Note that the best gift you can give a nursing home-bound friend or relative is a few minutes of your time. Whatever the residents may be doing at the moment, you would notice faces light up at the sight of a visitor.
Nothing can take the place of visiting your friend or family member in the nursing home. In fact, industry reports note that loneliness is a major predictor in negative health outcomes. The gift of time is a very enriching 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 concern.
In addition, sharing lunch with an elder breaks the monotony of the daily routine and reassures your loved one they are cherished and valued. It brings them joy, pleasure, and a sense of pride when their friends see you visit.
Another unique gift is to attend a facility-family conference with them. At these conferences, family members and patients tend to discuss the care they are receiving and note any issues that need attention. Your presence alone will help them advocate for themselves and also gives them confidence that otherwise might be lacking.
Indeed, finding the perfect gift for a nursing home resident can feel overwhelming, but the key is considering the personality of the recipient. Even though grandma may agree that she doesn’t really need anything, there are some gifts that will make life easier for those in care facilities.
Whether you choose a practical gift like a walker bag or a meaningful present like a handmade family tree quilt, it is the thought that counts.
While flowers are attractive and bring a feeling of warmth, they sometimes come in containers that are too big for the resident to move about the room. However, before acquiring or making gifts for nursing home patients, consider space and what your loved one will need.
Best Gifts for Nursing Home Residents
Toiletries such as lip balm (especially seasonal flavors!), lotion, deodorant, body spray, aftershave, etc. are always a good gift idea. However, you have to make sure that the recipient is not allergic and can safely have these items. A good number of facilities have a locking cabinet for certain toiletries to safeguard them from being stolen or ingested accidentally.
You can go ahead and take the initiative and label bottles with the recipient’s name. If you shop around, you can arrange and put together a wonderful gift basket full of toiletries for half the price of pre-packaged gift sets. This offers you the opportunity to fully customize the contents.
Art Supply Kit for Exploration
A good number of nursing homes have art therapy as part of their regular programming, but even so, your loved one may not have enough of this creative time. Industry reports note that creating art can help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression in the senior population, and it may even reduce cognitive decline.
Therefore, if you know what your loved one likes to create, you can pick up supplies for a specific project or medium. If not, consider picking lots of different options that are easy to explore, such as colored pencils, clay, washable markers, art papers, and more.
For those with poor vision, a flashlight can help them locate a dropped item easily. For the person who shares a room, a flashlight or reading light is a way for them to sneak in an extra hour or so of reading or puzzles without disturbing their roommate.
Notably, there are tons of flashlights on the market. Those with LED bulbs produce a very bright light and can go longer on a set of batteries. Therefore, unless there is a safety issue involved, a light can be a thoughtful gift. Night lights are helpful as well. They come in many decorative styles and colors, and the bulbs are inexpensive and long-lived.
Easy-Care Succulent Garden
Throughout life, your friend or loved one has taken care of growing things like children, pets, and garden plants. Have it in mind that this life experience of caring for something living can help someone feel useful and fulfilled, but it’s daunting to replicate in the nursing home setting.
Nonetheless, a simple and attractive garden that requires minimal care can make an excellent gift for a nursing home resident. Choose plants that don’t need much water or fertilizer. Consider planting your own succulent garden in teacups or family dishes that are familiar and pretty. These look beautiful on a windowsill.
Most people enjoy a little love or at least something cute or funny to look at when they wake up in the morning. Notably, teddy bears or similar plushies can make a drab nursing home room seem a bit friendlier. Remember not to just grab the first stuffed toy you see. Take your time to find something that would really be appreciated.
Although cute and fun to begin with, stuffed animals that sing or light up can quickly become tiresome, especially if they can’t be quieted until they have finished their repertoire. If you really think a resident would like a plushie that sings or talks makes sure it has a shut-off button.
Cheerful Door Decoration
You can also choose to help your loved one welcome people to her room with a beautiful door decoration. Note that you can make your own wreath with mesh ribbon, create a welcome plaque with a cheerful, personalized message, or pick up a wreath or decoration that suits your loved one’s style.
Look for a decoration that is unique and isn’t fragile, since other residents may touch it or bump it. Pick something that shows off a special interest, favorite color, or seasonal motif.
Iron-on Labels for Clothing
A good number of care facilities have a massive laundry area where residents’ clothing can get mixed up. To limit items from going missing, a gift that special person some iron-on labels for clothing. The iron-on option is effective for nursing homes because they cannot be removed from items easily. This practical gift just might be the best item you’ve ever given!
Custom Story Book
Most photo sites allow you to create albums with photos and text, and it’s a fun project to make a book. Note that this type of personalized book can make a wonderful gift for elderly friends and family. Tell about fun life events, such as family trips and adventures, or make a story book about how your loved one met his or her spouse.
Additionally, you can even create multiple story books to tell about a person’s life. According to experts, these books make a great gift for dementia patients in nursing homes, too, since they can prompt the person to remember special times.
Digital Picture Frame
A digital picture frame, without doubt, provides an ever-changing display of photos for your loved one to enjoy. Pick a frame you can preload or keep updated remotely. Help the resident set the frame up in an easy-view location on an end table or night stand.
Try to keep the technological requirements to a minimum, since not all nursing homes have WiFi or reliable network connections.
Adult Colouring Books and Coloured Pencils
A variation on a crossword puzzle book or an art supply kit, an adult coloring book, and some nice colored pencils can indeed keep your loved one creatively challenged. You should pick the complexity of the colouring book with any motor challenges in mind.
If your parent, grandparent, or an older friend or relative is struggling with manual dexterity, a simpler coloring book can help keep her from getting frustrated.
When it comes to presenting a gift, it is the thought that counts. However, take your time to consider the pastimes, hobbies, habits, and preferences of the person you know that lives in a nursing home. Once you find a gift, don’t wait for a special occasion! Just bring the gift and it will brighten your loved one’s day.