26 Gifts to Give a Friend Whose Illness Keeps Them Stuck at Home
We hope the products below, all recommended by our Mighty community members, help you or a loved one in your health journeys. Just so you know, The Mighty may collect a share of sales from the Amazon links on this page. Prices and product availability are accurate as of publication.
Article updated on November 9, 2018.
As the holidays approach and the gift-giving season sets in, you may be wondering what to give your friend or family member who has a chronic illness. Being sick often has significant effects on a person’s life – what they’re able to do, what they’re able to eat, how long they need to sleep… and many who are chronically ill have to spend a great deal of time at home or in bed due to pain, fatigue, muscle weakness, or other symptoms.
Their lives may look quite different from the lives of people who are healthy, so it can be difficult to know exactly what they may want or need when it comes time for holiday shopping. While some of the best gifts are things that can’t be bought, there are also plenty of meaningful items you can wrap and put under the tree that could greatly benefit your loved one.
To give you some guidance as you begin your holiday shopping, we asked our Mighty community which gifts would be perfect to give a loved one whose illness often keeps them at home or in bed. Here are their suggestions.
1. Your Time
Sometimes the best gifts don’t come with a price tag. Staying home all day can quickly get boring and lonely, so a visit from a friend to chat over coffee or watch a movie together on the couch can be incredibly meaningful.
Char Baiz told us, “The best gift ever for when you are stuck at home all the time is a visit from a friend who is there to listen and maybe even help with a little housework. It’s very lonely and isolating when you aren’t able to get out much. Just someone’s company is so valuable.”
2. Fun Subscription Boxes
Sick or not, getting a package in the mail is probably one of the most exciting things ever. There are so many subscription boxes available to suit a wide range of needs and interests.
JR Brown suggested, “A subscription box for something I love so I have new things to look forward to. I can’t go out shopping much anymore (it just uses energy that I need to use on other things) so having a sub box would be a nice fun substitute.”
Adrian Bryant wrote, “An Ipsy (makeup) subscription and a prop-up/lounger pillow! I’d love to start doing unboxing and make-up tutorial videos… even from my bed!”
Jennifer Ramon added, “One of those snack subscription boxes. I’m so tired most of the time and I don’t want to cook or even try to go to the store. I’d love one of the boxes that would be nice to get snacks while watching Hulu or Netflix.”
Check out subscription boxes for those with chronic or mental illnesses here.
3. Floor Lamp
Ceiling lighting can often be harsh, and if you spend a lot of time in bed, this may mean staring straight up at the bulb. Having that bright light shining right into your eyes isn’t helpful if you’re trying to rest, and can trigger headaches or migraines for many of those with chronic illness. A floor lamp can provide a softer and more indirect source of light so you don’t have to try to function in the dark.
Anna Galdorcræft recommended, “A floor lamp because overhead lighting is painful.”
Buy the lamp above for $30.88 from Amazon.
4. Pajamas and Robe
For those who are sick at home all day, having a comfortable pajamas to wear is so important.
Catherine Anne Millard said, “I would love to receive a new set of PJs, ya know, comfy and soft, silky PJs. That way I can feel nice while having to stay down.”
“I love warm PJs,” added Elisabeth Wheeler. “Just being comfy in your clothes helps.”
5. Lap Desk
A lap desk can be super helpful for those whose illness keeps them in bed or on the couch. Even if they aren’t feeling well enough to get up, a small portable desk gives them a surface to write, draw, work on their laptop, watch movies or even eat if they’re up to it.
Anna Galdorcræft said a lap desk can be helpful for eating dinner or working on your laptop in bed.
Buy the lap desk above for $34.24 from Amazon.
6. Mini Fridge
Having a mini fridge in the bedroom allows your loved one to keep all their favorite drinks and snacks within arm’s reach – so no running back and forth between the bedroom and kitchen on days when getting out of bed is just too much.
Amanda Bates Galassini said, “My husband set up our mini fridge right next to my bed. I keep a few snacks and a lot of sparkling water there to wash down my pills and keep my nausea at bay.”
Buy the mini fridge above for $109.99 from Amazon.
7. Homemade Meal
Cooking a nutritious homemade meal often requires a lot of energy that someone with a chronic illness simply may not have. Bringing your friend some freezer meals they can heat up or even a ready-made dinner is a small gesture that goes a long way.
“A warm, home-cooked meal,” suggested Hailey Stallings. “Sometimes a thoughtful, hot meal can make all the difference, especially on days when I don’t have the energy to get up and even pour a bowl of cereal.”
“A homemade meal taking all our food issues into consideration,” Karen Hedley added.
8. Weighted Blanket
“A weighted blanket,” wrote Smita Meinzinger. “It does miracles for sore achy muscles and restless legs, and most importantly, feels like you’re being given the biggest bear hug!”
Buy a weight blanket for $195.00 from Weighting Comforts.
