Useful And Thoughtful Gifts For Stroke Patients
Not sure what to get a friend or relative who has had a stroke? Having a stroke is often a scary and life changing event, and there are some great products which can help them at every stage of recovery. Here’s our comprehensive list of thoughtful and useful ideas for gifts for stroke patients.
I run a weekly online physiotherapy class for people in stroke rehab, and lots of these gifts have been recommended to me by them.
Gifts For Stroke Patients In Hospital
Whether they are in an acute hospital or a rehabilitation facility, here’s some top gift inspiration.
Flowers are no longer allowed in most acute hospitals as they can help the spread of MRSA so we need to be more imaginative in the gifts we take. Products that offer comfort and encouragement are great at this stage of their recovery.
This post contains affiliate links. This means we may get a small commission if you click and buy (at no cost to you). We chose the products because we think they make great gifts, and hope you do too.
Buy them some non slip hospital socks to wear. Not only are these comfortable and keep feet warm but they can also help prevent falls if someone is getting up and doesn’t remember to put their slippers on.
If they already have a good pair of slippers which they use but want to be even more comfy, then why not treat them to an extra special pair of cashmere bed socks to keep them warm.
Bed jackets are great gifts for people in hospital and elderly that feel the cold. Wards can be cold and hospital gowns which are short sleeved, baggy and open at the back are often uncomfortable and undignified.
A bed jacket (sometimes called a house coat) is a comfortable way to cover up, keep warm and wear when there are visitors.
They are much easier to put on and off compared to a full length dressing gown and don’t get tangled up in the bed clothing. This is particularly useful for wheelchair users where putting dressing gowns on and taking them off is challenging and time consuming.
Bed jackets can be bought in different sizes, patterns and thicknesses. Quilted ones are warm and easily washed and you can get bed jackets for men and women. Here are some examples below.
This cosy bed jacket option has a ribbon tie (which someone can easily do up for you if needed) instead of fussy buttons if they’re a problem.
This fleecy material bed jacket has buttons which do up all the way, making it even more snug.
Machine washable at 40 degrees, this soft bed jacket (cotton polyester mix) comes with deep pockets and goes up to English size 24.
This stylish and warm check number looks like the top half of a dressing gown.
Hospital blankets can be stiff and not that warm. Purchase a machine washable one for them to have on top to offer extra comfort.
Fleece blankets are a good choice as they are breathable, washable and lightweight making them easy for the patient to pull up over them. Colourful or patterned ones can make the environment less clinical and therefore can be comforting.
A small white board and pen can be great for writing encouraging messages. It can also be helpful for communicating for stroke patients with language deficits allowing you to write a simple yes or no to aid decision making or draw pictures and diagrams.
If they are hard of hearing, then a white board can also be useful to clarify points or write messages. Or you could use them simply for reminders and playing some games on. See this example below.
An audio book can be a great way to take your mind off something, provide some entertainment and relax. Reading may be particularly difficult for stroke victims as they can have difficulty turning the pages. Strokes also often leave patients feeling very tired and they may just tire too quickly to enjoy the story.
Sign up to Audible and listen to audio books on a smartphone or tablet – download them and they’re yours to keep, even after cancelling the subscription.
Velcro slippers are great for stroke patients especially those where their upper limb function may have been impaired. They are quick and easy to put on with one hand.
Choose velcro slippers with backs and rubber soles for walking around the ward to give them good grip and help to reduce falls. Velcro fitting slippers also allow some adjustment if their feet are swollen.
If foot swelling is a particularly problem then you can get specialist velcro shoes for swollen feet and slippers. Always make sure that they fit well as being too small will cause discomfort and potentially sores and too big and they can cause trips and falls.
I really rate Cosy Feet slippers for men and women – they are roomy and comfortable and fit well.
You can get velcro slippers especially designed for women with pretty patterns. I like these with their cool and comfy design which can be worn inside and out so great to take home with them after hospital too.
Here is an example of some men’s velcro slippers. These ones are seam free for extra comfort and have a removable foot bed so they can be used with orthotics.
Cosy Feet also lets you buy single slippers (for left or right) in case someone is wearing a boot, can’t wear anything on the other foot or needs different sizes due to swelling.
