Give the Gift of Good Health
By Aynsley Anderson Sosinski, Lawrence Memorial Hospital
If you’re struggling to find a perfect gift for the hard-to-shop-for people on your holiday shopping list, consider something to help them improve their physical or mental health.
Maybe something related to exercise is a good idea. Perhaps some healthy food choices would be appreciated. And who couldn’t benefit from a stress-reducer.
Here are some ideas:
- A gym membership; a gift certificate to an exercise class or sessions with a certified personal trainer; an exercise DVD; or even a piece of exercise equipment or clothing are sure to be appreciated by the exercise enthusiast or even those just getting started.
- Fitness tracking devices are great tools to motivate people to achieve their fitness goals. Trackers can do much more than count steps. They can include heart rate and sleep monitors, as well as GPS tracking. They also can be water-friendly for swimmers. Some also act as “smart watches.”
- You could consider cookbooks with healthy recipes; a high-quality olive oil, assorted nuts, dark chocolates, or tea and coffee baskets; an indoor herb or vegetable garden and supplies; a subscription to a fruit-of-the-month club; or even a home cooked healthy meal.
- The American Heart Association (heart.org); the American Diabetes Association (diabetes.org) and the American Cancer Society (cancer.org) offer information about nutrition, and they feature healthy cookbooks and other nutrition products such as measuring cups and portion plates.
- Consider a desktop sand garden; a yoga class; a yoga pillow or mat for either yoga or meditation; a humorous movie DVD; a gift certificate for a massage; or a journal to write in.
- Taking someone who is struggling to lunch and lending an ear and supportive companionship often is much-appreciated.
- The Lawrence Memorial Hospital Gift Shop on the first floor of the hospital has both light-hearted and affirmation books to help lift moods and encourage positive thoughts. Use the 330 Arkansas Street entrance – and you even can take advantage of LMH’s free valet parking.
Helping during cancer treatment
- People undergoing chemotherapy or radiation may experience side effects, including skin irritation, hair loss or swelling. Consider skin-friendly lotions or lip balms; scarves or hats; or mild compression socks. The Mario’s Closet store, just around the corner from the main gift shop, stocks several of these items.
- In addition, gifts of household help; homemade soups; rides to and from treatment; or even companionship while undergoing a treatment session may be welcomed.
Lowering blood pressure
- Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure (hypertension), and they often aren’t aware of it. If you’re purchasing an automatic blood pressure home monitoring device as gift, note that a device that takes blood pressure at the upper arm (bicep) is more accurate than one that measures at the finger or wrist. Be sure the arm cuff is the right size. If it’s too large or too small, the monitor won’t provide an accurate reading. The American Heart Association’s website (heart.org) has information about hypertension, as well as how to select a reputable home blood pressure monitor.
- You also could consider a low-sodium cookbook or herbs and spices for salt-free cooking as gifts.
Reducing the pain and stiffness of arthritis
- The Arthritis Foundation (arthritis.org) notes that massage and application of heat or cold to painful areas can relieve arthritis pain. Mario’s Closet at LMH offers microwaveable pillows for necks and backs, as well as hot or cold therapy neck wraps. The store also has massage balls, known as a Sitting Spa, for mild pressure application to smaller, painful areas. Warmies, a soft, stuffed animal that can be microwaved and hugged are great for both children and adults – even if they aren’t in pain.
- The gift of an exercise class specifically targeted to people with arthritis also is sure to be appreciated. Water exercise is a good way to relieve pain. In conjunction with Lawrence Parks and Recreation, LMH Therapy Services offers the Arthritis Foundation’s Jivin Joints Class at the indoor aquatic center at Free State High School. For more information, call 785-832-SWIM. To enroll, visit lawrenceks.org/lprd/classes.
- Tai chi is a gentle exercise for both people with arthritis pain or people at risk of falling. LMH offers three levels of tai chi classes at the Performance and Wellness Center at the Sports Pavilion of Lawrence. The next 16-week class starts January 8, and registration will be available after noon December 11 at lmh.org/wellness/fit-for-life or 785-505-5840.
Helping the older generation
- Getting older can mean an increased risk for falling. A gift of grab bars in the bathroom; a bright night light; a sturdy assistive walking device such as a cane or walker; or non-skid footwear or fall management “gripper” socks (stocked at Mario’s Closet) can decrease the likelihood of falling.
- Exercises to improve balance probably are one of the best strategies to prevent falls. You might check out the tai chi class described above.
Helping and remembering
- A gift contribution to a reputable health organization in honor or memory of someone always is cherished. Ensure the majority of your donation is going to an organization that will use your gift as you intend, such as for research, patient care or staff respite. Charitynavigator.org and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance (give.org) can provide information about reputable organizations.
- · At this special time of year, you might want to consider a donation to your local community hospital. You can do this through the LMH Endowment Association (lmhendowment.org or 785-505-3315), and you can designate that your gift benefit one of many service areas and programs at the hospital.
— Aynsley Anderson Sosinski, MA, RN, is community education coordinator at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. She is a Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach. She can be reached at email@example.com.