For those of us who still have our health and energy, it’s hard to imagine how others feel with a chronic illness. They don’t want the same gifts we might. So if you know someone who is uncomfortable, struggling, keep in mind they might experience the holidays with more discomfort and melancholy than at other times of the year. And don’t forget to read the last item in this blog, becuase it is my free gift to all of you! I saved the best for last.
The typical gift you might be thinking of may not be exactly right for someone with a chronic illness, or with depression. Keep this in mind if someone tells you they’re too tired to celebrate, or they no longer want to put a tree (or light candles for 8 nights), or if they refuse to go out to parties. It’s not too hard to spot someone in need, especially if they live alone because they’ve lost someone recently. This is common with seniors, who may feel like they’re a burden to their relatives, and they’re dealing with physical discomfort on top of emotional pain.
Finding a compassionate gift is a challenge for you, mainly because all they just want is a cure for their pain or loss! Maybe they want their grief to stop. People in this position just want the holidays to be over with as soon as possible, as it can feel oppressive and highlight their isolation.Maybe I can help you figure out what they really want, or at the very least give them more comfort!
Keep in mind, getting a little something special that is medically-oriented might sound useless or too pragmatic, but I disagree. I think it’s a considerate way to bring joy into someone’s life who is suffering right now. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. You can decide as you read my suggestions:
Retractable Back Scratcher.
Sometimes that itch is in the hardest place to reach, and it is impossible to satisfy without having one of these back scratchers. There are many online to choose from, and these are adorable because they are retractable, and they look like a bear claw. If you have bursitis, shoulder problems, issues with flexibility or a broken arm/wrist, this little gift will fast become “the other man” in the house, lol! This is the on the set that I bought from Amazon.
Essential Oil and Diffuser.
This is a wonderful gift to give to someone who might have insomnia for example. You could buy them a pretty color-changing diffuser to keep by their bed and a bottle of lavender or neroli. These two oils impact the GABAergic system, to induce your tranquilizer hormone called GABA, and suppress glutamate which is excitatory. Roman Chamomile is another one.
Essential Oil Necklace
I also bought this very cool necklace which contains a felt pad and I put a couple of drops of essential oil on it, and I wear the necklace during the day. See below for the Amazon link, it’s SO cool! They have wrist bands/bracelets. I’ve also put a link to one of my favorite aromatizers (diffusers) for essential oils. I’ve tried so many, but they either break right away, get moldy inside, or have weak diffusion so it takes hours to make the room smell nice… the link below is to a diffuser that actually works well, has color changing options, a timer and it looks like wood, so it’s pretty on your furniture. It won’t spray the furniture either.
Likewise, if a person feels fatigued, you could buy them stimulating essential oils such as peppermint or spearmint, lemon, grapefruit, wild orange or kumquat.
Case for your Essential Oils.
I never knew how nifty this box could be, but now I do. I have all my oils organized, and I’ve upgraded my brand to high-quality oils now that I can actually see them and sort them. This is awesome for anyone who loves essential oils. You can paint it or stain it too. There are many different ones, and here’s the one I have.
Physical Help or Time.
There’s probably no greater gift than just asking a person who is not feeling well, “How can I help?” These 4 words will probably bring tears to their eyes as they are likely feeling disorganized, overwhelmed and tired.
Doing the simplest things for a few hours, or arranging their needs. For example, you could help someone by arranging a dinner one night from GrubHub or DoorDash, or having groceries delivered to their home. You could stop by and take their packages to the post office, or help around the house, for example, hang a picture up that is sitting on the floor, fix the smoke detector, show them how to use their iPad or TV, or how to Skype their grandchild… you could arrange grass mowing or shoveling snow. Maybe help them with a detail that is meaningful to them.
The needs are different for everyone, but as an example, perhaps painting an accent wall, or hooking up their TV correctly… putting some food in their slow cooker. It’s small to you, but grand for someone who is made to feel like you really, truly care. You know what they need, or you can simply ask. This type of physical help would be the greatest gift they’ve gotten all year!
It’s calming. This gift is a good idea for someone who feels anxious, or can’t sleep very well at night. It’s a blanket that has more weight to it, and it feels like they’re being cuddled. I wrote an article about this and you can CLICK HERE to read, 5 Reasons to Use a Weighted Blanket.
Full Body Massager.
This is an indispensable item for someone who has restless legs or akathisia because it is warming and soothing. Placement is important, as the condition often arises at bedtime when a person is most still. So put this mat on the lower portion of your bed, perhaps perpendicular to your own body so it just hits your legs, or calves and feet. You can turn it on in the middle of the night and it will begin running the program to calm down your legs, or at least minimize the sensation.
Bed Wedge Pillow.
This is usually made of memory foam and it’s a wedge to elevate the top of your bed where your head is. Fantastic for people who need to sleep a little more upright, as in the case of acid reflux. There are many to choose from.