9. Electric Tea Kettle
Tea may not be a cure, but it can certainly be soothing for those struggling with illness. An electric kettle allows your loved one to have hot water on hand so they can make a cup of tea, even if they’re stuck in bed.
Samantha Dolloff Martineau wrote, “I really want an electric tea kettle to be able to keep hot water by my bed.”
Buy the electric kettle above for $25.09 from Amazon.
10. Audible Subscription
For many who are stuck at home due to illness, listening to audiobooks is a great way to pass the time and drift into another world. Plus, they’re hands-free, which can be super helpful for those with pain, swelling or mobility issues in their hands or wrists.
“A subscription to Audible,” recommended Hope Adrian. “It has been a godsend. On my migraine days I can’t tolerate light. Listening to an audiobook at a low volume is a great way to distract myself from the pain.”
Buy a gift subscription from Audible ($45/3 months).
11. Essential Oils
Essential oils can do a lot more than make your home smell nice. Different types are known to have different healing properties, both physical and emotional. These are a great gift if you know your loved one enjoys diffusing them or adding a few drops to a bath. (If you’re unsure, you may want to ask your friend first if they are sensitive to smells!)
Kelsey Bates said she would like to receive essential oils for her diffuser as they can be a tad pricey.
Buy the essential oils above for $16.95 from Amazon.
12. U-Shaped Pillow
A U-shaped pillow (also known as a pregnancy pillow) can provide full-body comfort and support. Many of those with chronic pain find them helpful for finding a relaxing position in bed.
T Marie Cooper said, “I want that big pillow that curves around your body. There’s just something about feeling snug in bed.”
Buy the pillow above for $41.82 from Amazon.
For more recommendations from our community, check out “27 Comfortable Pillows That Help People With Chronic Pain Sleep Better.”
13. Help With Chores
It can be incredibly frustrating for those with chronic illness to spend all day at home but be physically unable to do household chores such as cleaning or cooking. Although it may not seem like the most exciting gift, offering to mow your friend’s lawn or take their dog for a walk is a hugely meaningful gesture. You could even give them a little book of coupons they can “redeem” when they need help with a particular chore.
Susan Mapes told us, “For me, the best gift is helping. Even something simple like fixing a meal, doing a sink load of dishes or running the vacuum can make a world of difference. I do not like to ask for help, after all it’s my home and my responsibility, but someone caring enough to recognize that I need the help and taking the time out of their day to accomplish the task means more to me then any monetary gift ever would.”
For more coupon ideas, check out “16 Coupons to Give a Chronically Ill Friend.”
14. Handwritten Letters
While texting and social media certainly have their perks, there’s nothing quite like receiving a handwritten note through snail mail. It’s a great way to cheer someone up and remind them how much you love having them in your life. A physical letter can also be put on display as a little pick-me-up – so bonus points if you use a decorative card or some pretty stationary!
Crystal Riggs wrote, “I like people to send me cards, letters and little things in the mail that let me know they’re thinking of me. Acknowledgement is awesome, and mail is double awesome.”
Buy the stationery above for $12.99 from Amazon.
15. Foot Spa
Relaxing with a foot spa can certainly be luxurious, but for those with chronic pain, it may also help relax and soothe aching muscles in the feet.
Recommended by Ashleigh Carrasco.
Buy the foot spa above for $55.99 from Amazon.
16. Comfortable Bedding
If your loved one is often stuck in bed due to illness, it becomes even more important for them to have comfortable bedding that doesn’t exacerbate their pain or other symptoms. A new comforter or set of sheets could make a huge difference in their day.
Christine Cousins told us, “I would love a new comforter or quilt (I’ve had my eye on a couple in particular) since mine is pretty worn out.”
Ina Le Grange added, “[I would like a] new bed to allow my body a gentle spot to lie on whilst sore and a new comforter to exactly be as the name says – ‘comforter.'”
Buy a cozy comforter for $40.99 from Amazon.
17. Subscription to a Food Delivery Service
Though grocery shopping may be a routine part of the week for many, it can be a daunting and exhausting task for those with chronic illness. But being unable to make a trip to the grocery store shouldn’t limit someone’s access to fresh, nutritious food. (A person can only eat so many frozen meals!) Paying for a subscription to a service that delivers fresh groceries to your loved one’s door would be a huge help – and a good way to ensure they’re getting the sustenance their body needs.
“Food delivery according to diet,” recommended Genevieve M. Goetz. “Using Sun Basket or Thrive Market or Amazon Fresh is expensive but helps so much because we are so tired and need these foods to live.”
Jill Fuersich suggested, “A meal plan subscription or delivery pass for Fresh Direct so the person can have groceries delivered if they can’t make it to the store.”
18. Wedge Pillow
Wedge pillows are often known for helping those with acid reflux, but they can also provide some solid support and help keep your loved one propped up in bed.
