On Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any day this holiday gift season, it’s never too early to start looking for the perfect present. If your holiday shopping list includes someone who is living with ALS or a caregiver, we’ve compiled a list of gift ideas to help make your shopping a little easier this year. Our support services team contributed these recommendations from their experience providing resources and support to people living with ALS and their families.
Tablets and Smart Home products serve a variety of purposes and can be a very useful house/life upgrade this year. Karen Raley Steffens, RN, CHPN, CCM, a support services coordinator, recommends investing in Google Home products to help keep you connected, while Anne Marie Doyle, MA, CCC-SLP, with her extensive experience as a speech language pathologist, suggests boogie boards (writing tablets) and voice amplifiers.
- iPads or other tablets
- Gift cards to buy communication apps: Google Play Gift Card, Apple Gift Card
- Google Home Products
- Boogie Board (writing tablet)
- Amazon Alexa/Home products
- Voice Amplifier
- Caregiver Alert System
- Smart Watch
Whether you choose to shop for physical gifts or one-of-a-kind experiences, we have tons of ideas to add to your shopping list this year. Rochelle Walwer, LCSW, a support services coordinator, recommends memberships to places like the Morton Arboretum or Chicago Botanical Garden, which have accessible trails, and accessible theater tickets to shows right here in Chicago.
- Subscription to Audible for audiobooks
- Subscription to Spotify for podcasts/music
- Memberships to Chicago Botanical Garden or Morton Arboretum
- Broadway in Chicago Accessible Theater tickets
- Bone Conduction Headphones
- Original song from Songfinch
- Hands free games
Capturing those memorable moments:
Sometimes a fresh set of photos or a simple greeting card can mean the world. Rochelle recommends Wi-Fi digital photo frames as a great way to display photos and share with family and friends.
- Gift certificate to local photography studio or home photography session
- Legacy box kit to digitize family photos and home videos
- Storyworth book writing kit to record memories and stories
- Wi-Fi enabled digital photo frame to send and display photos
- Milestone cards for birthdays, holidays, etc.
- Personalized gifts from Etsy
Everyone deserves a little time for self-care and relaxation. Easton Stevenson, LCSW, a support services coordinator, recommends warm blankets for sitting or resting in a wheelchair. Gift certificates to a spa or salon are also a great option for more in-depth pampering.
- Gift certificate to a local salon or spa
- Cozy blankets, socks, or mittens
- Heated leg and foot massager
- Eye Mask/ Sleep Headphones
- Stationary Bike pedals for convenient exercise at home
- Bed Rest Pillow
Making daily life a little easier:
Living with ALS changes a lot about day-to-day routines, and simple things can help make those activities less of a challenge. Rochelle and Michelle Shaker, MSW, LCSW recommend adaptive clothing, which can be found online from many retailers.
- Giraffe drinking system
- Gift card to Headspace meditation app
- Gift card to Calm meditation app
- Items from stores that have adaptive clothing: Silverts, Tommy Hilfiger, JCPenny
- Items from stores that have adaptive home pieces: Pottery Barn, Wayfair
- Wheelchair Poncho
Accessibility and Ease of Movement
Give the gift of comfort and independence this year. Karen recommends these devices which can help with making daily activities more accessible.