Chronic illness warrior and natural health coach and advocate, Gina helps others thrive beyond the challenges of chronic illness.
People who live with chronic illness are just like everyone else when it comes to giving and receiving gifts. A good present depends on the recipient’s personality and interests. But when someone has a chronic illness, there are certain types of gifts that may be very welcome. Gifts that show you understand the impact of the condition or that can help them get better quality of life.
Does your mother experience limitations to her life because of a chronic illness? Sometimes it's hard to know what you can do for her. So many of the standard gifts and treats just don't apply.
All moms are amazing, but you? You are so very special. I salute you, and honor you and encourage you. Your babies, both young and older, will always know the power of your love, and remember your courage and selflessness. Because you are the mum’s with the chronic illnesses, driven by the unconditional mother love that burns strong and deep.
Mothering while chronically-ill is excruciatingly difficult, but nothing is worse than knowing how desperate my children are to see me well. I've always been active and on-the-go. Over the last few years, my body has experienced significant physical limitations that affect my ability to parent, at times, or at least to parent the way I did in the past.
I'm the kid of parent that did martial arts with my kids. We are all Black Belts, actually. I'm the kids of parent that went to all school functions, that ran around the yard with my children playing their crazy hide-and-seek games or playing a serious game of croquet.
Many days now are spent lying in bed on those those bad pain days, but I still manage to home-school my youngest son. I also still find the time to indulge in my creativity, as I paint or sculpt or design, as I utilize the creative arts to heal from chronic illness.
With Mothers' Day approaching, I thought about what I would love to receive as a gift on Mothers' Day, as a chronically-ill mother. I love massages. I love cooking. I love essential oils and herbs. These are the kinds of gifts that I would love to receive.
I figured that there are others out there who are wondering what to get their Mom who is chronically-ill. After doing some research, I decided to sit down and write about great gifts that I believe that the chronically-ill mother, grand-mother, sister, etc, would love.
1. Bath Tub Pillow
Who doesn't like to relax while taking a nice, long, soak? Resting your head on the back of the bath tub is not that comfortable, however. The pillow for the bathtub is the perfect solution.
Hot water therapy is recommended for a number of chronic illnesses and chronic pain conditions. Why not have a tub pillow to allow you to soak as comfortably as possible. This pillow features seven Gorilla Grip suction cups that are guaranteed to hold in place on any smooth surface. The pillow is ultra soft and smooth to the touch with more than 2" of luxurious padded foam, with orthopedic two-panel design to provide head, shoulder, and neck support. It is easy to wipe down and keep clean with waterproof and nonporous surface.
While you're shopping, why not throw in a couple bags of Epsom salts. Epsom salts are great to help ease the pain. They come in various scents ranging from eucalyptus to lavender.
2. Spoon necklace for the Spoonies
Every chronically-ill mom needs a spoon necklace to remind them of the spoon theory.
The spoon theory is a disability metaphor used to explain the reduced amount of energy available for activities of daily living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness. Spoons are a tangible unit of measurement used to track how much energy a person has throughout a given day. Each activity requires a given number of spoons, which will only be replaced as the person "recharges" through rest. A person who runs out of spoons has no choice but to rest until their spoons are replenished.
One of the tenets of the spoon theory is that many people with disabilities or chronic illness must carefully plan their daily activities to conserve their spoons, while most people without any disabilities or chronic illnesses do not need to worry about running out.
Because healthy people do not feel the impact of spending spoons for mundane tasks such as bathing and getting dressed, they may not realize the amount of energy expended by chronically ill or disabled people to get through the day.
Spoons are widely discussed within autoimmune, disability, and other chronic illness communities.
The term Spoonie is sometimes used to refer to a person with a chronic illness that can be explained with the spoon theory.
3. GoodWipes Women's Deodorizing Body Biodegradable Wipes with Tea Tree and Aloe
Showering can rank right up there on the energy scale as lawn care. For many of us who are chronically-ill, we have to schedule self-care into our daily schedule, like anything else. When life is simple, the shower is a place of comfort and rejuvenation. When chronically-ill, staying clean and presentable takes up a lot of energy, in pain and fatigue.
When your body hurts to move and pain & fatigue leave you barely able to stand, that shower changes from a relaxing retreat to a dreaded chore.
