When a family member or friend is in the hospital, you probably feel pretty powerless. Their health is in the hands of the doctor, and all you can do is provide social support. Sometimes, a thoughtful gift is all it takes to make your loved one to feel supported, which can be a great healing tool.
Here’s our list of gift recommendations that are bound to make your friend’s hospital stay a little brighter.
1) BOOKS - Pages Provide a Great Escape
At the hospital, there is a ton of waiting around between tests and consults with doctors. A magazine or book is a great way to escape the sterile environment. If you don’t know their favourite genre, give them a subscription that allows them to choose their own digital book or audiobook. Check out Kindle, or Audible’s monthly subscriptions ranging from $9.99 to $14.99 a month.
2) CARDS - A Personal Message Can Warm the Heart
It can get lonely when you’re stuck at the hospital, so it’s nice to have reminders of love from the people in your life. If you’re looking for great empathy cards, Emily McDowell’s funny yet heart-warming cards seem to hit the right tone. Some are even specific to an illness – for example there are even cards congratulating your friend on finishing a chemo treatment.
If you want to make something more personal, send a video offering your support and upload it on YouTube, or send it through an email if they are more of a private person. You can include other friends and relatives, pets, and members from your community who are also concerned over your loved one’s health.
3) HOSPITAL WEAR - Help Them Rev Up Their Hospital Style
Patients at the hospital often have complaints about the gowns they’re required to wear. They are described as shapeless, baggy, boxy, and just plain dreadful. Some people have to wear two to be completely covered. Patients will also find that their own clothes don’t work when they have an IV, tubes, or are otherwise immobilized due to an injury. Giftgowns are a great alternative! They are comfortable, functional (with snaps on the sleeves and back), and come in styles for every personality, and provide complete coverage.
4) JOURNALS - Journaling Can Be a Tool For Emotional Healing
Studies show that journaling has a positive impact on well-being. Writing in a journal helps patients to express themselves in a non-judgmental environment, and in-turn helps them cope with whatever they might be going through. We love Flora Stationary’s journals for their beautiful prints but also because they give their proceeds to women’s education. If your friend isn’t the free-style writing type, then we recommend structured journals such as the Five-Minute Journal or Meera Lee Patel’s Start Where You Are to help them begin.
5) YOURSELF - Sometimes, Just Showing Up is What Counts Most
Bring yourself! Carving away time to spend with your friend at the hospital is an invaluable gift. Schedule your visit around hospital hours and don’t feel pressured to know what to say, simply being there is enough. Studies have shown that support from friends can help to lower stress levels and strengthen the immune system.
6) MOISTURIZING LOTION - Help to Hydrate their Skin with Soothing Products
Illnesses can take a toll on a patient’s skin. Painkillers, and other drugs, are also dehydrating, which causes dry skin and chapped lips. Get your friend some quality and organic skin care products to help them keep their skin supple. We recommend Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lotion, for its natural conditioning ingredients. For lip moisturizers, we like the organic brand Hurraw!, which comes in fun flavours like Chai Spice, Almond, and Root Beer.
7) HELPING OUT - Put Their Mind at Ease & Do What They Can’t
Take something off of your friend’s to-do list! Offer to go grocery shopping or pick up their children from school. Your loved one will have one less burden keeping them awake, and they can instead focus on healing. You can take it a step further by finding a local errand service. You can sign them for an account, like Task Rabbit for example, and give them access to people who can help them with their chores, or repairs.
8) GIFTS OF SELF CARE - Help Them Get Their Groove Back
Recuperating from illness or injury doesn’t leave much room for excessive self-care. Depending on the state of the patient, you can give them a personal-care service such as a massage, acupuncture, or Reiki. This will relieve stress and enhance blood circulation, an important factor in their recovery. If your loved one is on the mend, a beauty service might make their day! You can give them a manicure and pedicure. Some nail technicians will make house calls to the hospital, but it might take a few phone calls to work out the logistics.
9) FOOD & DRINK – Bring them food to warm up their stay
Most hospitals aren’t known for their culinary expertise, and that’s a good thing! However, that might leave your loved one feeling less than impressed when it comes time for dinner. We spoke with a cancer patient whose friend sent green juice to each of her chemotherapy appointments. It was a thoughtful and practical gift, and it gave her something to look forward to on those dreaded days of chemotherapy. Depending on what the illness is, and what they are allowed to have, food and drinks are a great way to show you care and help them build their strength.
10) CRAFTS - Create Mindfulness with Crafts
It’s easy to let your mind wander to a scary place when you’re bored and in a hospital environment. Practicing mindfulness can bring about feelings of well-being and gratitude. Recently, adults throughout the world have been using coloring books as a mindfulness tool. We recommend Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom book. It has tons of beautiful illustrations to choose from.
Now that you’ve taken care of your loved one, make sure you take care of yourself! It’s stressful when your family member or close friend is sick. You’ll worry a lot, but that won’t help them get better. Remember to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and try to get some exercise. That way, you’ll be able to be there for your sick one whenever they need you.