Gifts for a terminally ill person

(39 Posts)
RisingPhoenix Sat 13-Feb-10 19:34:21

I hope it is not insensitive to post here. Very difficult to know where to put this query.

Some friends and I are putting together a pamper parcel for a another friend who has terminal cancer. We have ummed and ahhhed - it seems a bit crass in some ways, but we are well meaning and want to do something.

We are putting the usual in but I was thinking some books and dvds might be good too. But then it seems such a minefield (have to be careful with the subject matter covered not to evoke distress). Any suggestions?

Thank you

EccentricaGallumbits Sat 13-Feb-10 19:36:05

no experience but i think it's lovely.

what about some vouchers for complementary type thingys? reflexology, massage, aromatherapy type stuff.

brimfull Sat 13-Feb-10 19:36:11

comedy book that's easy to dip in and out of
is it for a man or woman?

brimfull Sat 13-Feb-10 19:36:44

god mine sounds crass
just thought a light hearted book might be nice

RisingPhoenix Sat 13-Feb-10 19:37:08

A woman (a young woman at that - and a mum of small children sad)

RisingPhoenix Sat 13-Feb-10 19:37:57

I think she'd like a laugh actually ggirl. Appropriate for her, I'd say

brimfull Sat 13-Feb-10 19:38:33

how sad
difficult one

mummyofexcitedprincesses Sat 13-Feb-10 19:40:45

How about some nice music, candles, maybe some pampering stuff or aromatherapy things. Or arrange a massage or similar treat- a mani-pedi or facial?

When my dad was dying he appreciated books but towards the end he could no longer concentrate on them.

It is a lovely idea.

bibbitybobbityhat Sat 13-Feb-10 19:46:56

It depends on how close to death the person is.

If she is still able to be out and about and participate then I think a lovely meal out with friends and a lot of laughs, or a weekend away, or a trip in a hot air balloon, trip in a limo to the theatre ... that kind of thing would be nice.

If, however, she is now fairly restricted in what she can do, then anything at all she likes to eat, drink, see, read, hear or smell would I'm sure be very welcome.


Kirst16 Sat 13-Feb-10 19:48:02

Thinking along the lines of a voucher for a family day out (if she is up to it), so both she and the children have some special memories together. Or perhaps a portrait sitting with a local photographer, so the children have some recent pictures with their mum. Some nice notebooks or scrapbook would also go down well, that way she can document thins for the family, which they can look back on in years to come. Or if you are short for cash some IOU vouchers (where you offer your services, help with chores etc, doing school run etc) which will help make her life easier when she isn't feeling so great.

PixieOnaLeaf Sat 13-Feb-10 19:51:04

It's a really lovely idea.

What about the promise to take her DC out to a farm or a theme park or somewhere for a treat day once she's gone? Or taking them out somewhere now to take their minds off things?

Ggirl, I don't think that comedy books/DVDs sound crass at all.

fruitshootsandheaves Sat 13-Feb-10 19:51:28

from experience, I would suggest some talking books on CD.

RisingPhoenix Sat 13-Feb-10 19:53:44

Talking books - good plan for when she is too tired to read and concentrate. Do I need to be unduly careful of subject material?

Georgimama Sat 13-Feb-10 19:55:37

There's no comparison to being terminally ill, but when I was in hospital with a broken spine I couldn't read books - too much effort. I liked magazines a lot, and also talking books, particularly funny ones. I listened to some BBC comedy series (Blackadder etc) on CD and that kept me entertained.

It's a minefield though and you probably know best what sort of thing.

fruitshootsandheaves Sat 13-Feb-10 19:56:04

Recent bestsellers would be a safe bet I would have thought. Obviously steer away from any which sound like they are a bit melancholy(sp?)