What about getting them a visitors book for their beside where people can leave messages, write down key dates of progress and the patient themselves can note down thoughts, achievements and goals.
Depending on how someone gets on, looking back on these musings can be encouraging in the long term and offer an opportunity for people to reflect on a time which may have feel like a blur and look at their progress. Here is a personalised note book you could use.
Clothing For Stroke Victims
Getting themselves dressed and undressed can be extremely difficult for someone who has had a stroke due to a variety of reasons e.g. a one sided weakness, poor coordination and dexterity or difficulty sequencing steps.
Garments which have small buttons, complicated buckles, fiddly zips or are tight fitting can all present major challenges. For stroke patients who have problems with incontinence, being able to dress and undress their lower half with ease is particularly important for them and their carers.
The Able Label do a great range of adaptive clothing that is easy to wear as well as take on and off. A lot of their clothes discreetly use velcro instead of buttons but still look stylish. They find their stretchy fabrics and wrap styles in particular are popular with people recovering from stroke.
Here are some examples for clothes that are easy to wear and put on. For more inspiration, read our article on this topic.
These waterfall wrap cardigans also have an eyelet fastening if you prefer to keep them closed.
Go for velcro front fastening nightwear for men and women.
A stylish wrap dress makes a statement and make getting dressed solo (or with a carer’s help) much easier.
In my opinion, the best shoes after stroke are Friendly Shoes. These clever zip up shoes can be put on and off easily and fastened with just one hand (allowing for independent dressing even if there is a one sided weakness). Even the styles that have laces don’t need to be be tied and retied – do them once to set the tension and then use the zip!
The perfect shoes after stroke, they open up really wide so you can smoothly slide the foot in. Plus they can fit AFOs which some stroke survivors wear to reduce weakness, overcome footdrop and increase mobility. What’s more, these adaptive shoes also look great!
Doing up laces can be an impossible challenge for some stroke patients. For those wanting to wear their favourite laces shoes, self tying shoe laces can make this possible. You can have either knotted versions or elastic ones.
Gadgets For Stroke Victims
Recommended to me only the other day by a stroke survivor, I thought these were worthy of being on the list of great gifts for stroke patients. Using a knife and fork can be tricky for those with weakness or coordination deficits. This adapted cutlery set makes things easier. Ones which have good grips are the best, making them easier to use.
Digi photo frames can be fun and reassuring for people to see friendly faces either when at rehabilitation or at home and recovering. They can also make good talking points for carers who are keen to get to know their clients and build up a therapeutic bond.
Memory clocks such as the Memrabel can be great gifts for stroke patient who are struggling with orientation to time.
Clocks with dates beside their calendar can reduce confusion and many can have reminders set on them to help them to remember to take medication and do key tasks throughout the day.
The Handy Bar aid is a simple lightweight portable aid that can help someone get in and out of the car more easily if this is a struggle after a stroke. We’ve reviewed this car transfer aid in more detail here so give that article a read to find out how it works and other car transfer aids.
Zips are fiddly at the best of times and can present as an impossible or frustrating task after a stroke especially for those where their pincer grip is weak and fine motor control has been impaired.
A zip pull makes an inexpensive but very useful gift, taking the stress out of doing up a favourite jacket and increasing a person’s independence at the same time.
An outdoor walker makes an excellent gift for those with reasonable mobility who are looking to get back to going outdoors.
They are good for those who lack confidence, need frequent rests and have mild balance problems. Read our article to find out more about walking aids and this one about the model which we think is the best outdoor walker.
This hospital bed table is a tilting table that can makes functional activities such as reading or painting easier. It is adjustable and can be laid flat to eat meals off and keep items in easy reach.
They can be pushed to the bedside or over to a wheelchair. Looking for a wheelchair accessible table can be hard but these can be moved around as they are wheeled and pushed up close enough to a wheelchair for the patient to easily reach.
Riser Recliner Chair
A riser recliner chair can make all they difference to someone with poor mobility or who needs frequent rests. The seats raise up and tilt forwards making them easier to get from and when they need a rest they can lie back in for them.
Most will come with inbuilt pressure relief making them suitable for people who sit for long periods, and they are patient controlled.
