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5 Intangible and 5 Tangible Gift Ideas for a Loved One With Chronic Illness

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Wondering what to get for your friend or relative who lives with chronic illnesses or pain this holiday season? Sometimes we are tough to buy for, but I have a few suggestions for tangible and intangible gift ideas!

5 Intangible Gift Ideas

1) Invite your relative or friend with a chronic illness to your holiday parties or events — or even out to lunch or dinner!

Even if we can’t come, it is nice to be asked.

2) Check on your loved one with a phone call/text or possibly come over to visit.

Many people with chronic illnesses have to be alone or stay home for the holidays due to symptoms/pain, so it is nice to hear someone is thinking of us or wants to make the effort to see us.

3) Ask us what small accommodations in your home will make us more comfortable.

If you are hosting a holiday meal or party, it is extra nice and thoughtful if you ask your chronically ill loved one if there’s anything that will make us more apt to be able to join! This can be something small, such as a pillow or maybe a fan, or even just knowing what food is being served so we can eat beforehand if we are allergic. Little things can make a difference between successfully managing our symptoms/pain, especially at a holiday gathering — or having a rough time with it.

4) Ask if we need a ride.

Many times it is difficult (or impossible) for someone with a health condition to drive or drive long distances or even at night. Offering to pick us up or share an Uber can be the difference between us being able to attend a holiday gathering or not!

5) Ask us about our chronic illnesses and our lives.

Holidays are some of the most isolating times for us, and showing an interest in our lives helps us feel like you care.

5 Tangible Gift Ideas

1) Buy us a small medical or “modality” gift that will help with chronic illness symptoms.

Gift ideas include a heating pad, lidocaine patches, or weighted blanket. If you don’t know what we need, an Amazon gift certificate will always suffice!

2) Make/bring us a home-cooked (or takeout) meal!

For many of us, cooking is an exhausting or even overwhelming task. A home-cooked meal is heaven to us, and shows that you really care!

3) Give us “service” gift cards.

It helps tremendously for us to be able to outsource various services whether they are “health” needs or wants. This enables us to spend our limited energy on doing things we enjoy! Some good options include:

a. Door Dash or Uber Eats
b. Cleaning or organization
c. Massage therapy, yoga/Pilates, or acupuncture
d. Nail/spa/hair salon
e. Freshly or Hello Fresh food prep/delivery
f. Virtual Mental Health/Nutrition Counseling

4) Streaming service subscription (such as Netflix, YouTube Premium, or Hulu).

One of the best ways to distract ourselves from chronic illness symptoms/pain is to escape into a good movie or series binge! There are also many options for genre-specific streaming channels we would not otherwise purchase for ourselves.

5) Gaming device/apps.

It can help us tremendously to lose ourselves in an online game or app. Music or meditation is another way we can distract ourselves from symptoms/pain, so iTunes or Google Play is a great gift!

Happy Holidays my fellow chronic illness and pain warriors!

Getty image by Prostock-Studio.

Originally published: November 16, 2021
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