Ivykaty44 Sat 13-Feb-10 19:56:18

I would possibly incluse a funny book - cheering someone up would be needed at a time like this, having a good death and good days beofre going would be important.

sorry about your friend..

thirtysomething Sat 13-Feb-10 20:02:30

very sorry this is happening.

depnds on budget but if there's lots of you clubbing together what about one of those e-book thingies? the amazon one comes with lots of pre-loaded books and they can speak the book instead if she's not able to read the text....

When my friend died last year I gave her a book (at her request) on humanist funerals - I know it sounds very morbid but she was aware she was going to die and wanted to do it her way (and she did).

She did complain a lot of sore lips though - so lip balm (hospital air is very drying), and she also got through a lot of dry shampoo (couldn't bathe or shower easily and felt her hair was horrid).

Or how about a digital radio and some headphones, the hospital tele/radio things are very limited.

Flightattendant Sat 13-Feb-10 20:10:55

I'm actually in a similar position atm, books have been requested but am not sure what type would be good.

I hope you find something suitable. Just think of the kind of thing she would normally talk about reading. There's no reason that would change now, unless she habitually read books about death etc I in which case something else might be more appropriate.

I'm sorry this is happening. There are too many poorly mums around sad

RisingPhoenix Sat 13-Feb-10 20:11:24

These are all good suggestions - thanks

Flightattendant Sat 13-Feb-10 20:12:09

Cross posts Wmmc! blush

It really does depend on the person.

RisingPhoenix Sat 13-Feb-10 20:12:18

Sorry to hear that FlightAttendant - its miserable isn't it

Flightattendant Sat 13-Feb-10 20:17:25

Yes. Feel very helpless at the mo.

I got some of her favourite chocolate to send but she's on a special diet so can't eat it...that is the saddest box of chocolates I have ever had to eat.

Gosh I'm being gloomy tonight! Sorry. I'm sure your friend will be really touched by what you are doing.

Sparkler Sat 13-Feb-10 20:23:19

My step dad passed away just after Christmas sad. He had been poorly for quite a while. We all bought him Christmas presents and most of them didn't get used. One present that he really loved was a cushion. He loved elephants and this cushion was really beautiful and had a picture of an elephant on it. He had great use from this before he passed away and helped him to sit comfortably in his chair. Mum hugs it now when she thinks of him.
I don't know if this is something you might think of?

RisingPhoenix Sat 13-Feb-10 20:24:45

That's really poignant Sparkler and a good idea. Sorry for your loss sad

keresley Sat 13-Feb-10 20:38:20

I too am in same position. My lovely close friend terminally ill with 3 young boys. I recently sent her a huge box of pampering products which she seemed to appreciate. I also offered her my family holiday that I had booked and paid for as a gift so that she could go with her family. Plus, I offered to stay at her house this valentines weekend so that she could go away to a hotel with her husband. It is all so desperately sad.

Lighteningbugs Sat 13-Feb-10 20:42:13

I was once very very ill in hospital and it seemed as it there was no hope. Luckily I did get well again. The best gift I was given at that time was a cushion with some lavender inside it and a little bottle of lavender oil. It was very relaxing and took away that horrible hospital smell. I still feel very grateful for that extremely thoughtful gift.

MissM Sat 13-Feb-10 21:18:43

A box set of DVDs and lots of music. When my brother was in hospital he watched endless episodes of various series and listened to music when he couldn't focus on reading. Second the lip balm, but re. the scented candles etc. be aware that if she's undergoing chemo she might be feeling very sick and strong smells might make this worse.

Littlefish Sat 13-Feb-10 21:35:56

Could you afford a small Ipod or MP3 player, pre-loaded with her and your favourite songs?

Snowstorm Sat 13-Feb-10 21:40:07

When my god-mother was dying my MIL suggested an audio book (I bought her "Yes Minister" or "Yes Prime Minister", can't remember which but thought it was light-hearted and might distract her a bit) and some misting spray for her for if she was getting hot flushes etc. (she was having chemo). I didn't do the latter but in some cases maybe it'd go down well.

