Gift giving is a challenge, no matter who you are shopping for. However, when it comes to shopping for a loved one who lives with a chronic illness, things can get even trickier.
As someone who has lived with chronic illness most of my life, I know how hard it is to ask for things from people who already give us so much. So in honor of my 35th birthday, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
Below are eleven things that your chronically ill friend or family member would love. So take notes and prepare yourself to be a gift-giving ninja. Happy shopping!
1. A Year of Cleaning Services
Cleaning is physically challenging and takes coveted energy that could be used to spend time with family and friends, work, run errands, or do something fun. A clean house can lift spirits and improve health. If you want to win at gift-giving, give the gift of a clean house.
2. Gift Certificates to Favorite Places
Between high medical bills and lack of work due to not feeling well, there isn’t much money left for fun. Take away your loved one’s guilt of spending money on fun things by giving them a gift certificate for one of their favorite places. Book stores, local coffee shops, movie theaters, or restaurants would be wonderful places to start with.
3. Fun Pajamas or Lounge Pants
Let’s face it – chronically ill people spend a lot of time in pajamas and comfy clothes. Fun, comfortable pajamas or lounge pants are exciting and make a bad day just a little bit better.
4. A Fancy Bed
If you have the money to spend on a big gift, a fancy bed is just the ticket. Depending on what illness your loved one lives with, a good bed could go a long way when it comes to improving their quality of life. The options are endless these days: memory foam mattresses, adjustable beds, air, gel, water… the list goes on and on. *Note: consult your loved one before purchase to find out what would be the most helpful for them!
5. Stuffed Animals
When you don’t feel well, sometimes you just need something soft to cuddle. You can’t be with your loved one 24/7 so get them a stuffed version of their favorite animal to hold while you’re away. Make sure it’s soft and cuddly!
This one can get tricky because many chronically ill people have dietary restrictions. Find out what your loved one loves (and can eat) and give the gift of food. Chocolate bars, ice cream, freezer meals, take-out gift certificates – you get the idea!
7. Lawn Care
Like cleaning the house, caring for a lawn can be difficult. Giving the gifts of mowing the lawn, weeding the garden or flower beds, or removing snow are creative and practical gifts that will be much appreciated.
8. Permission to Call or Text Anytime
You’ll never know what this gift will mean to your loved one. Many chronic illnesses come with insomnia. Long sleepless nights are hard and just knowing that someone is available anytime and for any reason is more than a gift – it’s love.
9. Adult Coloring Book
Adult coloring books are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They’re fun, relaxing, and can help relieve stress. Picking out a coloring book will be fun for you, and provide hours of fun for your loved one. Don’t forget the colored pencils or markers!
Chronic illness is lonely. Take a day to spend with your loved one. Offer to take them wherever they long to go, within reason of course. Even if it’s just a drive, it will be wonderful to spend time with someone and get out of the house or apartment. If your loved one is feeling too sick to go out, bring them a meal and watch movies with them. There’s nothing like the gift of time!
If your loved one has children, giving the gift of childcare is the perfect gift. Offer to watch the kids one day/night a month, freeing them up to have some alone time, go out with a friend, or whatever their heart desires!
So there you have it: eleven ideas that will make you a gift-giving ninja! (Click to Tweet.) If you live with a chronic illness, what things would you add to this list? Have you ever given or received one of these gifts? Tell me about it in the comments!
Until we meet again,