Gift Ideas for People with MS

The holidays are upon us and it’s always nice to express some love with a gift. Folks with multiple sclerosis enjoy a lot of what others without MS do, but we often have special requests that can help our lives be a little comfier, calmer, and a little easier. Here are some gift ideas that MSers will appreciate and put to good use (bear in mind that some of the ideas– massages, cooling vests, audio recorders, and cleaning services– should be cleared with the gift recipient ahead of time):

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Gift cards for massages/ spa treatments

It’s great to be pampered and to have someone massage achy, stiff muscles or just have the opportunity to melt into the massage table as the healing power of touch takes over. There are a variety of massage treatments such as reiki (the application of the hands to certain “trigger” spots on the body), reflexology (a thorough foot/lower leg massage), hot stone massages, scalp massages, and so on. Other spa treatments such as manicures, pedicures, and facials can also lift the spirits.

Gifts to ease the daily routine

MSers want less stress and less tiresome chores. A gift certificate for a cleaning service (whether a large company or one professional) can make a huge difference. Several people chipping in resources to have someone do the heavy cleaning just once a month can make an excellent, thoughtful gift. Gift “vouchers” from family and friends to provide services such as babysitting, cooking, raking leaves, shoveling snow, or grocery shopping will be treasured.

Gifts for outside comfort and functioning

Cooling vests, which are used to keep MSers from overheating, make great gifts for the long summer months and year-round for those who live in warmer climates . Heat exacerbates many MSers’ symptoms, so these cooling vests can keep us out in the game for longer periods of time. Voice recorders, which act as “audio lists”, help those with multiple sclerosis remember grocery lists, errands, and phone numbers without carrying a lot of paper lists. Both cooling vests and voice recording products can be researched through contact with your National MS Society local chapter (U.S.) or an MS organization in your region of the world.

Gifts for outside entertainment

We also like to leave the house! Movie tickets, restaurant gift certificates (less cooking), tickets to plays or shows, and even free invites to sports events and friendly gatherings will be well-received. Making weekly dates for lunch, tea, or coffee can also put a smile on an MSer’s face.

Gifts for home entertainment and comfort

Things that make home life easier include movie subscriptions (Netflicks or Blockbuster), favorite magazine subscriptions, favorite DVDs, music CDs, print books, and audio books (for impaired vision.) An assortment of coffees and teas can make a great inexpensive gift. To make life a bit comfier, give the gift of comfortable but attractive activewear: there are many velour warmup suits and comfy men’s sweatsuits on the market that make movement more fluid and life more cozy. Warm, fun socks keep cold feet at bay. Perhaps the most unusual idea for an MSer is the gift of one or more attractive night lights. Walking in the dark to get to the bathroom or to the kitchen for some water can be a minefield of obstacles and sharp corners. Someone recently gave me a couple of pretty, stained-glass night lights to illuminate my path. I adore them.

19 comments

  • Hey Jen, these are some great gift ideas. :)

  • Jen

    Thanks, Lisa. I did a similar article about healthy gift ideas for women at Suite101 last year. A lot of people were searching for such ideas through Google and Ask.com, so apparently there’s a need. I’m imagining the same holds true for the loved ones of MSers searching for appropriate gift solutions.

    We’re having a mild couple of days here, but colder weather is expected for the weekend. I hope your casa is staying warm with the kitties bundled up!

  • These are wonderful ideas indeed! But what about chocolate? :>)

  • Jen

    ATTENTION: PLEASE GIVE CHOCOLATE!!!LMAO

  • Nat

    Hi, my drama teacher has MS, she’s only 28, and our drama group want to get her a present because we are leaving school in a few weeks, what would you suggest?
    Thanks for your time :) x.

  • Jen

    Hi Nat—

    A great gift would be some kind of cooling device (people with MS have trouble functioning in the hotter, humider weather.) There are wrist wraps and neck wraps that can be put in the freezer or fridge and then applied to the body to cool off. Also, there are cooling vests that have cooling packs that go into the fridge/freezer and then into the vest to give the same effect.

    A website that has awesome MS products such as these cooling devices is http://www.themsshoppe.com. My friend Cathy owns and operates it (she also has MS.) Maybe you can also pass this link on to your teacher.

    Thanks for reading.

    Jen

  • Jen

    PS: Nat, here is the specific page of cooling items (including hats):

    http://www.themsshoppe.com/products.iml?mdl=products.mdl&Cat=13

  • Julitza

    I was told about something that helps people with ms type in the computer….where can i get that?

