I usually make a donation in the person's name to a charity - Heart Association, one of the cancer organizations, or maybe an animal shelter if the person was an animal lover. You can usually do it right on line, and they send a card saying that a donation was made in the person's name and who made the donation. They never say how much the donation was. People seem to really appreciate this.
We usually send or take over food too. Williams Sonoma has some nice crossants that I sent last time I needed to send something. The family was so happy to get them as they could take them out and heat them as they wanted to eat them and said they were delicious.