One Handed Kitchen Aids
One handed aids for the kitchen can make great gifts for patients following a stroke particularly if cooking is a hobby they want to return too. They can be relatively inexpensive and increase independence and safety in the kitchen, here are some of my favourites.
This chopping board is featured in our activities for stroke patients article. It allows ingredients to be secured meaning that tricky items such as onions can be chopped. Bring on independence in the kitchen!
Introducing the knork! Also often used by campers, the all-in-one knife and fork has been around for a long time and is a handy utensil for someone who can only manipulate cutlery with one hand. It gives people more independence at meal times.
These mixing bowls not only look good, they’re super functional too. They don’t slip across the table when mixing so can be used more easily with one hand to a standard mixing bowl. They even stay in place when used with an electric hand whisk.
Also featured in our ‘products to make life easier‘ article, this one handed tin opener is a popular purchase, solving what can be a barrier to cooking your favourite meals. Home-cooked pasta sauce, tuna salad or baked beans on toast can be served right up (and made independently) thanks to this nifty gadget!
Exercise Equipment For Stroke Patients
As a physiotherapist, exercise and maintaining mobility, strength and balance is so important to me. Help encourage your loved one with their physical rehabilitation by purchasing some exercise equipment.
Find out and listen to them to see what they are working on and check with their physiotherapist to see what they would recommend. But here’s my top choices!
Isn’t a wobble cushion such a great name?! Also known as a balance board, a wobble cushion can make a great gift for someone who is looking to improve their balance following a stroke. They do need to have reasonable balance to do this otherwise they could fall, so make sure the can stand steady with their feet together without holding on for at least a minute first.
Then they should practice balancing on the wobble cushion, holding onto something sturdy like a sturdy table or kitchen unit. They can practice letting go and keeping their balance when they feel safe to do so.
Mirror therapy after stroke is a recommended treatment adjunct to upper limb therapy. A mirror therapy box works by creating the illusion that the weaker limb is moving, by looking into the mirror and seeing the unaffected arm moving.
The patient then practices finger and wrist movements repeatedly with both hands whilst looking at the mirror. Exercises need to be repeated daily and ideally for 30 mins a day. A stroke physiotherapist will be able to guide them as to which movements and exercises to practice and how to progress to get the best results.
An exercise pedaller is a great gift for a stroke patient if mobility is limited – making getting on and off a full sized exercise bike too tricky. They are easily portable and encourage activity throughout the day.
Exercise pedals can be used both for cardiovascular training and lower limb strengthening. Once set up, most people should be able to use them independently. They make a great gift for a stroke patient who is looking to increase their fitness level but struggles with independent mobility.
Hand therapy balls make great gifts for stroke patients and are inexpensive. They can be used for hand strengthening, practicing grip and release, opening up tight fists or just to relieve stress. You can get the spherical shaped ones or the egg shaped ones like the one below and they come in different strengths depending on how weak someone’s hand is.
Low cost and effective, therapy putties offer many different exercise opportunities to increase hand and finger strength and dexterity. From squeezing and rolling to stretching and pinching. They come in different strengths from soft to firm. Just what someone recovering a stroke needs.
Great for strengthening exercises, therapy bands are widely used with different variations on the market. Here are some with handles making them easier to hold.
They all tend to come in different levels of resistance so people can start with the easiest stretch to some that require a lot more power to stretch.
A great gift for someone working on their core strength and balance. A gym ball (aso known as a swiss ball) offers so many different exercises they can do – from sitting on them practicing a pelvic tilt to raising limbs whilst maintaining their balance.
They are best used in conjunction with a gym mat if possible (we like this padded mat), and it’s best to avoid hard floors.
Gifts You Can’t Buy
When thinking about the best gifts for stroke patients, it doesn’t get much better than your unwavering support, encouragement and love. Here are some ideas to show them you care:
- Help them track their progress
- Set up a WhatsApp group to share experiences and help them to feel in contact with the outside world.
- Cook them a special supper
- Go for walk together
- Take children and pets to visit them
- Take and interest in one of their hobbies
- Do some gardening together, paint together etc
- Send cards and write letters
Having a stroke can be life-changing, and as a friend or loved one you are likely looking for ways to support them. We hope this article, on gifts for stroke patients, gives you some inspiration for gifts you can and can’t buy. We’re sure your loved one will be pleased with your thoughtful gift.