So what’s an ill person to do? Getting clean is a basic life necessity, and some of the comforts of a shower, like the warm water, can help improve disease symptoms. But what do you do on those days when you just cannot make it to the shower?
That's when the GoodWipes Women's Deodorizing Body Biodegradable Wipes with Tea Tree and Aloe come in very handy.
- come in a packet of 10 Individually wrapped wipes for women pH balanced, alcohol-free, and hypoallergenic so your skin won’t dry out or get sticky.
- are extra large and durable wipe, measuring 9.5" x 11.5"
- are designed to remove dirt, sweat, oils, and body odors that involuntarily build throughout the day.
- cleanse your face, chest, back, pits, legs, and feet
- cool your skin with Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint, and Ginseng
- help you feel confident that you smell great
4. A quality crock pot or slow cooker
A slow cooker with a few ready to go freezer meals for those days that you’re not feeling well is perfect.
When I am not feeling well, I can just put the previously-prepared meal into the crock pot, and within a few hours I know that a delicious meal will be waiting for my family. Having a ready to go meal in the freezer that just needs to be dumped in a crock pot can truly help on those days when you’re not up to cooking. This is mine and I love it.
The features of this crock pot include:
- ability to make easy programmable meals - no watching or stirring
- has an easy clean touch pad with removable, dishwasher safe stoneware & lid
- has a wraparound element for even heating
- has temperature setting - choose warm, low or high; No watching needed, when cooking time is up it automatically shifts to warm
- has time setting - select 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 hours of cooking time
A slow cooker is a really important tool for anyone with chronic illness. It’s a lot healthier for us to eat at home and it allows for more control of our diets, but it’s hard to cook when you’re sick. Most slow cooker recipes allow you to dump ingredients and go, which makes them perfect for anyone with limited energy.
5. Cute lounging pants and tops
Yoga pants are absolute essentials for most chronically-ill moms.
- 92% Cotton, 8% Spandex
- Elastic closure
- Machine Wash
- Flared athletic pant in cropped Capri length featuring wide waistband and wicking liner at gusset
- Inseam: 22"
There are days where getting dressed does not make the to-do list or even the I’m-able-to-do-this list. Having a cute set of lounge wear will allow you to feel a bit better than resting around the house in torn sweatpants and a baggie t-shirt.
6. Essential Oils and a Diffuser
There’s a reason essential oils are popping up all over social media. It’s no exaggeration to say these little bottles are changing lives, mine included.
Chances are that if you are chronically-ill, you have a small pharmacy in your purse or on your refrigerator top or in a drawer. However, many of us like to use more natural remedies for medical support. Essential oils are perfect for natural support. I've discovered the value of essential oils and in naturally supporting my body’s systems. If your illness gives you headaches, there’s oil for that. If you have digestive issues, there’s oil for that too.
This gift set:
- is 100% pure and therapeutic grade - No additives, fillers, bases or carriers added
- contains lavender, tea tree, peppermint, lemongrass, orange, eucalyptus, rosemary, frankincense, lemon
- also contains bergamot, ylang ylang, patchouli, geranium, pink grapefruit, cinnamon, clary sage
- Perfect for Gift set: Uses: Aromatherapy, Custom Massage and Body Oils, Vaporizers, Diffusers, Oil Burners, Inhalation, Perfume, Blends, Spa and Home Care, Cleaning Products; For external use only
The perfect companion to this gift would be a diffuser, such as the Radha Beauty Essential Oil Diffuser.
This diffuser uses ultrasonic waves to instantly vaporize water and essential oil in the tank, to produce a cool, dry fragrant mist.
It has a low water level auto cut off, making it safe and reliable. Water tank capacity of 100ml allows continued use for 3-5 hours according to different modes.
It has colorful changing LED lamp, with independent light control,and can keep 7 colors changing or stay on one color.
This diffuser also has a feature that allows the user to adjust the moisture outlet
7. Heat and Massage Therapy
Massage gift certificates and heat therapy gift items are great gift ideas fr someonw with a chronic illness, and one that causes chronic pain.
Gentle Swedish massages are great for fibromyalgia pain and can help my muscles relax enough to work and function.
