This list of gifts for paraplegics, quadriplegics, and other people in wheelchairs range from practical ideas to encouraging gifts. These ideas are inspired by the most common health conditions and problems that paraplegics and quadriplegics face – from depression to chronic pain. The best gift you can give is something encouraging and life-giving.
A High Quality Gel Foam Seat Cushion isn’t the sexiest gift for a paraplegic or quadriplegic, but it is one of the most practical and thoughtful. Can you imagine what it’d be like to sit all day? Painful! And high quality seat cushions cost a few bucks – which may be money that your friend doesn’t have.
Another good gift for paraplegics or quadriplegics is something that encourages and inspires them. “For the longest, loneliest time, I wondered if there was anyone on earth like me, and whether there was any purpose to my life other than pain and humiliation,” writes Nick Vujicic in Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life. He describes how his faith in God has been his major source of strength, and explains that once he found a sense of purpose – inspiring others to better their lives and the world around them – he found the confidence to build a rewarding and productive life without limits.
If you’re looking for gift ideas for someone who is in a wheelchair temporarily, read Post Surgery Gift Ideas to Help With Recovery and Healing. Those gifts will help a person in a wheelchair adjust to life in the chair.
Gifts for Paraplegics and Quadriplegics
The better you know the person you’re buying a gift for, the more meaningful your gift will be. That’s why these ideas and gifts for paraplegics are interspersed with health information about quadriplegics and paraplegics. Also, I think the most thoughtful gift for someone in a wheelchair is something that inspires hope and faith.
Your time and presence may be the most meaningful gift you can give a person in a wheelchair. But, it’s important to remember that if he is recently paralyzed, your presence may be the last thing he wants! Adjusting to being quadriplegic or paraplegic is crushing, and it takes time to adjust to such a dramatic life change.
A light therapy lamp – a practical gift for paraplegics
One of the biggest problems for people with disabilities is depression. People in wheelchairs report higher rates of stress and depression than people without disabilities. You can’t talk someone out of depression, but you can help their bodies create serotonin with a HappyLight Energy Lamp.
A HappyLight Energy Lamp 5000 emulates natural daylight to improve mood and overall sense of well-being. Light is nature’s stimulant, and the Natural Spectrum Light emitted by this energy lamp lifts spirits, sharpens concentration and improves energy levels. If a person in a wheelchair is dealing with depression, this might be the perfect gift. Not all quadriplegics or paraplegics get enough time outside – which is another reason this lamp might be ideal.
A gift that helps with shoulder or neck pain
The Renue Heat Therapy Neck and Shoulder Wrap will help relieve the shoulder pain that many manual wheelchair users experience. It’s designed to fit the neck and shoulder area, with slightly weighted edges and a magnetic clasp to provide a comfortable and secure fit. The heat is similar to a dry sauna – or it can be moistened for a deep steam room-type relief. The luxurious fabric is ultra soft and machine washable.
Pain is one of the most common health problems faced by people in wheelchairs. If you can find a gift that helps them cope with pain, they would appreciate it. The type of chronic pain a person in a wheelchair experiences might not be alleviated by a heat therapy shoulder wrap. If you can talk to your friend’s caregiver, you might get a better idea of what type of pain he experiences and how to help relieve it.
Other therapies that relieve shoulder and neck pain are ice packs, heating pads, and massages. I would pair this practical gift for quadriplegics or paraplegics with something bright and lively, such as inspirational wall art or a bouquet of flowers.
Inspirational wall art for a person in a wheelchair’s home or hospital room
“Good Vibes Only” Inspirational Wall Art is one of my favorite gifts for all people. Some inspirational wall art says “Nothing is impossible… the word itself says “I’m possible”! – and this might be a good gift for someone in a wheelchair. It depends on what his goals and hopes are, and if he’s working towards something. If he’s depressed, he might not like inspirational wall art. But if he’s determined to move forward, then the most meaningful gift you can give is hope, support, and faith.
If a person in a wheelchair is an artist, read Creative Gifts for Artists – Inspired by Picasso.
Wheelchair pouches or bags
The Quilted Wheel Pouch for Wheelchair has two pouches: a large outer one for reading materials, clothing items, etc, as well as a secure inner pouch for valuable items. It easily attaches to most wheelchairs. This is a good gift for both paraplegics and quadriplegics, but may be more valuable for people who can use their arms.
