Wondering what the best gifts for spinal cord injury patients are?
Look no further because we’ve put together a gift guide of 15 items that can help SCI patients improve their mobility, live more comfortably, and better manage their complications. Whether your loved one has a mild or severe spinal cord injury, there’s something in this gift guide for everyone.
The Best Gifts for Spinal Cord Injury Patients
Before we get into the gifts, we wanted to emphasize that the outcomes of every spinal cord injury are different. As a result, some gift mays be more ideal for certain SCI survivors than others.
Important factors you must consider when purchasing a gift for someone with a spinal cord injury include:
- Functional abilities. You don’t want to get someone a gift they cannot use. Some of the best gifts are items that make everyday life more convenient.
- Hobbies and interests. Your loved one is so much more than their spinal cord injury. Everyone has different interests, and a more personalized gift is always more meaningful.
- Secondary complications. Complications like pressure sores and autonomic dysreflexia can make living with spinal cord injury stressful. Getting a gift that can help reduce the risk of these complications or provide relief will be greatly appreciated.
With all that said, let’s get into some of the best gifts for spinal cord injury patients.
This first gift for spinal cord injury patients is ideal for wheelchair users. When you’re in a wheelchair, it’s difficult to reach items that are dropped on the ground, placed somewhere too high, or are far away.
A reacher works as an extension of the arm. It will help your loved one easily grab light items that are out of reach and minimize their risk of falling.
2. Smart Devices
Smart devices like the range of Google Nest products can make exceptional gifts for spinal cord injury patients.
Google Nest products allow you to control many household appliances from your phone or voice. This makes it ideal for individuals with limited mobility.
These smart devices can:
- turn the lights on and off
- make phone calls
- lock and unlock doors
- set reminders and alarms
- control the temperature
3. Virtual Reality Headset
Although virtual reality was initially created for entertainment purposes, it’s also staking its claim in the healthcare industry as an innovative approach to rehabilitation.
Distraction is a powerful tool, and by stimulating an interactive challenge, patients can escape their everyday lives and participate in entertaining and engaging challenges that keep them performing the repetitions they need to improve their mobility without getting bored.
4. Handheld Massager
Muscle tightness, decreased circulation in the legs, and pain are common complications of spinal cord injury.
An electric massager makes a great gift for spinal cord injury patients because it helps relax the muscles and improve circulation.
5. Universal Cuff
Many spinal cord injury patients have limited hand function. Universal cuffs are adaptive devices that can make it easier to hold smaller items like pens, toothbrushes, and utensils.
This can help encourage your loved one to practice activities of daily living like grooming and eating all on their own, or to continue participating in hobbies such as painting or writing.
The MusicGlove is a rehabilitation device that makes it fun to improve one’s fine motor skills after a spinal cord injury.
It combines music, gaming, and hand therapy to keep individuals with weak hand functions engaged and practicing the repetitions they need to improve.
In fact, the MusicGlove is clinically proven to improve hand functions in just 2 weeks!
7. Video Doorbells
With a motor disability like spinal cord injury, it can take a while to get to the door. Video doorbells will send a notification to the individual’s phone when someone rings. The camera will show who is at the door and users can speak into their phones to let visitors know they are on the way.
The FitMi is a full body rehabilitation device that helps motivate spinal cord injury patients to perform high-repetition movements.
By tapping, moving, and squeezing the sensorized pucks, spinal cord injury patients can work on improving control of their hands, arms, trunk, and lower bodies.
The FitMi includes 40 exercises designed by physical and occupational therapists. You can choose which part of your body you want to work out and it will challenge you to reach a certain number of repetitions in order to reach the next level.
9. Leg Lifter
For SCI patients who don’t have leg function but retained some of their upper body strength, a leg lifter can be extremely helpful. By placing their foot through the loop and pulling on the strap, your loved one can easily move their legs in or out of beds and wheelchairs.
Additionally, spinal cord injury patients can use a leg lifter to gently stretch the muscles in the leg.
Due to changes in body composition after a spinal cord injury, individuals may not be able to fit into their old clothes.
Moreover, people with T6 or higher level spinal cord injuries are susceptible to autonomic dysreflexia, which describes spikes in blood pressure. One of the most common causes of autonomic dysreflexia is wearing clothes that are too tight. By wearing comfortable clothes that do not constrict the body, individuals can prevent an episode of autonomic dysreflexia.
11. Meal Delivery Subscription
Eating healthy after SCI is essential for ensuring optimal energy levels and preventing additional health complications that can get in the way of pursuing rehabilitation.
Additionally, all meals are delivered directly to the individual’s home, which is ideal for spinal cord injury patients who cannot drive.
12. Electric Blanket
Electric blankets can make great gifts for spinal cord injury patients with spasticity (involuntary muscle contractions). The heat from an electric blanket helps relax the muscles and relieve pain.
However, some spinal cord injury patients struggle with body temperature regulation, so a heated blanket should be used with caution. It can help quickly warm individuals up when they are cold, but users should avoid keeping it on for too long to prevent overheating. It is important to be especially careful using it over areas where sensation has been affected.
13. Wheelchair Accessories
Because many spinal cord injury patients spend the majority of their day in a wheelchair, wheelchair accessories make great gifts.
Examples of wheelchair accessories include (click links below to shop items):
- Water bottle holders
- Wheelchair cushions (for additional comfort and to protect bony areas of the skin from developing pressure sores)
- Wheelchair bags (for storage)
- Wheel covers (to personalize and decorate the wheelchair)
14. Activity Tracker
Many individuals become more sedentary after a spinal cord injury, but it’s essential to practice moving throughout the day to minimize complications like muscle atrophy, poor circulation, and swelling.
Using an activity tracker can help motivate spinal cord injury patients to stay active.
15. Therapy Putty
Therapy putty is a great gift for spinal cord injury patients with weak hand functions.
By practicing squeezing, pulling, and twisting motions with the therapy putty, individuals can slowly develop strength and mobility in their hands. It comes in a variety of different resistance levels so spinal cord injury patients can continue to challenge themselves as they improve.
What All the Best Gifts for Spinal Cord Injury Patients Have in Common
Every spinal cord injury is unique, so it’s essential to understand what types of motor impairments your loved one is experiencing. For example, individuals that are paralyzed from the waist down will not need gifts that promote hand function.
Moreover, spinal cord injury does not define an individual. Gifts for spinal cord injury patients don’t have to be related to recovery. Consider your loved one’s interests and hobbies because more personalized gifts will always be appreciated.
Hopefully, this article gave you some helpful gift ideas for the spinal cord injury patient in your life. Good luck!