With Christmas only a few weeks away, you may be wondering what to ask for Christmas or you may be a friend or family member wondering what the heck to give to someone with a chronic illness.
Look no further.
There are certain gifts I would absolutely love that the average person would probably never think about giving. Living with chronic illness is incredibly expensive, so any extra cash is probably being used on the many treatment options not covered by insurance (aka 90% of care in my case).
So whether you want to get your friend or loved one something fun or just help them out with everyday things, Chronically Salty’s got your back. Keep reading for a detailed look at these top gift ideas for someone with a chronic illness:
For those with trouble concentrating or heavy brain fog:
An Audible Membership. Audible is $15/month and allows you to listen to and keep one audiobook per month. It is a great gift for anyone with vision difficulties or intense brain fog. I also like listening to audiobooks when I am having worse bouts of insomnia. Nothing like cranking through some books at 3AM.
The only negative aspect of Audible is that you are limited to one audiobook per month at this price. For some audiobooks, this is plenty. Especially for marathon-type books like Pillars of the Earth, Malazon Book of the Fallen, and Game of Thrones.
However, if you are just plowing through shorter books or don’t really care what you listen to, OverDrive is an excellent app through your local library to listen to thousands of audiobooks for free for 14 day loans. The major disadvantage to Overdrive is the extensive wait lists for books that are newer or more popular and you usually can’t renew your loan. Going to the library for them, getting a library card, and setting up an account would make a great free gift.
If listening to books are not their forte, you can always look into video subscription streaming channels. A December favorite for some may be Starz with the new Outlander season out. Plus, if they already have Amazon Prime or Hulu, which, if they don’t, STOP HERE AND GET THEM AMAZON PRIME.
Amazon Prime is by far the most useful service I have. In addition to access to Prime Now, 2-day shipping, free ebook downloads through Prime books, and Prime Video, you can expand your Prime Video through specialized channel subscription services. Starz and HBO are available for $10/month.
Netflix is great and all, but if I were to choose between Netflix and an Amazon Prime account, I’d choose Amazon Prime 10000x over. There are just so many more services Amazon Prime offers and Netflix is severely lacking these days.
For those who love learning and don’t have as much brain fog:
After about a year into having POTS, I thought my brain cells were slowly dying because I was stuck at home with just a lot of Netflix.
So I started my own online book club through Meetup. I realized that there were a bunch of women like me who just wanted to find a community of readers who also had limited mobility. We have been able to meet in person and it’s been such a rewarding experience! So gifting 3-4 months worth of a Meetup host subscription is an incredibly powerful gift. It allows you to find people locally who would be interested in a virtual support group or book club.
Another great gift is a Kindle. My Kindle goes with me everywhere. It’s great for those long periods of down time in waiting rooms, car rides, and at night. If I am up super late because of insomnia, I can read on my Kindle without bothering anyone because I don’t have to turn on the lights. Plus, you can also use OverDrive to get ebook loans from your library.
Another activity I do to keep my brain happy is take online classes from my local community college. Nothing like wracking up those certificates in your downtime!
Also, puzzles, puzzles, puzzles!
For those who like being pampered:
Sometimes you just want to look like you haven’t been at home all day in sweatpants. I was never much of a makeup and spa person, but there are times where I just want to look like I’ve got my act together.
Many people with chronic illnesses have allergies and other sensitivities, so if you go the pampering route, be sure to ask them what their preferences are. I love Burt’s Bees and my makeup counter is filled with their makeup and coconut oil. I also dye my hair with Rainbow Henna. Henna is a great non-permanent hair dye and usually washes out on my hair within 2-3 months.
Massages are also great gifts! If the person has blood pressure issues or POTS, it may be better for multiple shorter massages than one long massage. In general, Swedish massages are good and avoid Thai massages unless you know they can handle postural changes during the massage. Avoid heated massages if they have heat intolerance issues.
For those who love gift cards:
If you just want to give them a great gift card, maybe not buying them gift cards to restaurants or activities unless you know they can attend easily. Some gift card ideas that would be great choices are:
- Your local grocery store
Instead of giving a gift card for groceries you could also give them memberships to services like Shipt and Instacart to deliver their groceries. I use Shipt for all my grocery shopping and it really helps me conserve energy.
Other “gifts” you can give to your friends or loved ones that would definitely be appreciated are helping them with daily activities such as:
- Grocery shopping
- Child care
- Driving to appointments
- Meal prep
- House cleaning
- Picking up the Christmas Tree
- Holiday decorating
No matter what you pick, it is the thought that counts! Finding the perfect gift for someone with a chronic illness may seem difficult, but they actually are the easiest ones to please. You have no idea how much energy mopping the floor, vacuuming, or even decorating the house for Christmas takes and any help is much appreciated. Pair that with a nice cup of tea and you may have given them the best Christmas gift this year!
If you are looking to help buy some medical supplies not covered by insurance, ask what works best or check out these articles to learn more about medical supplies typically not covered by insurance: