Now that the holidays are here, many of us have started looking for the perfect gift to give to our loved ones. Finding the right gift can be hard. But when you are trying to buy a gift for someone with a chronic illness, it may be even harder.
Chronic illnesses are persistent or long-lasting health conditions that likely don’t have a cure. Some conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, can be life-threatening, whereas others, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis, linger over time and require intensive management. Having a chronic illness means making many lifestyle adjustments to accommodate the demands of the condition.
Symptoms like fatigue, pain, and mood swings often accompany chronic illness. As a result, people with long-term illnesses tend to stay in bed longer, have lower energy levels, and find it difficult to attend social events frequently. While the gift of a cure for chronic conditions doesn’t exist, there are some gifts that can make their condition more manageable and show your loved ones you care.
Gifts for Someone with Chronic Illness
Here are a few gift ideas to get you started:
Heat therapy is an important part of pain management. It works by improving circulation and blood flow to areas where heat is applied due to the increase in temperature. Increasing temperature can help alleviate pain, relax muscles and heal damaged tissues, all while keeping you cozy and comfortable. Heating pads are a wonderful gift because they can be used for dry (conducted heat therapy) or moist heat (convection heat), and can be used anywhere on the body. When looking for the right heating pad, make sure to look for one that has different temperature settings and is the appropriate size.
People with chronic illnesses often have difficulty staying warm, making blankets the perfect gift for your loved one. Heated blankets can help keep the heating bill down while keeping you warm and easing pain. Weighted blankets have been shown to have many benefits, like improving sleep quality, providing security, easing anxiety. Even a cozy throw blanket can help people feel more comfortable and ease their worries.
A body pillow is a long, narrow pillow meant to be cradled between your legs when sleeping on your side. They can help improve spinal alignment and provide pressure point relief. Basically, body pillows are designed to help you get more comfortable, which makes them the perfect gift for someone who struggles to get comfortable most of the time. Having a chronic illness sometimes means laying in bed for days or weeks at a time, which can cause stiffness and body aches. A body pillow can help you find other positions to get more comfortable.
Coloring isn’t just for kids. Adult coloring books have flooded shelves in recent years, and there’s good reason for it. Coloring requires attention, helping us to focus on the task at hand rather than worrying about all the other things that pop up during the day. It’s a great way to help someone with a chronic illness take their mind off their pain and redirect it to something fun. In addition to shifting our focus, studies show that coloring can help relax the brain, relieve stress, and reduce anxiety – all of which can be overwhelming when you have a chronic illness.
No matter how the day is going, tea seems to solve just about every problem. From stress at work to painful joints or a sore throat, there’s tea for every issue. No matter the variety, there are dozens of benefits of drinking tea. Green tea in particular has been shown to help fight inflammation, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and improve metabolic function.
When browsing for the right types of teas, look for ones that are lower in caffeine like herbal and white teas. Try to choose teas that include ingredients like chamomile, ginger, lavender, lemon, or turmeric. Not only do they add another level of flavor, but they can help relieve stress and reduce anxiety.
Kindle or E-Reader
For many people with chronic illness, reading from an actual book can be a challenge. Hands may cramp up easier or become stiff and vision can become blurry making it difficult to read smaller front on the pages. Kindles or other e-readers make reading more enjoyable and accessible for someone with a chronic illness because they can easily adjust the brightness, size of the font, and don’t have to worry about holding pages down and turning them. It’s also an easier way to read a lot of books and carry them around with you everywhere you go. If you’re loved one already has an e-reader, consider getting them a subscription or gift card to buy e-books.
In addition to e-books subscriptions, subscription to entertainment services like Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Max can make for a great gift. Oftentimes, people with chronic illness spend a lot of time trying to entertain themselves. Entertainment services can be a great way to help someone relax and distract them from their pain. During the holiday season, many services offer a discounted rate making them even an even more affordable gift.
Subscription boxes are a wonderful way to surprise your loved one with something. These monthly boxes are another way to distract people from daily pain and that you are there to support them throughout their journey. These curated packages include products to help ease pain, promote wellness and improve mental health. Here are a few good options for someone with chronic illness:
Simply AIP is created specifically for people with autoimmune disorders who need to follow a restrictive diet. Some diets can be incredibly difficult to start and maintain, Simply AIP makes it easier. Every month they send 6-8 AIP-compliant staples and goodies. This helps people explore new brands and add foods to their diet to make their lives a little tastier.
Inside every box, you’ll find new tools to help you live a calmer, more tranquil life. Boxes are filled with 6-8 full-sized mindfulness-focused items, like music, books, candles, and motivational reminders. The monthly reminder can help people with a chronic illness stay calm and focus on the positive aspects of their life, despite their current condition.
Research shows that play for adults can help relieve stress, stimulate the mind and body, improve social and cognitive skills and lead to an overall happier life. In the world of being a grown-up, and struggling with a chronic illness, remembering to play, finding the time, or knowing what to do can be a challenge in itself. Adults and Crafts take all the guesswork out by sending you crafts, a type of play, to do every month. These perfectly curated boxes supply everything you need to make beautiful mugs to positive decore, and everything in between.
Some things that help people with chronic conditions most are usually costly and have limited insurance coverage, or none at all. Because living with a chronic illness can add up quick, most forego the additional services. Gift certificates are a great way to help someone get the support they need, without breaking the bank. Some gift certificate ideas include:
- Meal prep or delivery service
- Grocery stores
- Nail salons
- Maid service
While some things may not seem “necessary”, a simple haircut can go a long way in helping someone feel better about themselves when finances are tight.
Homemade coupon books are a fun and inexpensive gift to give to your loved one. These can include coupons from you to your loved ones that can help them on the tough days. Because living with a chronic illness can make daily chores like cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, and even social visits difficult, these booklets can help show your friends and family that you understand and care. Some coupons idea to put in your homemade coupon books are:
- Social commitment-free pass
- Ride to an appointment
- Movie or game night
- One hour hanging out, no expectations
- Prepare a meal
- Deliver groceries
- Vacuum or sweep
- Clean the kitchen
- Organize the closet
Finding the Perfect Gift
When looking for the perfect gift for your loved one, remember that they are fighting a condition that causes negative reactions to their body, drains their energy, and can harm their mental health. Be cautious of food items, sporting goods, overpowering scents, or anything that’s heavy. Try to think of things that can help them in their day-to-day life. No matter what you decide to get them, your gift shows they care.
If you are struggling with chronic illness, know you aren’t alone. There are thousands of members at PatientsLikeMe who know what you are going through. Join the conversation today to connect with others and learn how they are managing their conditions.