Long-term debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, and disk problems that cause back pain, respond well to massage, relieving clients’ pain for short periods of time and helping to strengthen clients’ coping mechanisms.
Individuals experiencing chronic illness are usually under a physician’s care. Typically, massage is just one part of a team effort necessary to treat and manage chronic illness. Ideally, the massage therapist works closely with the physician, as well as the other members of the client’s health care team, and all are privy to knowledge regarding all medications and treatments, both prescription and non-prescription, that the client may be taking.
When you cannot go to the massage therapist, here are some great ideas for at home heat and massage therapy.
Every spoonie has at least one heating pad that they rely on, but many do not have a heating wrap. The wrap allows for more coverage by going around the shoulders, where I and a lot of chronically-ill carry most of their tension.
This wrap has the following features:
- Soft microplush, fully washable electric heating pad has a tailored design to provide relief to the neck and shoulders
- Magnetic clasp and slightly weighted edges help it stay put for continued relief
- Can be used with dry or moist heat
- Digital LED controller features 4 heat settings and 2-hour auto-off; 9-foot power cord lets you use it anywhere in the house
- 2-year limited warranty
Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat
Gift of Time
8. Your Time
Chronic illness can be a relationship killer, gradually removing family, friends, and lovers from a person’s life. Sticking around, being supportive, and giving the gift of yourself is the biggest present you can give anyone who lives with a chronic illness.
Don’t do it out of charity. Do it because you care about them and enjoy their company. Find a way to keep the relationship alive around and with the illness.
Physical help around the house:
- grass cutting in the summer,
- snow shoveling in the winter
- help on painting
- help with folding laundry
- help with cooking
- help with getting groceries
9. Gift Certificates
Gift certificates, such as Amazon Gift Certificates, are especially useful when a person with a chronic illness can use them online instead of having to spend precious energy going to the mall. Some people like to pick out their own blankets, pajamas, or socks. The fabrics might be so important. An Amazon gift card is great to give to someone with chronic illness. Also local restaurants gift cards for a day I cannot cook.” Something general, such as a credit card with a specific amount, may be better than a gift certificate to a particular store. The person may have a lot of medical expenses and might prefer to spend the money on medication instead of books or clothes.
10. Pain Management Kits
Managing chronic pain requires a variety of techniques. Putting together a pain management kit can be a thoughtful gift.
A pain-management kit can include:
- Heat/cold therapy wraps
- Ice packs
- Compression braces and socks to reduce swelling
- Pain-relieving creams
- A moist heating pad with a timer
- Foam rollers to help stretch muscles that might be locking up
- Massage oils–even self-massage can go a long way
- kinesics tape
- a bit of entertainment (music, movies, or reading material)
- a soft, comfy shirt
- massage oil
- inspirational or comforting messages
- A ChronicALLY subscription
- Your favorite teddy bear, pillow or body part plush toy.
If you have a twisted sense of humor like I do, you’ll think these body parts plush toys are hilarious. You can buy plush body parts! Everything from a uterus, to intestines, to a gallbladder. If you have a body part that refuses to work right, you need it in plush form so you can throw it against the wall when it malfunctions.
Happy Mothers' Day!
More great gift ideas for the chronically-ill
Holidays with chronic illness can be tricky, complicated, and messy in so many ways. But it is worth the extra trouble, planning and organizing, and searching for the perfect gift.... and your Mom will appreciate the love that you put into it all.
© 2017 Gina Welds Hulse
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 07, 2017:
These are all such wonderful gift ideas, Gina. As I'm reading this, I'm at work on a cool, gloomy day. I'd give anything to curl up on the couch with a pillow massager, a cozy blanket and a good movie.
I hope you had a nice Mother's Day, Gina!
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on May 03, 2017:
There's some great ideas here. I like the thought of the bath tub pillow.
Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on April 30, 2017:
What great ideas.
Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 30, 2017:
This is full of great ideas! I didn't know that Epson salts came in lavender, I will be buying this. I use a slow cooker and it is a real time saver, plus a healthy way to eat. I had a friend who suffered with COPD, so I know your limitations. Please accept my good wishes for renewed energy. Peace my friend...
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 30, 2017:
You've come up with some very thoughtful gifts. We sometimes wonder to give besides bed clothes and gift certificates. You're so caring and helpful!