This is a device you wear on your wrist to help with your personal hot and cold thermostat. I do not have any personal experience with this because I haven’t bought it yet, but I found out about it while doing a quick Google search and it looks interesting for someone who needs to feel cooler or hotter within minutes. The Embr Wave is a lot more expensive than a heating pad or a cold pack, but it’s more discreet than those, and convenient (assuming it works). Suggest you research this on your own at their WEBSITE.
As another note, if you struggle with feeling cold all the time, that’s one hallmark symptom of low thyroid disease. You can click on the link below to receive some free help from me, in the form of an ebook about thyroid disease. There’s no catch, it’s just my way of paying it forward because I healed myself many years ago from hypothyroidism.
Arm or Leg Massager.
This device uses air compression to bring relief to someone who suffers with varicose veins or impaired circulation. This is rechargeable and shuts off automatically after 15 minutes. It has various intensity levels so the person can adjust as they desire, plus it has a velcro closure so it fits many leg sizes.
Jeanie Rub Massager.
This is a big device that allows you to give someone a body massage in a minute, using a strong, invigorating pad. You can’t do it yourself, the device is heavy and requires two hands to operate it, so you need someone to help you with this. I’ve seen these types of massagers in chiropractor’s offices, used to quickly relax your back or leg muscles. If you work hard, or are on your feet all day, this is a great little gift to give to a couple. Again, you can’t give it to someone who lives alone because it’s heavy, and almost impossible to use yourself unless you’re just doing your thighs or feet.
I know it’s a bit of a hurdle to buy vitamins for someone if you don’t know them that well. The gift could be misconstrued too. However, if it’s a close relative, for example your mom or dad, or a sibling… and the topic of their health is an open topic, then you have a green light to buy them a high-quality supplement. I’d choose one that fits their needs. For example, if you know they have trouble with their joints, I’d buy something for joint health. Or if they have trouble with their focus, then a bottle of DHA fish oils or my custom formula Memory Script is an option. It’s a nootrope, and it has almost 100 five star reviews!
Compassionate Gifts Expressing Sympathy.
There isn’t just one gift here, it’s more of a generic idea for you. Perhaps an ornament that is “In memory of” or a treasure box filled with pictures or moments that belonged to the deceased which you want to share with the grieving person. Maybe it’s a DVD that is a video collage honoring them. Perhaps a photo necklace. You can engrave a quote from them onto a glass vase, that holds a little candle inside.
Now, I realize this gift could be misunderstood, or not welcomed if the person isn’t ready, so make sure that whatever you choose is right for your loved one and the phase of grief they are living in.
The point of a gift like this is to show sympathy for someone who is still grieving over the loss of a loved one and to bring them comfort and condolences. Sweeping it under the rug, and ignoring their loss just hurts them more because they feel isolated. The right gift can bring a tear of joy to their eyes when they see your kind-hearted acknowledgment and genuine sympathy.
Gift Card to a Pharmacy.
The one you love may not have enough money to buy their medicine, eye drops, or a new cane, or even an ‘inflatable donut ring’ for the toilet. Giving a gift card to their preferred store (ie CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and so forth), would allow them to shop for what they really need, but can’t ask for. Gift cards are actually very thoughtful, they allow your loved one to shop guilt-free, at their own leisure.
The microwavable kind are very nice to keep someone warm. I heat mine all the time and love it. It’s not that I am cold really, it’s just more comforting on my feet when I go to sleep, or cozy while it’s snowing outside and I’m writing by the fire.
White Noise Machine.
I like the LectroFan and bought this one for my home. My husband loves the white noise sometimes to help fall asleep. We use this about once or twice a week. I think it would make a great gift for someone with tinnitus, or someone who needs a little background noise to feel calm and secure.
It works really well to blunt voices in another room, or to help you fall asleep. I bought it off Amazon, but these “white noise machines” are sold everywhere, so pick the one that makes most sense.
This is great for someone who has muscle cramps, spasms or insomnia. Two thoughts though, they need to be able to take a bath in order to use the epsom salts. Also, keep in mind that Epsom salts won’t help muscle cramps or spasms that are induced by a statin cholesterol reducing drug. In that case, you can gift them with a bottle of CoQ10 and read my article, The Big List of Drugs that Steal CoQ10.
It’s about the hundreds of drugs that steal CoQ10 from your body via the ‘drug mugging’ effect, and then cause liver disease, heart arrhythmias, palptiations, depression and memory loss:
You might also enjoy my article about magnesium and CoQ10 and how deficiencies of those precipitate leg crams. You can read by CLICKING HERE.
Blue Blocking Glasses.
These eyeglasses remove blue from the screen so it’s great for gamers, computer workaholics and people prone to insomnia or migraines. Buy this for anyone who lives on their device or computer, especially if they get headaches or eye fatigue. There are many to choose from.
Here is a pair of blue-blocking eyeglasses that will fit over a person’s prescription eyeglasses so that’s even better – plus this one gets good reviews.
There’s an app you can download to their phone or computer too, it’s called FLUX.
BCozzy Chin Supporting Pillow.
