Many of us struggle when it comes time to buy a birthday, Christmas, or other gift for a loved one who is dealing with a life changing illness. We know their strength is limited, and they may not be able to enjoy many of the activities they once did. So what kinds of gifts are not only thoughtful, but practical as well?
We found a great list of ideas, and some things you might not have known, from a company called “Just Don’t Send Flowers.” Their blog lists a great deal of information specific to cancer patients and what types of gifts would be appropriate. Here’s a sampling:
Many common smells and odors that once may have been pleasant can suddenly become nauseating to the patient. Fragrance free lotions, soaps and candles are nice gift alternatives.
Cancer is hard on the skin, so it’s important to take care of the skin using natural ingredients without perfumes or chemicals. Use all natural products, especially those that are paraben and sulfate free.
The use of an eye mask, earplugs and comfortable loungewear can help when the patient may need to sleep during the day.
There are natural anti-nausea and comforting items available without chemicals. For ages, ginger and peppermint have been used to help alleviate queasiness. Cooling towels, pillows and ice packs also help to quell the effects of nausea.
Many patients report that the loss of hair contributes to feeling cold, especially as they sleep. Although head covering is purely a personal choice, it is nice to have a soft and breathable chemo beanie for sleep or wearing to warm up.
A more practical choice to a basket could be a nice tote bag or duffle bag to carry the patient’s clothes home from the hospital or rehab or maybe to tote all of their items to chemo treatment. Blankets, scarves, throws and neck pillows make the day in the chemo chair a little easier, too.
And if it’s a child with cancer, remember – they’re still kids. They love what all kids love. Stuffed animals, activity books, ear buds, monogrammed backpacks. Make sure you send happy, vibrant colors as if it is their birthday. That makes everyone feel good.
Inspirational jewelry is a great choice. Something simple, elegant and beautiful can look great all the time and be a constant reminder to the patient that you are thinking of them.
The company offers a variety of gift packages for cancer patients on their website.
An Etsy seller also features a gift pack specifically for cancer patients with all natural products.
“These products have been packaged together to provide comfort to a family member or loved-one enduring the harshness of chemotherapy treatments and includes a moisturizing jar of Unscented Shea Creme, metal tin of Lip Balm, tin of Cuticle Balm and a petite bar of Unscented Castile Goat’s Milk Bath Soap.”
A Huffington Post article by a physician diagnosed with cancer outlines thoughtful ideas for cancer patients that are not only gifts, but also other ways to help a friend of loved one dealing with cancer.
Remembering what was said earlier about heightened sensitivities, Roswell Park Cancer Institute has put together a list of gifts to avoid which is not only helpful, but has some information on gifts that you may not realize trigger negative reactions.
Often the best gift you can give a friend going through cancer treatment is the gift of your support and time. Going to extra step to research and buy a great, useful gift will help bring a smile to their face.