What holiday gifts do you recommend for residents of nursing homes?
It doesn’t matter where you live or how old you are – there’s nothing like a cheerfully wrapped gift to brighten your spirits. However, it can be uniquely challenging to select a special gift for residents in nursing homes, so we’ve created a list that’s been vetted by a number of people who work in nursing homes.
As you go through this list, consider the joy that might be spread if you and everyone who reads this decided to go out and buy just one extra gift and drop it off (or mail it) to their nearest nursing home to be given to a resident without family or friends.
Gifts to brighten up the room
Picture frames, plants (live or silk), paintings, a calendar marked with birthdays of family members, artificial gold fish bowl or waterfall, sun catchers for the window, framed pictures of the nursing home resident in earlier days, or a collage of pictures of families and friends all make great conversation pieces.
Gifts for pampering
A basket of lotions and talcum powder (be sure to check with the nursing home staff on what’s best), grooming products, shaving lotion, favorite perfumes, a luscious bath towel and/or robe, gift certificates to the in-house beauty parlor or barber for hair styling and manicures will make your loved one feel good.
Gifts for having fun
Buy a very simple-to-use DVD player and send or bring new movies every month. Videos of family events, large print books, a simple-to-use CD Discman so they can listen to their favorite music without disturbing roommates, low-vision playing cards, large print crossword puzzles or other games appropriate for their cognitive ability, a box of all-occasion greeting cards with a book of stamps, a digital picture frame or stuffed animals are all warm and fun.
Gifts for staying warm
Lap afghans and fleece throws are very popular at nursing homes, as are cheerful holiday sweaters, sweat suits, no-skid slippers, and fun socks that depict the holidays or the resident’s hobby or interests (e.g., golf, flowers).
Gifts that touch the heart
Hand-made gifts, a framed poem or artwork from you or the grandkids, phone cards to stay in touch and pre-paid long-distance calls are all very meaningful. The most cherished gift, however, is a visit from you. If your loved one is able, you might offer to take him or her out for an evening ride to enjoy the holiday lights along with a hot cup of cocoa. And one last idea: make it a New Year’s resolution to volunteer at your local nursing home or assisted living facility. A friendly visit to a resident without family is a gift that will make you all the richer for it.