Anytime or holiday gift ideas for a cancer patient
When someone we love is diagnosed with cancer, many of us want to help, but few know how. The patient may be embarrassed to tell well-meaning family and friends what they can really use, and if it is a new experience, they may not even know what to suggest. Holidays are the perfect time to give a gift or perform a favor. We’ve put together a list of useful and meaningful gift ideas for the holidays, or any time of the year, for the special cancer patient in your life.
blanket . Hospitals are notorious for being cold, and while most infusion rooms (where chemotherapy is done) provide blankets, it can be more comforting to get someone a special gift with their soft, velvety blanket. Also consider covers made of other comfortable fabrics, such as a knitted sweater. A breast cancer patient at an Atlanta hospital told us her blanket was a relief when she was anxious or cold, whether at home or in the hospital.
port cushion . To avoid repeated needle sticks during chemotherapy, an opening is implanted under the skin, usually in the chest, where medications can be given intravenously. Port side cushion protects port side from seat belt irritation when traveling in the car. You can often find a gift shop at the hospital or on the Internet, or look for websites that teach you how to make your own. A small, soft underarm pillow can also help women who have had breast cancer surgery by reducing the pressure of the arm on the breast.
Silk eye mask . This simple and inexpensive gift can help the patient take a nap during treatment or allow them to sleep through the night at home or in the hospital, where noise and light can interfere with the quality and quantity of sleep. Silk masks tend to be more comfortable than those made of satin or other materials that can be hot or uncomfortable when worn for extended periods. Consider adding a lavender pillow mist and wrapping them in a pretty package with a heart note.
Loungewear . During treatment, many patients do not feel their best. Some may be in hospital for extended periods or recover at home. A comfortable set of sleepwear or pajamas can be a suitable gift for these occasions. When shopping, keep in mind the limitations the patient may face when dressing. For example, a breast cancer patient who has had a mastectomy may have difficulty raising her arms to wear a T-shirt, so wearing over-the-button pajamas may be a better option.
Behind a scraper or a zipper puller. When patients cannot lift their arms, these two components can be helpful, especially for patients who live alone. Back scratchers can help them scratch their hard-to-reach back. Several variants of the zipper have been developed, each of which allows the patient to reach at the back and unzip a dress or blouse without assistance.
Insulated water bottle . Since chemotherapy patients need to stay hydrated, a good water bottle that keeps liquids hot or cold for extended periods of time can be especially helpful. Consider getting the bottle with your initials or ordering one that showcases your favorite sports team, hobby, or color.
Gift cards . Gift cards are useful in almost any situation. Some of the most requested gift cards are for restaurants, meal delivery, and car services for patients who cannot drive. You can also buy gift cards to purchase apps, such as guided meditation, or to purchase your favorite soundtracks, movies, and audiobooks, or even games for your tablet or smartphone. Avoid gift certificates for manicures and pedicures, as many oncologists advise patients not to trim their nails or wear artificial nails during treatment. Cuts or cracks in the skin can lead to infection, which can be dangerous for cancer patients, who are already overloading their immune system. It is also not recommended to use acrylic nails during chemotherapy because bacteria can get stuck under the nail bed and cause infection.
Kindle, iPad, or any other tablet. These convenient portable devices can help your loved one pass time during treatment by watching movies, reading books or magazines, keeping up with work, or emailing friends.
headphones _ A good pair of headphones allows the patient to listen to music or watch a movie without disturbing or disturbing others. This gift can be especially appreciated by those who share a room in the hospital.
Adult coloring books, magazines, bible, religious or inspirational books . All of these can be found online or at a hospital gift shop.
Nice scarf, hat or ‘chemotherapy hat’. Many chemotherapy patients look for ways to cover their scalp after hair loss during treatment. A stylish and colorful headpiece can enhance your self-image while keeping your head warm.
Compression stockings . These help with swelling of the arms or legs during prolonged sitting, especially while traveling.
handbag . Anita O’Dell, manager of the Lowry’s Gift Shop at Atlanta Hospital, suggests assembling a carrying bag or basket of items a patient can use during chemotherapy. O’Dell recommends including ginger chews (to help nausea), a hat or scarf to cover the head, coloring books, toys, lip balm, hand lotion, magazines, fruits, and healthy snacks like nuts and popcorn. candies. Travel toothbrushes, toothpaste, and alcohol-free mouthwash are good supplements to help remove the metallic taste that can be caused by chemotherapy.
If you’re on a budget or prefer to find a gift that doesn’t require a purchase, there are other ways to show your interest without spending money, including:
Offer to help . Walk the dog, sweep the floor, wash the dishes. Most cancer treatments leave patients exhausted at one time or another. These simple tasks can be stressful when you are not feeling well. Provide specific services, as many patients are ashamed to ask someone to do chores or errands. Tell your loved one that you are coming to do the laundry, go shopping, or clean the house, so that he is not the one to make the proposal.
Organize a login sheet for the patient’s friends, neighbors, and co-workers. . Categories may include leaving meals, walking the dogs, doing laundry, cleaning the house, taking the patient to treatment and appointments, and using cars for the patient’s children.
Send a card or note. This small gesture can go a long way in satisfying your loved one. Patients report that knowing that someone is thinking of them and sending positive energy can be especially comforting on days when they are feeling depressed. One patient told us that one of her favorite gifts was a package of inspirational words written by her co-workers. His colleagues wrote wonderful letters and put them in a beautifully decorated jar. She started each day with a message and is still using the bottle of inspiration today, long after her treatment ended.