Sunday, 18 December 2016


Firstly, I would like to begin this blog post by saying that if it isn't likely that your loved one will recover from being bedbound then this probably feels like the loneliest thing you will ever have to go through, and you're probably feeling very alone and a mixture of lots of different emotions, - you really, really, really are not alone. My family and I are going through the same thing at the moment and some of my friends have experienced the end of life care of a close loved one too. I can only hope that the fact you're not alone brings you some form of comfort, if only a morsel, as it does me.

I have previously struggled with gifts for one of my closest loved one, as they haven't been mobile and have been given a time frame, so material things do not mean a lot to them but I think I've aced it now. Therefore, I have written this little guide for anyone who may be in a similar situation to use as I couldn't find one myself. I must admit that I got a little bit emotional writing this because this post is coming straight from the very centre of my heart. :-)

A 3D or normal puzzle - If they're struggling with a serious illness, this will help to distract them from their inevitable negative thoughts, whilst giving them a real sense of self-worth and self-esteem upon completion. It's also a great ornament for them to look at and feel proud of their accomplishment, and a reminder of your thoughtfulness.

A good book/ An audio book. An audiobook is a good one for those who are too tired to sit up and just want to rest their eyes. Keep it lighthearted or on a topic of something they once loved. Be thoughtful and mindful about this one as books can do such much for your mindset so "the fault in our stars" isn't the best choice for someone with terminal cancer for example. Again, it's another distraction so choose something you know they'll enjoy and that will help them escape to another place they'll love, even just for a moment.

A mug - a cheery mug goes down a treat in all walks of life and I guarantee that, if the person is ill and British, it is likely that hot drinks are a huge part of their day so why not add a happy touch to that and get them a personalised mug.

Bed covers and blankets - There is nothing better than a nice new set of bed covers, but when a bed is where you're spending 24 hours of your time it's even more magical! You could offer to wash these in hyper-allergenic washing liquid/powder, before putting these on the bed, especially if they are getting any treatment that may dry out the skin. It doesn't just feel great getting into a freshly made bed - they will also make the room look brand new and this is a definite added bonus for someone who hasn't been out in a while. 

New pyjamas - Of course, it depends if your loved one is in their own clothes or hospital gowns, but it's just such a nice feeling to get into beautiful new pyjamas. It's the same principle as the above too - it'll make them feel brand new. Lot's of people take pride in their appearance so if they're stuck in bed it is likely they haven't been able to dress up in a while. Therefore, buying them some smart and swanky night wear may just be what they need for a little cheering up. 

A candle - now this is ONLY if the person does not have any respiratory problems and is mobile enough to blow out candles. If it's for someone who relies on their carers then just don't do it without the permission of the care provider. My Pop's appreciates these because he misses being able to smell the flowers in his beautiful gardens, hence why I got him lots of floral scented candles so he could experience those scents again. I also bought him candles of scents of places he may not have got to go to recently, or ever again, like Ocean scents and forest scents. If you live with the person, be sure to blow it out before bed! We also got my Dad one of those long hob lighters to avoid any accidents with matches and normal lighters. 

Organic herbal teas - if someone is ill it's likely they will not be well enough to drink alcohol so the usual Christmas tipple is out but I love a nice flavoured tea just as much! Also, if they are dealing with lots of serious illnesses, it's best they cut out cows milk (please catch up western medicine) so herbal teas are a great alternative. My personal favourites are vanilla and cinnamon and apple, raisin and cinnamon. Lots of the ingredients will also have healing properties too;  examples include ginger, turmeric, sage, and cinnamon. These are all natural anti-inflammatories and may help with swelling and related pains.

Food - you wouldn't go out and buy someone with diabetes a pack of chocolates and a box of sweets. Similarly, if you're going to buy a sick person a gift, take it from a member of their family/ care provider, make it as healthy and nutritious as can be. My loved one was fed via a tube for a year, and so could not eat, but now he can so I will buy treats. However, they will be vegan natural products such as natural liquorice without gelatine - be careful with liquorice as people with high blood pressure, liver, heart or kidney disease, people with potassium deficiencies, or those on heart, or diuretic medication, should take caution with anything containing liquorice root. You could bring the traditional grapes, some dates or some homemade brownies that have been made from scratch. Be mindful with this again as you need to do a risk assessment as to whether or not your treats may be a choking hazard - if so, cut the food bit out!

A plant - bring the outside in - it makes people feel happy to look at a beautiful pot of life. Also, it won't die and get to that depressing stage that flowers do.

A nice lamp - a lamp that provides a calming graphic effect OR one of those lead painted glass ones the elderly love oh so dearly (if they're elderly of course)! We got my dad a touch lamp so it was easier for him to turn it on and off too.

A Netflix subscription - My good friend Katrina suggested this one and I cannot believe I didn't think of it sooner. What a great idea this one is because Netflix has everything you can possibly choose from and it's nice to get lost in a good series. If you were feeling super flashy you could get them an iPad or tablet to watch Netflix in bed, but, if this is out of your budget range or they already have one, then Netflix is a thoughtful, useful, and fabulous gift. 

A scrapbook/ a photo album/ photo collage - When I was told my father had a matter of months to live, I made my popsicle a little scrapbook with all of the things I am thankful for with lots of photos of our lovely memories together, written reminders of all those memories, poems, things I felt I needed to say, things I get from him, what I plan to do in the future - the whole shebang. I decorated it all and got crafty too because I know material possessions don't mean anything at this stage. However I do know that time, memories, love, appreciation and gratitude do. They can't take pointless inanimate objects with them, but one would hope that their soul will carry the meaningful, intangible things with them. 

One last thing...
Your time is what someone in this position really wants/needs from you so why not pull up a chair (if there isn't one - get one) and just listen to them and/or have a chat with them. From what I have seen the biggest pain in dying is the loneliness it brings. Ease that pain, sit with them, read to them, tell them you love them, and appreciate your final moments with them! 

This too shall pass. Esto también pasará.

All my love xo

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