If you know someone who is homebound, you already know that some gifts would be inappropriate. When an individual is an invalid, you have to be careful to choose something that fits his/her lifestyle and needs.
Most invalids have difficulty leaving their homes, making them homebound. Because of this, it’s important to buy them gifts that will lift their spirits and make them more comfortable. So if you need to purchase a gift for an invalid, try some of these ideas:
“Laugh Basket”: Everyone needs a good laugh every now and then, especially those who are homebound or sick. So create a “Laugh Basket” by filling a wicker basket with a funny video, a book of jokes, and a gag gift like Groucho Marx glasses. Add a few fun toys like a puzzle or bottle of bubbles. By the basket at a thrift store, and your total gift can cost less than $30.
Fuzzy blanket: Many invalids battle the cold. To keep away the chill, give them a fuzzy, warm blanket. A small lap blanket made from cotton, fleece or wool can be purchased at your local discount store for as little as $10. If you like to buy one that’s larger – or is heated – expect to pay $30 or more.
Magazine subscription: Since the mail is delivered to your door, a magazine subscription is a great way to give an invalid some reading material without requiring them to make a trip to the bookstore. Choose a magazine that suits their age, gender and interests. For presentation, purchase a single issue from the newsstand and deliver with the promise of the future subscription. Depending on the magazine, subscriptions can be as low as $10 a year or as high as $30.
Slipper socks: Basic bedroom slippers are great – unless the person has problems walking or standing. In that case, trying to step into a pair of slippers can be hazardous! Instead, purchase a pair of slipper socks, which can remain on the feet in and out of bed. They usually have some rubber strips or dots on the bottom, which makes them slip-free on slippery floors. One pair is as little as $4 at a discount department store.
Blank greeting cards: Because they aren’t able to shop for themselves, most invalids would love to receive a box of blank greeting cards. This allows them to send birthday wishes, anniversary congratulations, sympathies and other greetings to their friends and family. A basic box of blank greeting cards can be purchased for as little as $8 at a discount store. If your budget allows, buy a few different boxes in different styles so your gift recipient has a variety from which to choose for any occasion.
Attractive lounge clothes: For many people who are homebound, it becomes easy to slip into dowdy nightgowns or old pajamas. Because of this, they may shun guests because they’re embarrassed about their appearance. Purchase them a pair of new lounging clothes that will allow them to be comfortable but still feel attractive. A matching track suit is a good choice for women. Matching fleece tops and pants are another option. Expect to pay about $40 for a matched set at a discount store.
Bed/Chair caddy: If movement is difficult, it can help to have everything close at hand. A caddy – typically made from a strong fabric like canvas or denim – is a great way for an invalid to have everything from books to tissues to the remote control within arm’s reach. You can buy one at most specialty stores that sell items like wheelchairs and walkers. Look for one with lots of pockets and plenty of storage space. (If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can even design one yourself!)
Security items: Some invalids may feel a sense of insecurity since they’re not as strong and capable as they once were. Basic security items – like a flashlight, some pepper spray or a personal alarm – can help give them peace of mind. You can find most of these items at a discount department store, or look for a store that specializes on safety products.
Convenience items: If the invalid on your gift list has specific limitations, you may want to look at specialty stores for products to make their life easier. There are long-handled hooks designed for grabbing hard-to-reach items. There are also tools designed to help open jars or cans, or pick up small items. Price varies, but expect to pay about $20-$30 per tool.
Time: As cliché as it may sound, the best gift you can offer to an invalid is the gift of your time. Maybe you can offer to run errands or help with some housework or yard work. Perhaps you can just spend some time visiting or reading a book aloud. Whatever you choose, know that your time will always be appreciated.
Choosing a gift for an invalid can be difficult. But as long you’re aware of the individual’s limitations, and approach the purchase with tact and thoughtfulness, you’re almost guaranteed to find an appropriate gift.