What are some appropriate gifts for nursing home residents? This is a topic many have never considered. Yet, the chances of having a loved one in a nursing home are growing.
The Desire to Give a Gift
According to the National Center for Health Statistics 2005, "In 2003, 1.5 million people age 65 and older lived in nursing homes." If current rates continue, by 2030 this number will rise to about three million people in nursing homes across the United States.
When loved ones enter nursing homes for any length of time, everyone feels a certain amount of stress. There are new schedules to follow and a whole different environment for the new residents as well as for their family and friends. Family members and friends who aren't involved with the immediate placement of the residents may want to quickly show concern by sending a gift.
The following includes some helpful ideas to select something that will be truly needed and appreciated, instead of unnecessary clutter in a small room.
Some Appropriate Gifts for Nursing Home Residents
While flowers and potted plants are attractive and bring a feeling of warmth, too many of them make it cumbersome for the resident to move about the room.
Consider some of these practical and appropriate gifts for a nursing home resident.
- Comb or brush
- Books, magazines, or crossword puzzles
- Scented powder or talcum
- A nail kit
- Hand lotion
- Nail polish and polish remover
- A box of candy
- A box of soft tissues
- A deck of playing cards or board game
- A soft pillow and pillowcase
- A quilt or comforter for the bed
- A CD player and some CDs of their favorite music
Use your judgment in deciding which gift to give. Your bald great-uncle doesn't need a new comb and your blind grandmother won't be able to do any crossword puzzles. If you think your aunt would like some hand lotion, make sure you are aware of her skin needs, and then you can provide the kind best for her. You could also arrange for a weekly hair appointment.
For wheelchair users, consider a soft cushion to pad the seat of the chair or a reach extender. However, don't give anything that will produce frustration in a resident. Your goal is to bring cheer, not to cause any problems.
The Gift of Your Time
Nothing can take the place of visiting your friend or family member in the nursing home. This is a very enriching and appropriate gift for nursing home residents. Spending half an hour or even just a few moments will be a great experience for all. Even if your grandfather doesn't recognize you or is unable to voice his happiness at your visit, you will be grateful that you took the time to show your concern.
Senior citizens are valuable members of society and spending time in their environment is beneficial to all. Younger grandchildren will have a better understanding of the stages of life when they experience visits to the nursing home. Additionally, their youthful presence will delight many.
Creative Appropriate Gifts for Nursing Home Residents
Include the younger members of the family in the gift-giving process. No matter what the age, there are numerous gifts for grandparents ideas that grandchildren can take part in.
- Ask young children to draw or paint pictures for the elderly resident. Many nursing homes have bulletin boards by the resident's bed. That is a perfect place to put a drawing by a grandchild.
- Record of the family history. This gift allows for the elderly resident to share his insights about the past as well as reflect on memories. Simply record onto a regular cassette tape or, if teenagers are involved, an mp3 player. Then make copies for the entire family as a valuable keepsake for all to enjoy.
- Do crafts or make a scrapbook. It's easy to make a die-cut love card or some other kind of craft. LoveToKnow's Scrapbooking site also has endless possibilities from the simple to the more complex. If time is limited, chose a few photos of your loved one and friends and place them in a small photo album. Everyone loves to look at pictures.
Keep your mind open. You never know; you may come up with your own terrific idea, a meaningful and appropriate gift.