When living with a chronic illness, doing daily tasks like getting dressed or remembering to take your medication can become difficult, especially when you are running low on spoons. We reached out to our community members to gather a sense of what items they use on a daily basis to help make their everyday routines easier. Check out this list of 12 essential items to help make life easier when living with a chronic illness or disability:
- Mini First Aid Kit: Emergencies can happen at any moment, especially when living with a chronic illness. Keeping a mini first aid kit with you at all times can help you stay prepared and feel more secure when on the go. This Mini Portable First Aid Bag we found is only $8.99 and has compartment storage for anything from emergency medicine to toiletries to daily essentials.
- Symptom Journal: If you’re someone that likes to write things down, a symptom journal can be extremely helpful for staying organized and recording any symptoms you are experiencing throughout the week. Chronic illness journals also allow you to track changes over time, which can be helpful for doctor’s visits and appointments. This 3-Month Chronic Illness Journal we found features a daily mood tracker, daily symptom tracker, test result record, and daily entry area to write any additional notes or comments!
- Pregnancy Pillow: Pregnancy pillows aren’t just useful for those who are expecting, they can also be super helpful for those living with a chronic condition. If you are dealing with chronic pain, are bedwridden, or just love extra comfort while you’re sleeping, a pregnancy pillow is the way to go! They can provide extra support to your entire body and in some instances, even help relieve pain. This PharMeDoc Pregnancy Pillow we found is machine-washable, hypoallergenic, and has a detachable extension!
- Chest Port Access Top: If your course of treatment requires you to have a chest port, it can be difficult trying to find clothing that will allow you to easily access your port without causing irritation to the site. Care+Wear’s Chest Port Access Shirts are made with dual zippers to provide easy access to your port for chemotherapy or other chronic illness. When it gets extra cold in hospital waiting rooms, there are also Chest Port Access Hoodies to help you stay warm and comfortable without the need to disrobe during treatment.
- Pill Organizer: Keeping pills organized and making sure you’ve taken the correct one at the correct time can be a hassle. Pill organizers take the guesswork out of such an important task. There are plenty of practical and cute styles to choose from. Our top pick, EZ Dose Travel Pill Organizer, has a compartment for each day of the week at an affordable price of only $5! Our other choice, Sukuos Weekly Pill Organizer, keeps pills organized by day of the week and also time of day!
- Stress-Relief Bath Salts: While bath salts are a great option for any self-care day, they can be specifically useful for those with chronic pain. When you’re having one of those days where everything hurts, taking a warm bath and throwing in some bath-salts can help you de-stress and relieve tension. These Very Well Natural Bath Salts, which are made with magnesium flakes, dead sea salt, and essential oils, are perfect for stress relief and muscle recovery. There are also bath soaks that are made specifically for chronic pain and fatigue.
- PICC Line Cover: If you worry about keeping your PICC line protected and in place a PICC Line Cover is the solution. Care+Wear’s Ultrasoft PICC Line Coversoffers a sleeve made from antimicrobial fabric with a sheer mesh window that allows you to keep your insertion site visible. The covers are available in a variety of colors for children and adults. You also have the choice between short and long versions depending on the length of your lumens. Care+Wear also offers Shower Covers to keep your PICC line dry in the shower.
- Daily Planner: Having a daily planner can be essential for keeping track of your calendar and appointments. There are plenty of great planners available out there specifically for people with chronic illness. Our top pick is Clever Fox Medical Planner. This planner allows you to track doctors appointments, expenses, and symptoms. The planner comes in many different colors and includes stickers to make the planning a little more fun. Another great option is Erin Condren's Medical Treatment Planner. Similarly it has space for your medical information, diagnosis, medical team information, and treatment options.
- Coloring Book: Even as an adult, coloring can be a fun and stress-relieving activity, as well as a great way to pass time during long waits at the hospital. This Chronic Illness Coloring Book we found is perfect for those living withfibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disease, or other chronic illnesses. It features positive messages that “encourage relaxation, relief from everyday stress, improve mental focus, generate creative expression, increase positivity, foster a healing mindset, and boost that important ‘in the moment’ feeling.”
- Accessible Undergarments: Having the ability to wear accessible undergarments can be life changing and make daily tasks like putting on your underwear and bra seamless. From Side-Fastening Underwear to Zip Front Bras, Slick Chicks is changing the game with their adaptive undergarments. All of their undergarments feature either hook-and-eye fasteners, velcro fastenings or zippers so anyone can easily transition in and out of their clothing, regardless of their physical situation.
- Phone Holder: For when your energy is running low (and your arms just aren't cutting it), phone holders can allow you to continue using your phone while multitasking or laying comfortably. This B-Land Neck Phone Holder is fully adjustable and comes with a wireless remote. For those that require mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers or scooters, this heavy duty Mobility Phone Grip Cell Phone Holder is a great option. The clip tightly grips onto the sides of wheelchairs, fits any size smartphone, and allows for a 360 degree rotation. You won’t have to worry about looking for your phone in your bag because it will be accessible right by your side!
- Body Wipes: Last, but not least — body wipes! If you’re spending long days at the hospital due to treatment or a recent surgery, or just having one of those days where you’re having a bad flare-up and unable to get out of bed, body wipes can be extremely helpful! Staying fresh and clean can make a huge impact on how you feel both physically and mentally. These Goodwipes Body Wipes allow you to shower from anywhere and are great for wiping away sweat and controlling odor. They're made from aloe, peppermint, ginseng, tea tree oil, and are even biodegradable, plant based, and hypoallergenic. If you have more sensitive skin, another great option would be Medline Body Wipes, which are antibacterial and PH balanced!
We know that living with a chronic illness can be stressful at times, but we hope the items on this list are useful and can help make life just a little easier! If you have any other suggestions for items, feel free to leave a comment below, DM us on Instagram, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love hearing from our community members!
If you are looking for more resources and support surrounding chronic illness, check out our other blogs: