At Hospice of the Piedmont (HOP), we know the importance of being prepared for what’s coming – whether it’s for end-of-life plans or holiday shopping. With the leaves gently falling across our service area, we find ourselves gearing up for another holiday season.
As your trusted partners in preparing for the future, we turned to our exceptional team for their wisdom on gift-giving, all from a unique hospice perspective. Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift for a patient, a caregiver, or a loved one who needs a gentle nudge toward contemplating their end-of-life plans, we’ve got thoughtful suggestions to make your holiday season a little brighter.
When selecting a gift for a hospice patient, think about providing comfort, preserving their dignity, and perhaps even sprinkling a little joy into their holiday season.
- Stylish & Functional Adaptive Nightgown – Frances Manly, HOP’s Director of Hospice Homecare Services, suggests these long-sleeved embroidered options from Amazon, which are not only stylish but also warm and practical. “They look nice. Plus, they are easy to work with the patient and keep them clean. My mother loved them,” says Frances.
- Photo Session – Having a loved one in hospice care often brings family members together from near and far. Hiring a professional photographer can help families “create new memories with their loved ones,” says Hospice Aide Doris Henson, turning an emotionally challenging experience into a chance for cherished moments.
- Comfy & Practical Footwear – Our team also recommends LL Bean Moccasin Slippers. These warm and easy-to-wear slippers with rugged soles provide both comfort and safety. Similarly, Volunteer Coordinator Mandy Henkler suggests, “Definitely cozy socks with bottom grips for safe mobilizing.”
What do you give the person who gives so much all year long? One idea is to provide a little respite, allowing them to recharge and focus on their own emotional well-being.
- A Clean Home – “Cleaning often gets pushed to the bottom of a to-do list, but living in a dirty house can cause additional stress and anxiety,” says HOP Community Navigator Hannah Barton. Consider a robot vacuum cleaner, hiring a monthly cleaning service, or rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself, she says.
- Coffee with Mom: Caring for a Parent with Dementia by Mike Glenn – “This book was nice because it was similar to what I was currently going through. It hit the ups and downs of a mother with dementia. It taught me that it was okay not to have all the answers,” says Frances.
- Easy Meals – Eliminating a chore for caregivers is always a welcome gift. “Home-cooked soup or other freezer meals that can be reheated quickly work wonders,” says Mandy. Hannah suggests “a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant or meal delivery service such as Uber Eats or Doordash for a hassle-free meal.”
For Families of Patients
In the journey of hospice care, families play an integral role, navigating the path alongside their loved ones with courage and love. Here are some suggestions that acknowledge the unique challenges and emotions families face.
- Journals – Almost everyone we spoke to had this on their list. Some journals, like “Story of My Life,” include questions for people to ask their loved ones and record their life stories. Frances suggests a blank journal to “record stories from your loved one or simply write down your own struggles.”
- Vigil Supplies – Mandy, who also volunteers as a Death Doula, offered some suggestions to help families through a loved one’s final days. “Special coffees and teas are a thoughtful way to help family members stay energized while holding vigil,” she suggests. “Also, having a blanket big enough for two to snuggle under with your loved one is great.”
For a Loved One Who Enjoys Preparing
We all have that special someone in our lives who relishes the art of preparation, whether planning a vacation or thinking about their end-of-life plans. What do you get for the person who believes they’ve thought of everything?
- Online Legal Services – The holidays are a season of reflection. Give your loved one a chance to ponder their end-of-life wishes by providing access to online platforms that help create essential documents like wills and advance care directives. “We used Mama Bear Legal Forms to help get all the Estate affairs in order,” offers Frances.
- Twin Size Sheets – Maybe it’s been a while since you bought twin-size sheets for yourself. But as Crisis Response Nurse Fallyn Smith reminds us, “Most hospital beds require twin sheets.” And here’s an interesting tidbit – while Hospice of the Piedmont delivers hospital beds to the homes of our patients, we don’t provide sheets. So, gift your loved one a comfortable set today.
For a Loved One Who Needs a Gentle Nudge
End-of-life planning is a deeply personal journey, and taking the first step can be daunting for some. Here is a selection of gifts designed to gently nudge your loved one to consider these essential plans.
- Being Mortal by Atul Gawande – Books make lovely holiday gifts. This award-winning book encourages reflection on how one wants to live out the end of their life. As a HOP staff member aptly puts it, this book made them consider their own end-of-life choices.
- The Death Deck – Games are a great way to bring families together over the holidays. Who doesn’t love a round of Apples-to-Apples while you digest a holiday meal? For a unique family discussion game that deals with end-of-life topics in an accessible and even “fun” way, consider The Death Deck. This game promises to spark meaningful conversations and bring families closer together.
For the Hospice Fan
At Hospice of the Piedmont, we understand the importance of living in the present moment and maximizing our comfort. How can you bring those values into your gift-giving? Here are a few ideas.
- Spa Care at Home – “Treat them to a relaxing night at home with a plush robe and candles,” suggests Hannah. Adds Mandy, “A nice lavender lotion is calming and smells lovely, IMHO.” The team also offers “Naked Bee Orange Blossom Honey Soap or any of their lotions. They are gentle, work great, and smell amazing.”
- Charitable Gift – For the ultimate hospice fan, why not donate to their favorite nonprofit hospice? “Giving a gift in honor of a caregiver, teacher, friend or in remembrance of a special person can be even more meaningful than traditional gifts,” offers HOP Development Officer Shannon Gearing.
As we conclude our Holiday Gift Guide, we’re reminded of the power of giving and preparation. We hope this article inspires you to celebrate the spirit of giving and to make each moment count. May this holiday season bring warmth, love, and a deeper appreciation for the gift of life.
A final note: We’ve linked to some suggestions throughout this article. We should clarify two things.
- Hospice of the Piedmont does not endorse or recommend any specific product. We’ve offered suggestions here for illustrative purposes only.
- Hospice of the Piedmont does not receive a commission or affiliate payment for the abovementioned items. If you’d like to support us financially, please consider donating online. We sincerely appreciate your support in helping us continue our mission of providing comfort and care to those in need.