| Dialysis | Kidney disease | Patient stories | Transplant

5 Perfect Gifts for Your Loved One on Dialysis

December 02, 2022, 2:49pm EST

Happy family exchanging gifts at table

The winter holidays are quickly approaching–have you hung up lights, decorated, and picked out presents? If not, no worries. We can take some of the burden off your plate with five gifts that are perfect for your loved one who is on dialysis or has a chronic illness.

1. Stress and anxiety busters

Between doctors’ appointments, medication schedules, and dialysis sessions, living with kidney failure can be incredibly stressful.

"When I started dialysis, it was night and day after the first dialysis treatment. I felt much better," said Mario Silva, a transplant recipient who spent six years on in-center hemodialysis. "But, I started having a lot of anxiety and sleep problems after a while."

Help your loved one find stress relief with the following:

  • A journal
  • Smart water bottle to help them track fluids
  • Yoga class subscription
  • Fidget toys and stress balls
  • Adult coloring books and crayons or colored pencils
  • Heatable stuffed animal or heating pad
  • Gift card for an activity they enjoy or a service they need
  • Candles
  • E-reader or books
  • White noise machine

2. Dialysis-friendly clothing

Dialysis is a life-saving treatment that helps remove toxins from the body, but people may still experience symptoms of kidney disease like swelling, trouble sleeping, and itching. 

"When I went on peritoneal dialysis, my back hurt, I had trouble breathing, and I experienced painful abdominal cramping,' said Doris Lew, a kidney transplant recipient and former peritoneal dialysis patient. "I gained fluid and felt like I was pregnant again. Eventually, I had to buy new clothing."

Between purchasing medications and missing work to attend dialysis or doctors’ appointments, living with kidney disease can be expensive. For some, purchasing an entire new wardrobe may not be feasible. You can help by getting your loved one new clothing items that fit.

Help your loved one stay comfortable with:

  • Dialysis sweaters with port access
  • Compression socks
  • Comfortable shoes or slippers
  • Touchscreen-friendly gloves
  • Cute or elegant medical jewelry
  • Heating and cooling eye mask
  • Stretchy pants
  • Larger shirts

3. Cookbooks for dialysis-friendly meals

Many people on dialysis need to follow a diet that limits nutrients like sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. They may also need to follow fluid restrictions and eat more protein. Finding new recipes that align with these nutritional limitations can be challenging, but dialysis-friendly cookbooks can help!

If you want to get extra creative, design your own cookbook using these dialysis-friendly recipes.

Please note: Only purchase cookbooks that a healthcare professional, like a kidney dietitian or nephrologist, has written. Contact our Patient Helpline, NKF Cares, for help checking the validity of a cookbook.

4. Supplies for hobbies

Hobbies provide a creative outlet, bring joy, and give purpose–just ask Marcus Suarez, a kidney disease patient who experienced eight strokes.

"Painting was my therapy. I was always an artist, even after I had strokes. Little by little, every day, I stabbed the canvas. I started small movements and they got bigger and more steady and subsequently, I'm painting well again. So [I will] definitely never give up."

Here are six hobbies to inspire your purchase:

  1. Video or board games
  2. Painting or drawing supplies
  3. Knitting, crocheting, or sewing tools and fabric
  4. Wood or soap carving
  5. Miniature DIY house kit
  6. Online arts and craft course

5. The ultimate gift–a kidney

We know this is a big jump, but have you ever considered becoming a living donor? When you donate a kidney, you give the recipient the ultimate gift–the gift of life. While donating an organ may sound scary, the process is generally safe, with many donors recovering in weeks. Learn everything you need to know about donating a kidney with our self-paced online course, Becoming a Living Donor.

Three kidney donation facts: 

  1. You can live a long, healthy life with one kidney.
  2. You'll be carefully evaluated to ensure you're physically and mentally able to donate.
  3. Research has shown that donating a kidney only has a small risk of complications for the donor. 

Learn more about becoming a living donor.

"A lot of people are scared to donate or even consider the donation because of what could happen. I'm living proof that you can donate your kidney and have a healthy life," said Stephanie, a kidney transplant donor. "My kidney function, GFR, and creatinine levels are perfect. There are a few things to be more mindful of, but it can be done."

If you aren't eligible to donate a kidney, you can become a champion for living donation as a Voices for Kidney Health advocate.

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