Useful And Thoughtful Gifts For Stroke Patients (Updated for 2022)
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.
Did you know that early mobility is absolutely key to stroke recovery? So once they’re given the go-ahead by their clinician in hospital, encourage your loved one to get up and about – but to keep it as safe as possible (we don’t want any falls please).
You can help them by gifting these non slip hospital socks – they may not have the leg strength to wear slippers but need to wear something on their feet for warmth and comfort.
The anti-slip grip across the whole of the sole will support in maintaining balance and stability – no slips and trips here. These slipper socks are cushioned and light so are incredibly comfy (your loved one could even just wear them in bed for some extra warmth if they wanted).
You know when you just want to really spoil someone and you think ‘what can I buy them’? Well the answer to that question has to be cashmere bed socks. Cashmere anything is pretty luxe, but cashmere on your feet – that’s next level! And just what someone in hospital deserves, it’s really a world away from the sterile environment they’re in.
This gorgeous pair by Graham Cashmere are made in the home of cashmere (Scotland!) and come in a beautiful gift box too. Little tip, if you’re buying for a woman and they have wide feet then just size up and buy them from the men’s range.
You could also splurge and get some hand and foot cream for them to use under the socks. A foot massage helps circulation after all! CeraVe reparative hand cream is dermatologist approved and will keep your loved one’s skin feeling smooth and strong.
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 gets rid of buttons, and just uses a ribbon to tie it. That’s a bonus for a few reasons – a stroke can affect your motor skills meaning it’s hard to do up and undo buttons (we talk more about this below with adaptive clothing). Plus buttons can be quite uncomfortable when lying in bed anyway, so not having them on your clothing can be good.
This fleecy material bed jacket has the comfort factor! Super snug, it’s a great cover up for when your loved one has visitors and is sitting in bed, or if they get cold at certain points during the day and need to layer up.
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.
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.
Slippers and in-house shoes keep your feet off cold floors and toasty warm. Here’s our pick of the best!
The most important thing to remember is to go for full back slippers. So many falls could be avoided if people didn’t wear backless slippers – they don’t stay on the feet properly causing your loved one, especially if they have poor mobility post stroke, to fall.
Now we’ve got that out the way, let’s look at cosy options! We really like these from adaptive clothing company The Able Label.
With colours for men and women, they’re lined with luxurious 100% faux fur to keep the feet snug and there’s a contoured footbed for added comfort. Plus the insole can be removed in case your loved one has their own orthotic.
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 for velcro slippers for men and women – they are roomy, comfortable, 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!
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 people who who post stroke are left with co-ordination problems or find the sensation in their hands affected. This adapted cutlery set makes things easier. Ones which have good grips are the best, making them easier to use.
Seeing familiar faces of your loved ones can instantly pep you up, but with visiting hours and distance to content with, that becomes tricky. And that’s why a digi photo frame can be a real winner of a gift.
We’ve all got hundreds (thousands!) of photos on our phones, but how often do you go through them and look at your favourites? With this digital photo frame you just plug in your USB drive and the photos are instantly uploaded.
Turn it on, music starts playing and a slideshow of your favourite people will starts. This is a great option for a hospital gift (or for someone recuperating at home) – it brings their loved ones to them and helps transport them away from the stress of everyday.
Memory clocks are not just clocks for dementia (although that might be how you’ve come across them previously). They can be a real support for people recuperating from stroke as it can affect orientation to time.
There’s no confusion here, as this large face clock loudly and proudly displays the day, date and time of day in a few ways. You can dim it (so it doesn’t glare when your loved one is trying to sleep) and also set up to twelve different alarms so they can stay on top of daily activity.
Things like taking medication, a reminder to call their daughter or jogging their memory that the carer is coming are all possible.
A stroke can affect co-ordination, making getting in and out of the car more difficult. When getting around becomes harder, it can be easy for people to retreat into their shell and become isolated. Which we obviously want to avoid. And that’s why this small gizmo – a car transfer bar – is so great.
