If someone is ill, especially if they are in the hospital, small gifts can cheer them up. You leave them when you go and the person can look at them and know you care.
Limit the size of things you bring, especially to the hospital.
Bring flowers in bright colors.
Plants are good if the person has a green thumb, or you are coming every day to water them.
Balloons with multiple color streamers brighten up the room and can be easily moved out of the way.
Posters and sticky tape can dress up drab and depressing hospital walls.
Write. Send cards, postcards, letters. This allows the person to “visit” when she or he feels up to it. Keep them short, cheerful, and frequent.
Bring food, if it is allowed. Make sure you bring things the person is able to eat. Bring a dish for sharing if you bring bags of candy. Offer to bring a meal from their favorite restaurant.
Something to occupy them:
pencil and paper puzzles
colors and coloring books
tapes and Walkman
videos, hospitals have VCRs available now
games to play alone, in bed
If the HF [group] knows the person’s tastes well, or asks around to find out about them, these occupying gifts can relieve a lot of the “down” time for the person in the hospital.
I mentioned earlier that we visited a friend in the hospital. It’s probably goofy to bring a grown man balloons, but we did. We went to the grocery store and they had flying butterflies, big things with colors like stain glass windows. That’s what we brought one day.
He and his wife still talk about the butterflies to this day.
Other posts on this topic:
What to do in Illness: Talk
What to do in Illness: Children
What to do in Illness: House
What to do in Illness: Stay at Hospital
What to do in Illness: Visiting
Others’ Suffering and What to Do