It's not easy to see someone you care about laid up in a hospital bed. There are times you feel you would do just about anything to get them out of there, because you know how horribly boring and depressing it could be at times.
You can however make the stay much easier for them with some creative gift ideas to keep them busy until they are able to come home.
Here are just a few ideas that will make the time pass for them more quickly and will keep them in better spirits.
Scratch Off Tickets: It is the rare person who doesn't get the little thrill of excitement at the possibility of winning money. Scratch off tickets will keep them entertained and will have them looking forward to cashing in their winnings when they are ready to leave.
Blank Photo Albums and Boxes of Photos: - Most people have boxes hidden in their closets filled with photos they haven't had a chance to put into albums yet. Bring these to your patient to help them kill the time as well as enjoy some awesome memories. If they are the creative type bring some scrap booking supplies as well. If you have some family or friends photos that they don't have themselves, make copies of them and let them enjoy the fun of seeing those photos for the first time.
Music: Perfect idea for any patient. Download their favorite songs onto an IPOD and give them their own little set of earphones so they can listen to something else besides "hospital sounds."
Books on Tape: Another way to keep them entertained especially if it is not easy for them to sit up and read or watch television. There are many inspirational tapes and gripping novels you can get for them to keep their mind off of their problems.
Favorite Books or Magazines - This is pretty much a no-brainer. Find out their favorite author or favorite subject and get them a whole bunch of books and magazines to keep them occupied.
Puzzle Books: Crossword, Soduko or word search puzzles can also keep them entertained for quite awhile.
Nintendo DS or Gameboy System - Not just for the little ones anymore. They now have plenty of crossword games, poker games, brain teasers, Soduko and many other electronic games that will keep older people as well as younger people entertained for hours.
Laptop Computer. - While most hospitals may not have direct access to the internet, there are still plenty of things to do with a laptop. Bring their favorite DVD movies that they can watch right in bed with their headphones on, bring CDs with their favorite songs, download PC games like mystery games that they can play. Then of coarse there is always computer solitaire to fall back on.
New Personal Stationary or a Journal. - If your patient enjoys writing, this can be a perfect time for them to catch up on their correspondence. If it is around a certain holiday they can fill out Christmas cards or whatever card is appropriate at that time of year. At least they can feel as if they are doing something useful. If they enjoy simply writing it is a good time for them to write down advice or their best memories in a journal for others to enjoy and it will also help to keep their spirits high.
Knitting, Crochet or Simple Crafts. - If they are the creative type, this is another idea to keep them busy and interested. Buy them a completely new project and ask if they can make something special for you or your family. This will give them purpose as well.
Comforts of Home. Bring them their favorite pillow from their bed at home with their own pillow case on it to make them more comfortable, or bring them their favorite blanket.
Comfortable Bed Clothes. Other ideas are their favorite pajamas, bathrobe, slippers, or a comfortable sweat suit if they are allowed to wear it.
Personal Care Items. The soap and shampoo in hospitals can be very antiseptic smelling and drying. Perk up your patient by bringing them their own shampoo, soap, moisturizer, makeup, hair accessories, electric razor, shaving cream, perfume or cologne. Anything that you think will make them feel more like themselves during their stay.
Personal Picture Frames or Favorite Collectibles - A touch of warmth can do wonders for a person's spirit. Bring some of their favorite things from home to warm up a cold hospital room such as personal pictures or collectibles. Better yet, buy them a few new items for their collection that they can look forward to bringing home with them. Digital photo frames with their favorite pics is a nice surprise as well.
Favorite Food. Hospital food ranks almost as low as airline food. If your loved one is not on any restricted diet, surprise them with some of their favorites. It can be Chocolate pudding, or homemade chocolate chip cookies. What is their favorite meal in their favorite restaurant? Order it to go and pick it up on the way to the hospital. They will so appreciate it and it will help build their strength up as well.
Bible. If they are religious bring their bible or favorite spiritual book to help boost their spirits.
Flowers. Flowers can always brighten up a room. Just be sure they are allowed to have them per hospital regulations and that they do not have any allergies to them.
Gift of Laughter. It is a known fact that people who laugh simply heal quicker. You can bring them joke books, books written by their favorite comedians, funny video tapes, Dvds, even comedy tape cassettes to help raise their spirits.
The Gift of Your Time. Probably the biggest gift you can give someone stuck in a hospital is the gift of your time. You can bring small board games that you can play together. They have all sorts of board games made in "travel" size that can be played while a patient is in bed. Or simply bring a deck of cards. Though just a visit from you may be all they will need to lift their spirits.
For more ways to make a long term hospital stay more comfortable for a loved one, I highly recommend the following funny book to help make the stay more bearable: Confessions of a Professional Hospital Patient: A Humorous First Person Account of How to Survive a Hospital Stay and Escape with Your Life, Dignity and a Sense of Humor