Cynthia Phipps suggested, “Wedge pillow for elevation and helping support.”
Sarah Jake LeMaster added, “Something I don’t have but would love is a mattress wedge.”
Buy the wedge pillow above for $38.99 from Amazon.
19. Heated Blanket
Curling up with a soft, cozy blanket is one of the best feelings – especially when it’s cold outside. An electric blanket will keep your loved one extra warm, and the heat may help relieve some of their aches and pains.
“Electric blanket,” recommended Kayla Hanes. “Cold hurts my joints and when I get chilled it can take hours to really warm back up.”
Lisa Alioto said, “In a weird way, a super soft blanket to cuddle with can be a best friend on a bad day.”
Buy the heated blanket above for $47.99 from Amazon.
For more recommendations from our community, check out “13 Cozy Blankets to Cuddle Up With This Winter.”
20. Overbed Table
A table that sticks out over your bed can be super useful for keeping your phone, medications, water, snacks, books or other essentials within arm’s reach. It’s also a great place to prop up a laptop or tablet for watching movies!
Lea Szychoski Marter wrote, “My overbed (hospital type) table holds my coffee, water, snacks, meds and other things I may need.”
Unique Lawrence said a bed table has really changed how she feels about being in bed.
Buy the overbed table above for $64.99 from Amazon.
21. Adjustable Bed and Mattress
Though it’s certainly a pricey gift, adjustable beds can be incredibly beneficial for those with chronic illness. The remote-controlled ones allow you to raise or lower your head and/or feet with the push of a button, making it much easier to get comfortable and accommodate your pain or other symptoms.
“Adjustable bed and mattress,” said Niki Myers. “That would help immensely. It would improve my quality of life so much. All the other things I have handled at this time, but comfort and support while in bed is invaluable to recovery time and just sleep in general.”
Jan Cutler-Wolfe added, “An adjustable bed so I can sit up and read or watch TV without hurting my neck.”
Buy the adjustable bed frame and mattress above for $2,399.98 from Sleep Number.
Buy a lower-cost adjustable bed frame for $379.99 from Amazon.
For more recommendations from our community, check out “16 Mattresses That Help People With Chronic Pain Sleep Better.”
22. Subscription to a Streaming Service
When illness keeps you stuck at home and feeling lousy, sometimes one of the best distractions is getting absorbed in a new TV series. A subscription to a streaming service would give your loved one a brand new array of options.
“A streaming service subscription for HBO or one of the fancier channels would be nice for days I am stuck in bed,” Brittany Bee Myers told us. “I feel like I shouldn’t pay for it because I already have Netflix, but once you’ve run through everything that interests you (and that happens quickly when you’re sick a lot), would be nice to see something new without feeling guilty about the extra expense.”
23. Gift Cards for Art and Craft Supplies
If your friend is crafty (or if they’re looking for a new hobby!), a gift card to a craft supply store gives them the freedom to embark on a new project and select their own materials.
“I love getting craft supplies,” Alison Taylor told us. “I’m always creating something from my bed.”
Catherine Stauffert recommended, “Gift card to local book or craft store. I say a gift card because I have hundreds of books and sometimes people don’t want to sort through a list of titles. Craft stuff, because I’m constantly working on different project but I know which ones are the ‘right’ ones that I want to use for a particular project.”
24. iPad Mini
If your loved one likes to play games, watch movies or read e-books, an iPad Mini lets them do it all while still being small and portable.
Janice Orlando said, “If I didn’t have an iPad Mini, I’d want one. It’s the perfect book-sized object you can lay in bed with to read comics and books, or shop online mindlessly and never buy anything – it’s great.”
Buy the iPad Mini 4 above for $399 from Apple.
25. Gift Certificate for a Cleaning Service
Being unable to clean your home can be incredibly frustrating and stressful – especially if you’re home most of the time and constantly reminded of the floors that need to be vacuumed and shelves that need to be dusted. While you could certainly offer to help out your loved one yourself (see #13!), you could also hire a maid service to do some cleaning in your friend’s home every so often, allowing them to rest and heal in a fresh and clean environment.
Deanna Brassé suggested, “A cleaning service for those days where you just can’t get out of bed but the house needs some TLC.”
Jessica Lott-Orosco recommended, “A maid and meal delivery service for at least one month. I think cooking and cleaning can be some of the hardest and most disheartening things to not be able to do.”
26. Insulated Tumbler
If your loved one is fatigued or has difficulty with mobility, getting up to microwave a hot beverage or add ice cubes to a drink isn’t always doable. A large, insulated tumbler will hold a lot of liquid (at an ideal temperature) to keep them hydrated with minimum trips to the kitchen.
Tia Walters suggested, “A bottle or container that keeps liquids hot or cold for long periods of time, like a Yeti.”
Buy the tumbler above for $53.43 from Amazon.