertainment: Send music players (MP3 or CD player) and portable DVD players. Don’t forget about headphones so they can listen without disturbing others!
- Photographs: Photo collages and framed photos of happy memories.
- Favorite foods, tea and coffee! As the saying goes, “Food is love.” Check first with hospital staff that the patient does not have any diet restrictions before bringing food and drinks.
These are just a few suggestions. Really, just being there during this difficult time is the greatest gift of all — but extras never hurt! Any more recommendations?