Called the HandyBar Car Transfer Bar, it does just what the name implies. Shorter than a ruler, it acts as a supportive grab bar, all you need to do is easily latch it onto U-shaped striker plate in the car’s door frame. Then, the user just needs to put their hand on the soft, non-slip hand grip and use it to help them in and out. There’s a striker plate on both driver and passenger sides and it can hold the extra weight, being one of the strongest parts of the vehicle).
From a safety perspective, having one of these in the car is also good too. The bottom of the bar also includes a seat belt cutter (hidden in the curve of the bar) and glass breaker.
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 is one of those gadgets that you don’t realise you need and then once you find, you can’t imagine how you lived without – so it really does make a great gift for a stroke patient. That’s because zips require you reach and pull at the same time, a fiddly task which takes huge amounts of co-ordination and puts strain on joints.
This zipper pull attaches to any zip and creates surface area for you to ride the zip up and down. Pop it on a bag, your favourite jumper, a cardigan etc to pull it open and shut. One of those simple mobility aids that increases independence.
An outdoor walker makes an excellent gift for those with reasonable mobility who are looking to get back to going outdoors.
If your loved one is keen to get out and about but needs support to walk, or a surface to lean on when out and about to help them feel confident or for rests, then an outdoor walker is a good solution.
They do need to be able to grip with both hands (for the brake) and for equal stability so that it’s used safely and effectively. You need to make sure they’re confident they won’t let the frame run away from them and it’s really important they learn the correct technique to use it.
We really rate this from Mobilex as the best outdoor walker. Made from carbon fibre, it’s lightweight (5kg) which makes it easy to manoeuvre and navigate curbs. Plus it folds so is easy to store – that’s a really thing to consider when choosing an outdoor walker, where are you going to keep it? If your loved one lives in a flat up some stairs, is there space for storage by the front door for example? Another bonus is this carbon fibre outdoor walker also comes with a detachable shopping bag. All in all, a great mobility aid to help them get out and about.
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.
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. Cooking from scratch means you need to get chopping. Your loved one doesn’t need to let their stroke get in the way of playing chef, with this special one handed chopping board.
It allows ingredients to be secured meaning that tricky items such as onions can be chopped. Bring on independence in the kitchen!
A little tip if your loved one needs to peel something too… lay the slice on its side, hold the slice in place with a fork and cut the outer skin with a pairing knife.
Never heard of a knork? Prepare to be amazed! This all-in-one knife and fork cutlery is heavier than your average cutlery so your loved one has stability when cutting food and eating it (for example they may have a side weakness so it’s harder to lift the food to their mouth).
Don’t worry, the knife on the outside isn’t sharp enough to cut you when eating. Eating together with friends and family is so special, and moments like this can really help rehabilitation and mental health – so something as small as a knork can really make a difference.
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 (although top tip – an electric whisk can be hard to hold so your loved one could be better off using an electric mixer like a Nutribullet).
I don’t know about you but I find tin openers hard to use at the best of times – attaching them to the tin takes serious co-ordination and hand strength, something which isn’t always possible after a stroke.
This one handed tin opener works so well, solving what can be a barrier to cooking your favourite meals. It cuts the can really cleanly so you don’t need to worry about hurting yourself.
It works on a touch basis for start and stop so is really easy to use for people with limited hand strength or grip. 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!
Making exercise into a game can be so much more motivating can’t it?! That’s why we’re really happy to have discovered the Squegg. Stroke can affect hand grip and strength, so this smart squeeze ball is designed to help people monitor their grip strength and count, and give them the motivation to do repetitive exercise by monitoring their progress.
Just charge it up, download the app and the ergonomic Squegg is ready to go. You can choose from a variety of games which you control by squeezing the Squegg. Plus, it’s portable so there’s no excuse not to work on grip strength anywhere!
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.