I need gift ideas for an invalid nursing home resident.
Kim from Oak Hill, WV
I too love old folks, and worked taking care of them for most of my life. All your ideas are great. I was a bit surprised to not see one here, so here it is! You need two washcloths, pretty; lay one atop the other; roll the edges of the first to meet in the middle; then roll the outer edges of the second, to meet these edges; fold in half, putting a bar of soap (if using unscented try glycerin in pretty colors, then fold it up like a satchel; hot glue 2 handles, made of paper twist ribbon, then any pretty decoration;they are very pretty and liven up a bedside table, and get lots of admiration, which gives seniors a chat, too!
Have you tried A Hug From Blanche? They hand knit shrugs which could be the perfect gift for your elderly relative who is sitting up and may be in a draft, or who just needs to feel "hugged".
My husband is in a nursing home, and I now have friendships with many of the residents. Here are a few ideas that have proved popular in my experience:
- Personalized cards for birthdays, Christmas, or just Thing of You -- personally delivered.
- Pretty little doo-dads for ladies
- Snacks, as permitted. I know who likes what and try to carry a bag with a variety to give out.
- Hats. Ladies and men like them. I do fishing hats for the men.
- Handshakes. People like being greeted as if they're human beings rather than patients.
- Compliments. I tell all the ladies how pretty they look and try to compliment them on something specific -- a new haircut, a pretty shirt. You can tell the men how dashing or spiffy they're looking.
- Stuffed animals. You'd be surprised at the people who end up loving them.
- Videos on topics of specific interest to a resident.
The following ideas involve your time, which is more important than anything else to nursing home residents.
- Games. Play cards, hangman, tic-tac-toe, checkers, even charades... whatever games the person likes.
- Reading. My husband loves to be read to.
- 20 questions. Arm yourself with questions to ask and give the person lots of time to talk. Questions about his.her experiences are always winners.
- Grooming. ladies like to have their nails done. Light massages are nice. Just slowly brushing someone's hair is much-needed attention and physical contact.
- Music. If you play an instrument, try doing it room by room for those who are room-bound. There's a lady who does this at my husband's NH and the residents just love it.
- Silly games. This Little Piggy Went to Market with people's toes is popular with those whose minds have become more childlike.
- Playing ball. Men especailly love tossing a ball back and forth.
- In nice weather, rides outside in wheelchairs. In poor weather, do it inside. Stop to talk to others, look at and talk about bulletin boards and decorations, read menus, etc.
- Pet visits. Check the NH's policy, but residents just love, love, love visits from puppies, rabbits, even ferrets.
- Deliver and read mail. Talk to recreation directors.
- Art. Take a child-size easel on wheels and some water paints. Anyone who can hold a paint brush can create something.
- See what sort of games and equipment the rec department has. They often have stuff they've forgotten about that you can put to use.
Finally, one thing I see residents eat up is just being around other people having normal conversations. Invite a few people at once and just hang out in rooms gabbing. The resident may not participate but he'll still love it. it makes him feel connected to the real world and included among regular people.
I volunteer at our local nursing home and I know first hand how difficult it can be when people bring in food. A little advice from me would be...(don't bring in food unless you know for sure that the resident(s)can have it) do something else such as bring in a pet, but make sure that you talk to the administrator or bring in games to play. Residents love to here people sing so you could make a binder with familar songs such as hymns that they remember. You can always just pop your head in and say hi. They LOVE to see people.
Just give them love! God bless you and I know the resident will love the visits.
The majority of nursing home residents can no longer see well enough to read, but I found one gift that delights them all. Visiting an antique store during a trip once, I found old magazines from the 40's and 50's and even as early as the 1920's. I bought a stack of them for my Mom, who is also a resident, and she was completely delighted. She can't see well enough to read, but looking at all the old ads took her back to a time of great happiness in her life. She enjoyed many hours of happiness looking through those old magazines.
I have just begun a nursing home visitation program near my home doing room to room visits. I am hoping to find craft instructions to make silk flower corsages for the ladies with pins they cannot harm themselves with. I think that will be a big hit as well.
Visiting with the elderly is highly rewarding and though you go in thinking you will bless them, often is it you who leaves feeling blessed.
Our Ladies' Auxiliary likes to make little baskets for the Veterans in our nursing homes and have run out of ideas for items. Most of the Vets cannot have candy and lots are in bed most of the time. I am looking for suggestions of small things for them, no sharp objects like pins allowed. All ideas are welcome. Thanks.
By GrandmaS from MD
My mom is in a nursing home and they love magazines, books, newspapers and videos. I am taking a bunch of costume jewelry to the ladies. I also take my dogs to visit them and they love that more than anything. She is in a brain unit (dementia, Alzheimer's) and my dogs have gotten some of them that never speak to talk to us. How about arranging for some animal visits. My son takes his guitar and plays music for them. It isn't about things you can give them but things they might enjoy. And take a camera and share pictures on your next visit.
