A gift can cheer up a hospital-bound friend, help relieve endless hours of boredom or even make him feel a little closer to home. Skip the ordinary get-well bouquet of flowers and invest a little creativity instead. You can use your friend’s interests as a guide to the ideal gift. Also, don’t be afraid to offer your services as a present to your friend instead of a gift-wrapped package.
A long stay in a hospital bed can get uncomfortable, particularly when your friend’s broken hip limits her ability to move around. You can help her feel a bit more comfortable with gifts, such as fleece blankets, an orthopedic pillow, thick, warm socks and pajamas that are easy to get on and off but look better than the hospital’s standard patient attire. You can help your friend feel a little closer to home by bringing in framed photos of family and friends, a copy of her favorite books or magazines or a music player filled with her favorite song selections. You might also want to give her some familiar scents, such as a collection of her favorite bath products and moisturizers, or all-natural spa treatments like face scrubs, moisturizing masks and hand treatments that you can even make at home.
If a broken hip means a lengthy hospital stay for your friend, help him stay connected to the outside world. The most personal gift you can give is your time; visit as often as possible to give your friend the opportunity to chat and to keep him abreast of what’s happening with other friends and family. Respect your friend’s limitations though. If he’s tired or busy with doctors and physiotherapists, keep your visits brief. You can bring him a newspaper each day, pay for the room’s television service to help him pass the time or bring in a regular supply of his favorite magazines. You can even pick up a tablet for your friend so he can check out the news online and stay connected through email and instant messaging. However, talk to the hospital staff about Internet and firewall policies first.
You can help make your friend’s time as a patient in the hospital more endurable by helping her relax and feel like her old self again. You can offer your amateur cosmetician services and do hair or even give her a manicure. You might also give her a shoulder rub or a foot massage, or pick up a battery-operated personal massager so she can use it to help her muscles relax even when you’re not there. Commit to visiting each day if it’s warm outside and take her out around the hospital grounds in a wheelchair for some fresh air and a change of scenery -- with the doctor’s permission, of course. During cold weather, bring an activity, such as a board game or craft activity to help stave off boredom. You can drop by with coffee from her favorite coffee shop each morning, prepare a few home-cooked meals to give her taste buds a break from the hospital food or whip her up a batch of her favorite goodies to indulge her sweet tooth.
Errands and Extras
Since breaking a hip is an unexpected event, your friend might have concerns about family and home matters. If he has young children at home, you can offer to help out with babysitting, cooking meals and homework. You can also help out with other odds and ends, such as grocery shopping, collecting mail and mailing bill payments. While you’re at it, you can help get your friend’s house ready for his homecoming, perhaps by rearranging furniture so his bedroom is on the main floor, installing handlebars in the bathroom, moving frequently used items in the kitchen to areas that will be easily accessible, and making meals that he can just heat and serve to help him eat healthy while he recovers.
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- Natural Beauty at Home: More Than 250 Easy-to-Use Recipes for Body, Bath, and Hair; Janice Cox; 2002
Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.