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The Sugar Sharks, all about our life with Type I Diabetes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WFMW: Gifts for Nursing Home Residents

After 15 years as Chief Elf at work (AKA: Activity Coordinator in a nursing home), I am frequently asked for ideas on what to give to residents as Christmas gifts. With limited storage space and limited abilities, it can sometimes be hard to come up with ideas for loved ones. Here are a few of the best tried and true ideas that I have seen and given myself over the years:
  • magazine subscriptions Nearly every resident enjoys receiving mail. Amazon has some GREAT deals on subscriptions for $5 or less this week!
  • favorite bath & body products Many facilities provide soap and shampoo, but it's much like the stuff you get in a hospital. Many residents appreciate having old favorites that they used at home (Ivory? Camay?) just as much as they appreciate the fancy stuff. Shower gels are usually easier to use in the special tubs and they often come in the same brands as favorite bar soaps.
  • favorite snacks Think outside of Christmas cookies, and think back to the resident's favorite snack at home. Put it in a resealable container (those disposable containers are perfect) with their name on it. It's a good idea to check with the staff ahead of time if you are uncertain of the resident's current diet order- there's nothing worse than giving a tin full of nuts to someone without teeth!
  • a birdfeeder and seed (if they have a good window view) Even better, offer to fill it whenever you visit.
  • a small photo album, filled with family photos Write captions about the photos and include names/dates to avoid any awkward moments.
  • seasonal decorations for their door Check with the facililty first, but most allow a wreath hanger over the door or a hook with a small wreath or other decoration to be hung. Having a new wreath for each season makes a room feel more like home... assuming that's what they did at home, that is!
  • walker/ wheelchair bags These are very handy for toting tissues, phones, etc. any time the resident leaves their room.
  • And the #1 requested gift in nursing homes: visitors. Seems simple enough, right? If it's not possible for you to visit in person, a phone call or handwritten letter is always welcome.

Remembering loved ones in nursing facilities always works for me!

Check out more great WFMW tips at We Are THAT Family!

P.S. Something else that works for me is helping a friend win a contest. My friend Sarah is a finalist in a Christmas tree contest. I'd love it if you'd go Vote for "Growing For Christ: decorated by little hands"-- thanks! :)

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