We do Christmas baskets every year for our nursing homes. We put lotions, combs, socks, toothbrushes/paste, fruit, etc.
I am a hospital nurse who worked in a nursing home for a year. I noticed that the residents love getting gifts, but what most of them crave is someone to spend time with them. Visitors are what they cherish. The adopt a grandparent program is phenomenal. They also rarely get outside to enjoy the fresh air. Of course, pending nursing home staff approval. Also, in addition to Christmas gifts and visits, these residents need to be remembered throughout the year. Elderly people have lived some very interesting lives, and each one is different. They are living history books, and need to be cherished.
I was also a nurse. This is a great answer. Don't just think of folks at holidays. There are many people who NEVER get a visitor.
Why not try non skid slipper socks which help prevent falls and are not expensive. $6.35 a pair or less if bought in bulk. Checkout Silvert's Adaptive Clothing & Footwear online.
I really need input ASAP. I work at a nursing home and I really want to make the holidays extra special for all. Not everyone has family so not everyone gets a Christmas gift. I want to get something for everyone. I was going to get a big screen T.V. but the nursing home just bought one. I will be raising the money and I will guess an amount around $800-$900. Please give any ideas. I am looking for one big gift if possible but any input would be great. Thank you! Melissa
Melissa from PDC, Wisconsin
i think that idea posted of the "old time movies and favorite stars " is a wonderful idea! ebay sellers often list those old classics in lots. and sometimes the video store have old movies they sell on a table for $1.00 each. they would love actors like Jimmy Stewart, Betty Davis, John Wayne. You could even have mens night & ladies night movies. other thoughts are a buying the old music tunes from there days gone by and play them aloud through a intercom for all rooms to hear or even get the bible on cd stories to play the same way. You could ask the staff to do this on certain days at certain times. Music is soothing especailly the kind they use to listen too. You could ask there familes of each person what type music or singer they use to listen to in years years already past so you could have a varity. And not everyone that age can read the bible or get the chance hear it read to them, so the bible on Cd played would give them that joy as well. What about investing in good books to from long ago and have appointed days that you come read to them in groups. your very thoughtful to want to bless them with your gift of giving no matter what you pick.
My grandmother was in the coolest nursing home. They had large fishtanks with beautiful fish. The nurses would park the people in wheelchairs in the hallway for a little while so they could look at the fish and talk to one another. Also so they could watch the visiting children ooh and aah at the pretty fish. These were very large, beautiful tanks like you might see in a seafood restaurant but with colorful small fish. The other awesome thing they had in the halls were super fancy handmade bird habitats. The bird enclosures looked like china cabinets. They were nice wood and glass and there were nests in there made out of some kind of natural fibers and the birds slept in the nests that were attached to the back wall of the cabinet. I think the guy that built them also maintained them but I'm not sure. I think most people love animals. Maybe you could see about getting some rabbits and put the hutches in a common garden area outdoors. I think hummingbird feeders outside the room windows is a good idea too. First you have to think about how people live before they have to go to a nursing home and then try to make it as much like home as you can. Just as a side note maybe you could invite moms to bring their babies in to visit with the older folks. People like to look at babies and same with dogs. Ask the local shelter to bring some well behaved small dogs over for a visit. Everyone loves furry animals! Those are my thoughts. Have happy holidays! Lara
I work in a nursing home and they all fight for the news paper. We have a copy of 3 different local papers, but it seems they are never enough. A years subscription to local papers will be used every day of the year. Better yet, spend some time there every week and discuss the news too! Company is 1st on everyones list.
Scarfs, Socks. Most Elderly Residents Like/NEED these items. ONE size fits all. Under $5 each. Every Resident can have a gift to open of their very own.
In my local Super Grocery Store, they recently had a bin with lots of odds/ends of scarfs. I managed to get 50 of them varying from $2-$3 each. and the Activities Director approved it for the budget. Start looking for the deals around town. Good Luck!!
Fish in a fish tank?
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My group, PT Force, is visiting a nursing home. I want to make a craft for them, but I'm "baffled". What should I make?
By Matthew G. from Reseda, CA
Is this something you want to make for the residents or something you want to help the residents make?
My first thought was a hand fan. You could use paper plates and popsickle sticks (tongue depressors are larger and would be easier for them to handle) and staple them together or glue them together. Decorate the plates before adding the handle.
This is a guide about Valentine's Day gift ideas for a nursing home. A lovely thought, for you or as a group activity, is to bring Valentine's Day gifts to residents of a nursing home.
This is a guide about nursing home gift basket ideas. Fill your gift basket for a friend or family member in a nursing home with useful and thoughtful gifts.
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Make up a small scrapbook of the old neighborhood or even town.
just Xerox your pictures.
How about an indoor house plant that came from your house.
Or you could make a tape with the voices of the old familier neighbors saying something nice.
