It can be hard to know what to give a loved one with cancer. With diagnosis and treatment come many personal changes, and a well-intentioned gift may not be received as intended. Here are some recommendations from our chemotherapy nurses who spend day in and day out with our patients undergoing cancer treatment.
Focus on Comfort
Cancer can be uncomfortable, painful, and all-consuming. Consider gifts that emphasize comfort, coziness, or warmth – the gift equivalent of a hug. Fuzzy socks, slippers, blankets, pajamas, robes, eye masks, and even huggable stuffed animals are all options that your loved one can comfortably luxuriate in. Those undergoing chemotherapy get cold easily, so these can be wonderful gifts.
- Neck Warmer – amp up the coziness with a heated scarf.
- Barefoot Dreams – the comfiest blankets, socks, sweaters, and more.
- Beanie Hats – hats specifically designed for Cancer patients – lightweight, soft, zero irritation, and for every hat sold they donate one to cancer patients.
Everyone likes to be reminded that they’re loved and cherished. People with cancer often feel lonely and isolated. Gifts such as framed pictures, souvenirs, mementos, or trinkets and tokens that reference shared memories or in-jokes can help them feel cared for and included. Take the time to add a thoughtful, personalized note.
Make Them Smile
Laughter might not be medicine, but it can definitely improve your outlook. Your loved one might appreciate gifts designed to cheer them up or make them laugh. Consider a comedy film, a witty book or audiobook, an upbeat game or puzzle, or even a novelty item branded with a funny slogan or logo.
- Adult Coloring Books with Colored Pencils – some things never go out of style.
- Journals – writing can be very therapeutic.
- Kindle – sometimes patients are sitting there getting treatment for hours.
- Manicure Sets – a great self-care activity they can do while sitting in the chair.
Gift a Subscription
Keep the gift-giving coming with a subscription that reflects your loved one’s interests and hobbies. A coffee subscription, a book subscription from their local independent bookshop, a yarn subscription, or a beauty box can offer surprise and delight in the months to come.
Living with cancer means that sometimes day-to-day responsibilities fall by the wayside. Give your loved one a practical gift such as hiring a professional cleaner, doing their grocery shopping or laundry, or even purchasing Uber gift cards to help them get around.
- Amazon Prime Membership – helps with errands, groceries, and tv show bingeing!
- House cleaning services – don’t underestimate the value of coming home to a clean house.
- A Cute Tote with Supplies – patients spend a lot of time at treatment centers, so a stocked bag of lotion, stress ball, hand sanitizer, mints, gum, lip balm, and electrolyte mixes are always in demand.
Be There for Them
Gifts don’t have to be material. Simply being there for your loved one, supporting them, and spending valuable time with them can be more than enough. Organize a special day, outing, or meal, or simply take the time to check in with them and show them explicitly that you care. A well-spent afternoon, some kind words and a heartfelt note can be the best gift of all.
Get Their Thoughts
When contemplating purchasing a gift for your loved one with cancer, take a moment to walk in their shoes. Consider not only their interests and passions but also their current needs. A gift that might have seemed perfect a year ago might not be ideal today. If you’re not sure whether a gift is appropriate, ask them. They’ll appreciate the thought – and you’ll know that you’re gifting them something they’ll truly enjoy.