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Get your MS warriors a gift they’ll love
This annual multiple sclerosis holiday gift guide on my multiple sclerosis (MS) advocacy blog, FUMS, is a hit every year.
I asked the FUMS community to send in their best and most useful products that help in everyday living. As always, they came through with an overwhelming response.
The 2018 guide is packed full of new products I’ve enjoyed using, as well.
This guide will alleviate some of the guesswork when it comes to buying a gift for someone with MS. Plus, I hope it helps those receiving the gifts get something they can truly use and enjoy.
If you’re an MS warrior, forward this list to your friends and family. Make it easy for them to help you. Or print it out and leave it laying around. Possibly after highlighting a product or 10!
If you’re a gift-giver, start with this advice: know thine audience. Some MS’ers wouldn’t view “MS specific” gifts as gifts, but rather as reminders of their disease. Gauge the attitude of the intended recipient and give accordingly.
A majority of people with MS can’t tolerate the heat and, in fact, can be thrown into a flare or a full-blown exacerbation when unable to cool down.
As such, several companies have come up with helpful products designed to lower the temperature for those who need it. Here are some of the best:
- Cooling vests provide an all-over quick cooling effect that lasts for hours. Buy them here.
- Neck wraps — my personal favorite — can either be frozen or heated. It’s imperative for me if I’m going to be able to function in the heat. This aromatherapy one, bursting with a soothing lavender scent, is my favorite.
Our FUMs community member Grace Kopp has the opposite problem: she’s always cold. She suggests getting a heated blanket and being in control of your own thermostat! Shop heated blankets now.
There are numerous national home cleaning companies that are happy to work with you on gift certificates or long- or short-term contracts. Molly Maid, Merry Maids, and Maid Brigade, just to name a few.
Want to keep it local? Go to Craigslist or just Google “maid service” for your local area.
Don’t forget the low-cost opportunity to provide cleaning services yourself.
It’s often not possible for MS’ers to get out and mow the lawn, rake the leaves, or put up holiday decorations. A friend offering to provide those services would be a wonderful gift.
Don’t have the time to do it yourself? Again, check Craigslist or Angie’s List for local lawn services or handyman services.
Living with MS can mean a lot of time relaxing indoors, not overusing our “spoons.”
Anything that you’ve enjoyed or that your intended recipient is interested in makes a great gift:
- Amazon Prime (a one year membership)
- warm socks or sweatshirts
- blankets and fluffy pillows
- audiobooks (see Audible)
And don’t forget an e-reader, like a Kindle. Sometimes those big books can be rather heavy. If an MS’ers hands are numb, tingling, painful, or just tired, a book can be a difficult thing to hold. An e-reader may be just the ticket.
Here are links to suggested MS specific books, recommended by me and the community:
- “Chronic Christmas: Surviving the Holidays with a Chronic Illness” by Lene Andersen.
- “Multiple Sclerosis For Dummies” by Rosalind Kalb.
- “Awkward Bitch: My Life with MS” by Marlo Donato Parmelee. Submitted by fellow FUMSer Karen Rotert, who said “this [book] gives people without MS a real look at what we go through and makes MS’ers feel normal with their feelings.”
- “Bowel and Bladder Issues in Multiple Sclerosis by Two Pee Brains with Potty Mouths Talking Shit About MS” by Kathy Reagan Young and Erin Glace.
Let technology take some of the burdens away and help with reminders, questions, and keeping track of things.
MS Buddy App
This app is GREAT for meeting other MS’ers and being able to talk about that which only we can understand! Additionally, there are podcasts in the app (by yours truly) and links to a TON of articles about MS.
It’s really a wonderful resource and it’s FREE.
This app, created for people with MS and their caregivers, help keep track of the day-to-day issues that MS’ers need to keep track of. Namely: injections, reactions, medication reminders, a place for comments (think: weird symptoms, sleep issues, how tired you are of having MS, etc.) — all of which can be put into a report form and downloaded for your doctor.
MSAA — Multiple Sclerosis Self-Care Manager
This app, backed by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA), won a lot of points with FUMS readers. It keeps everything in one place: medications, side effects, lab results, allergies, and other conditions.
This one is pretty cool. It allows you to look at 26 biweekly MRI case presentations, giving you a front-row view of a neurologist’s grand-rounds!
It really helps to make sense of disease progression and therapeutic response. Even more impressive: this app offers audio commentary from MRI experts.
Other tech finds
If there’s a need to work from a recliner, a sofa, or a bed, the Laptop Laidback can be the most practical gift of all. I LOVE mine not only for being uber-productive but for being uber-lazy!! I like to set my iPad up on it and watch “The Crown” in bed.
Our friend and fellow FUMS’er Kit Minden shared a great suggestion: A reading/book/document stand that can hold all of those things so you don’t have to! Get one here — it’s 180-angle adjustable.
Peace Frogs is a full line of clothing designed to help promote positive and optimistic thinking throughout the world. Their clothing places a premium on comfort, quality, and style, but it also allows you to spread a little bit of a positive feeling every time you wear it.
They worked with FUMSnow.com to come up with a GREAT T-shirt that incorporates that FUMS attitude and spreads a little sunshine in the MS world.
Shop the “MS Gets on My Nerves” T-Shirt
The folks at Race to Erase MS have a shop full of great products sold specifically to raise money for researching a cure for MS.
If it’s MS-inspired jewelry that you’re looking for, find some suggestions here.
And don’t forget, FUMS logo’ed MS Warrior wear is now available in our FUMS Shop.
Here are a few more ideas that were submitted by fellow FUMS’ers:
- a shower grab bar or shower seat
- toilet grab bars
- Sombra cooling and pain relieving cream
- an extra-large rearview mirror
- a small refrigerator (to have handy near a recliner)
- night lights (to make the home a safer place)
- pill minders
- a foot bath
- a body pillow
- a charging station
Perhaps the best gift you could give someone with MS is something that’s one-size-fits-all, comes only in the color orange, and is guaranteed to be well-received and never returned or exchanged: a donation in their honor.
There are any number of charities that service this community:
- The National MS Society
- The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
- The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America
- The Center Without Walls at the Race to Erase MS (my personal choice)
This really is the gift that keeps on giving — to the one whose name or memory you’ve honored — and to the entire MS community.
This annual Multiple Sclerosis Holiday Gift Guide originally appeared on FUMS.
Kathy Reagan Young is the founder of the off-center, slightly off-color website and podcast atFUMSnow.com. She and her husband, T.J., daughters, Maggie Mae and Reagan, and dogs Snickers and Rascal, live in southern Virginia and all say “FUMS” everyday!