  • Jen

    Julitza–

    Hi. Here is a page from the National MS Society’s adaptive equipment page, with links to resources. I hope this helps!

    Jen

    http://www.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/mobility-and-accessibility/assistive-technology/technology-solutions/dexterity/index.aspx

  • casey

    I have MS and I am also an Occupational Therapist.. My mother just asked me what she could get for me for christmas to help with MS. and I told her Yoga is one of the best things.. and its also important to keep your air in your house clean. So think about an Oreck to cleanse the air of harmful particles that can make myself and others that have low immune systems more fatigue.

  • Adam

    My dad has MS real bad and can’t do anything really. He is in bed all day and night and has a nurse come by to help him get into a wheelchair once and a while. With that being said I have no idea what to give him. Sounds like most of this people that have MS or know of people that have it don’t have the worse kind of it. Didn’t know if you or anyone on here had any ideas.
    Thank you,
    Adam

  • Jen

    Hi Adam–

    I’m sorry to be getting back to you so late. I have been away from this site for a while– apologies. I’m also sorry to hear about your dad. Unfortunately men often have worse cases than women (I am not sure why.) I am thinking that maybe you can get him audiobooks or CDS for gifts, if he enjoys these. Even if spending time in bed, he may be able to enjoy listening to a book or to music.

  • Julie

    My mom has MS, and I got her some MS clothing items one year (she loved them, and I think a license plate holder and some other items were thrown in too) (http://www.cafepress.com/+ms+gifts). I also got her an accupressure mat from Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Acupressure-Acupuncture-Relief-Treatment/dp/B0049Q0P9M/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1352731712&sr=8-5&keywords=accupressure+mat), and she LOVES this. It helps her back a lot, even though she struggles with her legs for the most part. She also loves massage gift certificates. She needed the shower grip handles once and loved those too (http://www.amazon.com/Safe-er–Grip-shower-Handle-17-Inches/dp/B007BKGG2S/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1352731841&sr=8-5&keywords=safe+grip), but the link I posted is for a set of 2. Also, Sombra is a pain relieving cream (best one I’ve found) that she LOVES and uses every night. She gets too hot, so I got her the cooling cream (http://www.amazon.com/Sombra-Cool-Therapy-Natural-Relieving/dp/B00168BU5E/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1352731940&sr=8-5&keywords=sombra). I can’t rave enough about Sombra because I have chronic back pain, and it’s the only cream that lasts long and helps me sleep through the night. Just tell them not to touch their eyes after applying it unless they wash their hands first. Good luck!

  • Sarah G

    I would recommend getting a specific gift for the individual. Gifts that remind them of their condition (my mother was diagnosed almost 30 years ago), are not gifts, but reminders. If you want to buy a practical item, don’t term it as a gift.

  • Jen

    Nice suggestion, Sarah. I have no problems with terming them gifts, having had MS now for nearly 15 years, but if you feel that your loved one would be offended, then by all means do what you think is appropriate. It’s a very individual matter, in my humble opinion.

  • These are great ideas my mom has MS and I want to make her life simply but make her happy

    Thank you
    Krista. Owasso ok

  • My cousin (mother of 4, in her late 30s) was recently diagnosed with MS and I wanted to put together a little gift basket to show support. When her sister was diagnosed with cancer we gave a gift basket and put in things like saltine crackers, otter pops, a head scarf with a tying guide, small candies to help with dry mouth, and pocket books of games & puzzles to do doing chemo.

    I’ve been looking for MS gift ideas and this is the best suggestion list I’ve seen yet. Thank you!

  • Olive Asi

    Hi Jen,

    I have a secret santa present for a lady a church who is elderly and has M.S .That is the only information I have been given so I am a bit clueless in what to get her. I would like to make sure I get her something that she will def. use. Please Jen if you could give me some great ideas.

  • Jen

    Hi Olive!

    I’m not sure what your price limit is, but maybe something to make her comfortable this winter, such as a warm throw blanket or a pair of one-size-fits-all stretch slippers/booties? (Unless you are fortunate enough to get her exact shoe size.) If she is ambulatory, the slippers/booties would need to have skid-resistant soles. Or how about a cozy book of Christmas stories she could read (or have read to her)? I can’t think of anything specific to MSers during the winter months except things that make life more pleasant, especially if someone is less mobile and/or homebound.

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