When someone in your life is going through a health crisis, you want to do everything you can to help make things better. But sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly what you can do for someone who is dealing with a high-stress situation. When in doubt, fresh flowers, a homemade meal, or a thoughtful card are all wonderfulideas. For more gift-giving inspiration, these are suggestions by women who have experienced their own health crisis or were a caregiver during a family member’s.
Adult Colouring Books
“I had a brain tumor removed and was forced on bed rest for a couple of weeks in the hospital. People brought me so many things, but the best were homemade cards from my teacher friends’ students and adult coloring books (which were great when I was bored and helped me relax).” —Sarah R.
Taxi Service Gift Cards
“When my dad had a stroke and emergency open-heart surgery, the best gifts we were given were someone taking care of the family dog and Uber gift cards. The family sent us the gift cards via email, since we were making tons of trips to the hospital and back home. These were simple, helpful things that made it easier for the family to just be there for my dad.” —Casey G.
A Fun Night Out
“My fiancé went through a year-long health crisis, and one of the most important things for him was someone just being there to listen. As for supporting the caregiver, it’s super helpful as their friend to ask them about what’s going on. It also means a lot when friends offer to get you out of your routine for a night, saying ‘This Friday, we’re going out and we’re paying for you—you deserve this!’” —Natalie B.
“During my mom’s recovery from open-heart surgery, my dad brought my teddy bears that I’d had as a baby to her at the hospital. It was something she could hug and that comforted her.” —Kate S.
A Nice Bath Set
“When my dad was really sick, a group of my friends pooled their money to get my family gift certificates from our favourite restaurants. I was also gifted a bath soap set; it was a small way to take care of myself during a difficult time, and it meant the world to me.” —Adam C.
Offer to Help Take Care of Their Children
“I’ve had a chronic illness for over forty years and over that time, I’ve been fortunate to be on the receiving end of many wonderful gifts. But one gift truly stands out in my mind. In 2006, I became very ill when I had a relapse and my doctor made the decision that my disease had advanced to the point of needing more intensive care, I was sent—with just an hour’s notice!—to the hospital. At the time, my son was still in high school and as a single mother, I had to do some serious thinking quickly. Luckily my dear friend Brenda said he could come stay with them for as long as he needed. She’d get him to school and any place he needed to be. I was in the hospital for just over two weeks and although I missed my son fiercely, I never once had to be concerned about whether he was alright. As a single mom, I got a gift that day of someone opening their heart and their home.” —Blaise W.
Help Out with Household Chores
“After a major surgery, there were a lot of things I couldn’t do physically, like go grocery shopping, or make a meal for the family. Everyday tasks were difficult, so having someone do those things for me or offer to help was huge. We all need extra support sometimes, especially with medical concerns.” —Melissa C.
“After I had my premature baby, we were in the hospital together for about a month, and it was a really stressful time. One of my friends brought me a gift bag with goodies for the baby and me. The best thing in it was hand lotion, because I had to wash my hands or use sanitizing foam all the time and my skin was so dry and cracked. Another awesome gesture was when a friend sent me links to hilarious and bizarre YouTube videos—it killed time and lifted my spirits.” —Allison C.