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Holiday Gift Ideas for Mesothelioma Patients and Caregivers

holiday gift ideasWhenever the holiday season rolls around, people often look forward to various traditions and rituals. Seasonal decorations for the home come down from the attic. Special recipe books are cracked open in the kitchen. Holiday favorites – Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, maybe even the Chipmunks – are played on the home entertainment system. And, then of course there is the matter of gift shopping. Do you have holiday gift ideas for a family member who is suffering from mesothelioma?

If one of your loved ones has malignant mesothelioma, you may be faced with a bit of a conundrum: What present would this person want? What present would this person not want?

At Kazan, McClain, Lyons, Greenwood and Harley, we want all of our clients – as well as their loved ones – to be able to enjoy the holidays just as they have every year. If you want to know what holiday gift you  should get for a mesothelioma patient, we have some ideas that we are more than happy to share.

Well-Meaning Gifts, But Scrap These Holiday Gift Ideas

When someone has mesothelioma or another type of cancer, it is only natural to want to be supportive and help them think positive thoughts. However, anyone who lives with such a diagnosis is probably dealing with an emotional gauntlet.

Author and cancer survivor Lori Hope has several suggestions for what gifts not to get for a patient:

  • A book about living with cancer. There is a glut of information about cancer out there: on TV, the internet, bookstores, etc. Mesothelioma patients probably want to maintain some sort of control over what they come across so that they do not become overwhelmed.
  • A video or book that suggests positive thinking can cure cancer. Such items can grate on patients’ self-esteem during moments when they feel low.
  • A sad movie. Having a chronic disease stirs enough negative emotions.
  • A subscription to a magazine that discusses current events. This may conflict with feelings of hope.
  • Nutritional supplements. It is better to ask patients about this before buying them something.

Holiday Gift Ideas that Pamper

Luckily, there are many presents that mesothelioma patients are likely to appreciate. Rachel Vitagliano, manager of patient relations for Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia, collected some wonderful ideas from patients and caregivers.

If you want your loved ones to know that you have their health in mind, try buying them a gym membership. Fun and laughter are also important, so gift certificates to comedy clubs or lessons for diverting activities, such as music or crafting, may also be welcome. An e-reader may also be a good distraction during chemotherapy sessions.

And for those who appreciate feeling pretty and pampered, consider purchasing a spa treatment. Also, a nice set of soft cotton pajamas may help bring a night of restful sleep.

Hope adds that your time is also valuable. One neat idea is to create your own gift certificates for an hour of judgment-free listening, or a “get-out-of-jail-free” card that forgives lapses in manners when patients are having a bad day.

Don’t Forget the Caregivers

Both mesothelioma patients and their caregivers may feel frazzled from constant health concerns and appointments. So when it comes to gifts such as comedy club trips or spa treatments, consider making those presents good for two. Vitagliano adds that home-cooked meals and house cleaning services may also be appreciated.

Paula Spencer Scott, the senior editor of Caring.com, suggests that gift cards to restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations are all great ideas. A Netflix subscription can provide some much-needed distraction. Also, in case caregivers want time to themselves, you can offer to take over their duties for a day.

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