SrStanislaus Sat 13-Feb-10 21:54:47

One luxury I craved when I was very ill at home was clean-ironed -bedding. No-one else seemed to care much about the ironing part and washing is easy enough but how lovely it was to get into a newly made bed with super fresh ,super flat sheets even though it wore me out to do it. It would have been fantastic to have someone do it for me. Bliss.

I hated some smells when in was in hospital so anything that helps create a personal smell will help a lot. Find out whatever her normal favourite bath/shower stuff is and get lots of complementary wipes/hand creams etc.

Offer to do some of the moisturising for her - hands/arms/feet etc.And ,if she can tolerate it, a proper manicure/pedicure.

Third the lip balm. Dry lips are the very devil and licking them makes things worse.

I actually disagree about the exclusively 'cheering up' DVDs. She is very aware of her fate and needs time to wallow as well as showing a cheerful demeanour to her loved ones. A good old weepie will give her 'permitted' bawling time.

Spending time with her AND the children -helping the DCs make cakes/papier mache/general messy play .Video the proceedings and watch the end result together.

Its fantastic that you are doing this for your friend. Many people say the rights things but make themselves scare when it counts

ChippingIn Mon 15-Feb-10 02:48:51

It's a lovely thing to do for your friend.

I have been thinking about what I would like if it were me... I would want to know there were people there for my children, forever, not just for the immediate period. So reassurance from everyone re that. Same for DH. I would find great comfort from seeing things like a photo album of my friends with my children with just a couple of photos in it, with promises that they would fill them up when I'm gone. Knowing my friends will talk to them about me. Will make sure they know how much I loved them and didn't choose this...

That would mean the world to me.

Spending time with me.

Other little things... silly nonsense 'Shopaholic' type DVD's/books, Kendoku (like sudoku but harder), good for occupying the brain (if she is still up to it), lipgloss, hand cream (Clarins is nice, not too strongly scented or greasy), new PJ's etc.

As someone else said, if she's at home, clean & ironed sheets changed often.

If she is able - any food, drink, sweets she likes...

I am sure, that no matter what you put in, she will love how much thought and effort you have put into it...


newkiwi Mon 15-Feb-10 06:33:19

I gave kids books- a trilogy by Isobel Allende I think.

But the best things her family did was get a puppy. They still have him and it is a great comfort to them.

devilsadvocaat Mon 15-Feb-10 07:31:40

when my dad was very ill i bought him some thick snuggly socks (as your extremities can suffer when you are poorly) and soft lounging jumper/trousers.

so sorry for you

When my mum was dying she appreciated most

photographs of important times/people (perhaps you could do a photo book from photobox or similar?)

Books of poetry that she could dip in and out of. Poetry says a lot at difficult times

Flowers in her room at all times. She had white tulips in her room when she died - white tulips still hold a special place in my heart.

Peoples' time - visits and phone calls. Oh and LETTERS. (not emails).

Heifer Mon 15-Feb-10 08:26:14

When my mum was in the hospice she really wanted a pair of nice pjs. She had always worn long silk nighties which just weren't practical.

I bought her a pair of silk pjs which she loved as made her feel she still looked glam.

She also like having her legs massaged, and lip balm.

It really does depend on what stage her illness it as to what is appropriate. But just the fact that you are going to any trouble I am sure will have the right result in cheering up your friend, making her feel cared for and thought of.

GeriC Sat 08-Sep-12 14:29:53

Thank you to all the posters on this thread. I googled 'gifts for terminally ill people' and got directed to this site. It has been so helpful. Thank you. Ger

AnnaBanananana Sat 08-Sep-12 14:33:02

not sure if this has been mentioned but m&s do half length dressing gowns which are great for people in bed because they dont have loads at the back to bunch up

Pictureperfect Sat 15-Sep-12 20:28:40

Can she write? They do books for Mums with questions and space for the mum to write about her childhood and life, I imagine it would be very hard to do but very special. What about voucher for home manicure for her and her girls (if she has them) or something to do together to make precious memories

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