This is great for someone who wants a little more stabilization for their neck, especially while in the car where it can get bumpy. Or maybe on a little boat ride. My mom loves this, and even though her neck is healthy, she still likes the slight stabilization that it gives her. I bought her this last year as an afterthought, and she enjoys the stabilization that it gives her while my dad drives over potholes, lol! It is offered in Adult, as well as Adult XL and Child sizes.
Fuzzy slippers or socks.
You don’t have to feel under-the-weather to enjoy this gift! But it’s especially helpful for people who don’t feel steady anymore on their wood floor, or tile. The slippers that have fur lining are nice if they run cold. The socks with rubber gripping on the bottom are nice if they have a slipper floor. Socks that are themed (for example Star Wars or owls, etc) are adorable fun gifts.
Finding non-skid socks is pretty easy nowadays, they’re sold at all department stores and boutiques. But finding them in XL, XXL or even wider is difficult. If you have a wound, or thick bandage, or your legs run wider than average, you’ll love these socks I found with extra wide openings, plus non-skid.
ieGeek Tablet/Phone Stand
This is nice for anyone who enjoys reading in bed, or watching TV in bed. But for someone who is disabled, chronically fatigued or bedridden, it is a life saver! I bought one of these to try out before recommending it to you, and I love watching Hallmark on it sometimes.
You can spray this on to the skin, it’s great for someone who can’t swallow pills but needs extra magnesium, maybe because they get frequent headaches, or have restless legs. With a spray, they can actually apply it themselves within seconds of the aura.
This is a thoughtful gesture for someone who either has brittle, cracked nails or very dry skin. Such a simple thing! It allows a person to do dishes, or clean up without hurting their hands or newly manicured nails. I always have dish gloves on when doing dishes because it allows me to use very hot water without burning myself, or drying out my hands. There are many brands, but this one is my favorite because it has a thin lining inside that is soft, and it’s longer so it covers more of my arm.
Sound Amplifier for Hearing.
Some people refuse (or can’t afford) a real hearing aid.
So a sound amplifier could go a long way in terms of their personal comfort and enjoyment. It may be a gift they haven’t even thought of! If someone is constantly saying, “What?” or “Huh?” Or they are giving you answers to questions you haven’t asked, they obviously can’t hear well. Instead of laughing at them, consider this thoughtful gift as a method of improving communications and personal gratification. There are many good ones sold on Amazon, here’s a Mini Hearing Amplifier with very good reviews.
Shower Filter Cartridge.
Thinking outside the box, a shower filter is an incredible gift for someone who has dry, itchy skin or someone sho is sensitive to chemicals, or just trying to detoxify their home and lifestyle… which by the way, contributes to healthy hormones and faster weight loss.
You’d be surprised what’s in your tap water, drying chemicals like chlorine, fluorine, metals such as copper, lead, mercury, cadmium, barium. Tap water also contains traces of pesticides and nitrates as well as medication.
I love mine, and my skin is so soft after putting this filter cartridge on my shower. Sam did it, it’s very easy actually, you don’t need a plumber.
This is a convenient little water heater that plugs in, so you don’t need to turn on the oven. If you know a tea lover, who is a little forgetful (and might leave the oven on), buy them one of these. I have one myself, just because it’s easy to make tea when I’m on the second floor and don’t want to come downstairs and start heating water on the stove!
You can put a tea bag in it, or you can put fresh herbs inside because it does have a filter so when you pour the heated water, it’s been infused with herbs. I like this one because it has a wide mouth so cleaning is a cinch. So cool that it glows blue!
Spa or Salon Certificate.
How about a free massage, facial or manicure/pedicure for someone who doesn’t feel well? That’s so much more enjoyable to someone with a chronic illness than a new picture frame or box of chocolates. It’s thoughtful and considerate, just research the place you’re buying from because some spas have good reviews, and some have bad ones. Don’t ignore the reviews. You can also ask your loved one where they dream of going and what service they prefer.
As you probably know, some folks don’t want to get a massage, or be touched, some people dislike having their nails filed, and just because you like a tanning booth, doesn’t mean they do. Just consider all the details, ask them a pointed questions and most of all be thoughtful about where you send them.
Some people have trouble reading books due to vision impairment. You could buy them cheater eyeglasses that zoom in 2 or 3 times at any pharmacy. You could also buy them an E-reader like a Kindle so they can start reading their favorite authors again. Speaking of books…
You can set your loved one or friend up with Audible. Listening to books is just as nice as reading them, and this gift is helpful for someone who has impaired vision, or who feels lonely. This is great for people who spend a lot of time driving too. It’s like they always have company because someone is reading to them on Audible 😉
I hope my ideas have given you a jumpstart on special gifts that impact the lives of those you love (who are not well). It’s the simple things in life that make a person feel loved. If you don’t have a lot of time or money, that’s okay, you can still buy the most thoughtful gift for a person if you just think about their actual needs, and think about their limitations and so forth. Happy shopping!
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Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.