What to Include in a Care Package for a Loved One with a Chronic Disease

Living with a chronic disease means facing many challenges. These challenges go beyond the physical consequences of the disease (which are significant enough) and include financial hardships, anxiety, and feelings of isolation.

Many of our loved ones who suffer from chronic diseases would be encouraged by care packages. What sort of items would benefit them the most?

My husband and I are quite familiar with these challenges because I suffer from an autoimmune disease. One of our cousins was recently diagnosed with this same disease. After reaching out and offering our support to his family, we decided to send him a care package that would encourage him and support the care he is receiving from his doctors.

Many of our friends and family members who suffer from chronic diseases would be encouraged by care packages. What sort of items benefit them the most? Here are the items we included in our care package, as well as a list of additional items that might be useful when blessing your family member or friend with one. Some of the following links are affiliate links. Click here to read about what this means.

Packing a care package for a loved one with a chronic disease

What we included in our care package

Keep in mind that we were preparing a care package for a preteen boy. However, most of these items are relevant for adults, too.

  • Journal and pens. We included a simple journal and some pens so that our cousin would have a place to document his thoughts and feelings about his illness and about life in general. We chose these awesome pens that display Bible verses (we got the “Fear Not” variety, so they all have Bible verses about trusting God). These were a bit pricey, but we love that they provide a constant reminder that we don’t have to fear.

  • Travel games set. Our cousin has spent some time in the hospital recently and is receiving ongoing treatments that require time-consuming visits to the hospital on a regular basis. We included a simple set of travel games to help him pass the time during the treatments!
  • Coloring book. Coloring books for adults have become incredibly popular over the last few years. This isn’t surprising given that coloring is a stress-reducing activity for many individuals. Those with chronic illnesses benefit from activities that reduce their stress levels so we included a fun optical illusions coloring book and some colored pencils in the care package. We chose this coloring book because many coloring books are very feminine (they contain lots of swirls, hearts, etc.). These wouldn’t be as appreciated by males, so we found one that would be.

  • Inspirational reading. When I first became sick several years ago, I was humbled, comforted, and challenged by the book Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper and his fellow contributors. This book is a compilation of essays written by men and women who have suffered quite a bit. I don’t have the space to write a full review here, but I will say that it provides useful, comforting insight for those who are suffering. It’s a bit of a deep read for a young man like our cousin, but we included it because it will benefit his parents now and he’ll have it available to read when he is ready.

  • Favorite treats. We checked with his parents to find out what snacks our cousin has been enjoying. We included these so there would be something yummy for him in the care package.
  • Handwritten note of encouragement. The ultimate point of sending a care package is to let the recipient know you care about him or her! For this reason, we included a handwritten note expressing our concern and support. We explained why we sent the specific items we included in the care package and encouraged our cousin to let us know if we can be of any help to him (or his parents).

Additional items to consider including when you assemble a care package

  • Comfortable loungewear or pajamas
  • Nice pillow and pillowcases
  • Portable DVD player/DVDs (particularly useful for hospitalized loved ones or those who must travel long distances for care)
  • Comfortable socks with non-skid soles
  • Books or books on CD
  • Puzzle books and magazines
  • Cozy blanket
  • Gadgets that make daily life easier (pill boxes, easy-to-use can openers, etc.)
  • Gift cards for favorite restaurants
  • Gift cards for housecleaning services
  • An offer to help with whatever he or she needs (meal preparation, grocery shopping, yard work, etc.)

The term “chronic disease” encompasses a lot of illnesses, so please consider the unique needs of your loved one when compiling a care package. For example, you don’t want to send a bunch of sugary candy to a loved one with type 2 diabetes! If you’re not sure if a given item is appropriate, then check with your loved one first or simply omit it.

I hope this inspires you to bless a loved one with a care package! Do you have additional suggestions for good items to include in one? Please share these with us in the comments section below.

Shared at the following link party:

Weekend Wind Down, Small Victories Sunday, Making Your Home Sing, The Art of Home-Making, Monday’s Musings, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tuesday Talk, Healthy Living, and Share the Wealth.

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Comments

  1. Great ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What great ideas. Thank you for sharing.

  3. What good ideas! Sometimes it’s hard to know how to best help someone in need.

    • It is often difficult to know how to help, Anne. A care package like this containing simple items can bring a little sunshine into an otherwise dreary situation.

  4. This is quite an extensive list, I can tell you’ve put much thought into it and have been personally affected, which makes it that much more applicable. I’m sorry to hear that you suffer from this as well! I love the book suggestion by John Piper especially, that seems like a good book for anyone going through suffering. Going to write that one down!

    Pinned and thank you once again for your wisdom, Shannon!

    • Hi Ruthie,
      I’ve found that God often uses our own struggles as places out of which we can minister to others. That’s what happened here. Hopefully we can all put these ideas to good use to bless our loved ones!

  5. Oh what a great idea. I made a similar package for a neighbor. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    • Glad to hear you’ve done something similar, Sherry. It’s such a simple idea, but it can make a big difference.

  6. What a touching and thoughtful idea. I have friends and family who are suffering from chronic illnesses who would enjoy a similar package! Thanks for sharing this on the Healthy Living Link Party.

  7. Thank you for sharing this! I have a dear friend who is dying of metastatic breast cancer. This gives me some good ideas when I can’t see her personally. Do you think the book would be appropriate for her? I want to encourage her as even in her suffering she has been an encouragement and amazing example of godliness to others. Thank you again for giving me some new ideas of ways to show love to my friend!

    • Hi Kathy,
      I’m so glad you’ll be encouraging your friend with some helpful items!
      I’ve given a lot of thought to your question. Honestly, I don’t think it would be the best book for your friend. I don’t know her personally, so I can’t say for sure, but in general I think it is most useful for folks who are living with suffering. If a dying person is really firm in his or her faith in God, then he or she would likely get some good from the book, but it would be a difficult read because it speaks so much of how God uses suffering in our lives. This could be a difficult thing for a dying person because his or her life is ending and there is so little “use” for the outcomes of suffering. It would, however, be beneficial for family members and friends of the dying individual. I hope that makes sense!
      Thanks so much for your question! I’m praying for your friend, you, and her other loved ones.

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