Quadriplegics, paraplegics, and people who are temporarily confined to wheelchairs experience bowel or bladder problems, fatigue, injury, depression, anxiety, obesity, chronic pain, pressure sores or ulcers, and lack of exercise. All of these health conditions make it difficult or impossible to get a good night’s rest.
If you know or suspect that a person in a wheelchair isn’t getting enough sleep, read 10 Gifts for Insomniacs and People Who Can’t Sleep.
Escape – a meaningful gift for people in wheelchairs
I worked for a paraplegic woman who had polio, and her favorite thing to do was go to the movies. That’s why I’m adding a Regal Entertainment Gift Card to this list of gifts for quadriplegics and paraplegics. Include a card that tells your friend that you’d like to go to a movie with him, and perhaps out for dinner or dessert after. Don’t give him the gift of a movie alone (not much of a meaningful gift).
Adventure – an intense gift for quadriplegics and paraplegics
In Me Before You, Louisa researched adventures for quadriplegics when she was planning a vacation for Will. On a forum for quads she asked what quadriplegics do for fun, and the list was extensive. Bungee jumping, swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, skydiving, swimming with dolphins, scuba diving, and trips to specialist centers for people in wheelchairs.
Not everyone wants to go bungee jumping or swimming with dolphins, so it’s important to know a person in a wheelchair before giving this type of gift. Remember that quadriplegics and paraplegics are vulnerable to different types of infections and health problems because their immune system is compromised. An intense adventure might the death of them. Literally.
Cushions for wheelchairs
The Equagel – The General – Gel Seat or Wheelchair Cushion is medical grade cushion that won’t lose it’s soft, supportive shape or support. Can you imagine sitting on your bum all day long? I can’t. This is both a practical and a meaningful gift for people in wheelchairs, especially if they can’t afford to buy it themselves. This is a fantastic cushion for people with wheelchair sores or or chair sores. People who sit a lot are vulnerable to skin ulcers created by lack of circulation in pressure point areas – and this isn’t something they’d necessarily tell you about! A gel cushion will help relieve the pressure and make their day more comfortable.
Voice recognition software
Dragon NaturallySpeaking – Home Edition isn’t just a meaningful and practical gift for quadriplegics and paraplegics, it’s actually great for anyone who doesn’t like the physical act of typing. This voice recognition software is a fast, accurate way to “type” anywhere you would put text: computers, tablets, phones, etc. Dragon gets even more accurate as it learns the words and phrases that are used the most, and can spell even difficult words and proper names correctly. It offers the ability to create, format and edit documents by voice, which gives people the freedom to think out loud and break through communication barriers.
Freedom to talk about discomfort, pain, and death
Death, pain, and discomfort are difficult subjects to talk about. If a person in a wheelchair is really sick, he may not have anyone to share his feelings with. He may be thinking about assisted death but not know who to talk to. Can you give one of the most meaningful gifts of all? Allow your friend to talk about how he feels about his life, and don’t judge, condemn, or try to change his mind. I’m not saying that all quadriplegics or paraplegics want to talk about dying. I’m encouraging you to think about being the person he can talk to, if he needs to work things out.
Insight into what it’s like to be a quadriplegic in a wheelchair
The novel Me Before You inspired me to create a list of meaningful gift ideas for quadriplegics, paraplegics, and people in wheelchairs. In this book, Jojo Moyes introduces us to Will Traynor and Louisa Clark. Will is a quadriplegic; Louisa is his inexperienced, sweet, and colorful paid companion and caregiver. She doesn’t know anything about being a quadriplegic’s companion – she’s never met anyone in a wheelchair – and this book gives us a personal and intense glimpse into the world of a paralyzed man.
This is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give someone in a wheelchair: the willingness to learn what it’s like to be in their shoes (as it were). I encourage you to read this book, learn about what it’s like to live as a quadriplegic, and talk to a person in a wheelchair about his life.
What do you think about these gifts for quadriplegics, paraplegics, and people in wheelchairs – do you have anything to add? Please share below!
If you’re thinking about giving a gift to a caregiver, read 10 Thoughtful Gifts for Caregivers.
My prayer is that you find the right gift for a person in a wheelchair. May you be a light and encouragement in his life, and may you bring hope and joy.