And in this technological age perhaps you could throw an picture and talk to familier neighbor phone party.
you know have someone go to the home of the other good friend neighbors
take their phone pictures and then talk a few minutes with the resident.
and last talk try to get the resident to talk about the good times they have had at the nursing. if possible let them give you a tour of their new home.
Have A Happy Visit
By Mr. Thrifty
Just an idea, but when my grandmother was in a nursing home, My sister got permission to bring her Great Dane dog in to visit. Our grandma LOVED visiting with the dog and lots of other residents did too. Some came to her room and others asked for my sister to bring the dog over to them. They hadn't seen any pets in such a long time! Of course, it would have to be an extremely friendly animal and the visit fairly short. (12/12/2006)
By Cindy S.
We have church services at two nursing homes, and around Christmas time we like to give a little in-expensive gift. We have found out from years experience, some things the residents enjoy. Some of the simpliest things, yes, they really enjoy visits, they also enjoy singing. We sing church songs and even the non-church goers love it. We take in a guitar and travel room to room with some residents. The little gifts we give out once a year, may range from the little non-skid slipper socks, to simple toilette articles wrapped up pretty with a bow. Like comb, brush, toothpaste, small sample bottles of things like lotion, hand soap, or single packs of kleen-ex.
Go to the sample bottles of things at a store like Walmart, and look at things that can't be harmful to them. The elderly can't always handle certain foods, so leave that one off. One year we were doing a state run nursing home, they had alot of mentally challenged residents, and we gathered baby dolls, cleaned them up, my mom fixed their hair, and made them clothes, the residents were so happy. We gave the guys some socks and hankerchiefs. Working with the nursing home folks is a very rewarding job, try it. (12/12/2006)
Our Brownie girlscout troop just delivered 88 gift bags last night to a local nursing home (they sang carols while delivering)
a deck of playing cards (donated by Belterra Casino, THANKS Belterra)
toothpaste and brush and hand lotion
notepad and pen
cookies or crackers (as long as doesnt interfere with diet or residents restrictions)
Pin or jewelry for ladies
THey were a great hit (12/12/2006)
We used to visit our nursing home with our big old docile white cat. At Christmas, I took photos of the residents with the cat and made Christmas cards. The nurses tell me that they love photos, because they usually have some type of bulletin board on which to post them and some folks have no one to send them anything. Perhaps you could have someone take photos of you with your neighbor and make a card or collage.
By Cindy Bailey
One thing my grandfather wanted before he passed on, was "Blistex" lip salve! I believe that your time, your smiles, your laughter, your reassurance, and your loving hugs will be gifts no money can buy. Many are afraid, so terribly lonely, angry, confused, and "just waiting to die", as I've heard so often. When any say this, I reply, "We are all in that same line, you know, and none of us can add even one hour to our life, nor knows when it will come. You are very fortunate to have lived this long and you aren't leaving this world one minute before your time.", adding a chuckle as they think about it and often smile.
Wide topped socks are a favorite for men who have difficulty with putting on regular socks. Each of them seems to like soft warm cloth, regardless of what it has made. Gentle arm and foot massages are much appreciated, as is a little look out a different window they've not seen before recently.
Another good item is the Time ANNUAL magazine, that shows the major events of the year or years, about $15.00 U.S., the last I bought one. If they don't have one, a long-reaching magnet "gripper" is much appreciated for those who are stuck in a wheelchair or walker, provided it can be reached from their chair for such things as magazines, books, slippers, newspapers, once they get the "hang" of the "new toy", although not at all new to the market. Many cost as much as $30, but some can be found under that amount. I found one in a garage sale for $3.00, and use it to get hats down from, or return them to, the top shelf of my closet even now while I am still ambulatory and not yet confined or crippled.
Touch lamps are good if easy to reach. Master light switch boxes are convenient, and portable battery operated closet lights for closets, under bed edges, and inside deep drawers for those who still have their faculties. My mother loves for me to do simple activities from childrens' books, about 4th grade, with her since she has some dementia now. I even took a small electric keyboard to sing with her and allow her to play a bit. Men might enjoy it a little, but helping them to keep their clothing sorted, hanging together on the hangers is equally important. This is one of my forte's and is greatly appreciated if I know the person well and if no relative seems to be doing that job. (If there is an odor in the room, I spritz a tiny "Ozium" spray can rather than to leave because of it. )
Good luck and God bless you. : )
My mom lives in a nursing home 2,000 miles away so I try to send her a "care package" once a month. I send her 1 artificial flower for the season the month is in, along with her favorite candies (she isn't limited in her diet), she knits, so I send her yarn each time. I made her an album of pictures of when she and my father (deceased) worked on the farm together, her marriage license, and pictures of my sisters when they were small, who have recently passed away. Around January/February, when the grapefruit and oranges are ripe (I have two trees) I send a huge box of them combined to the nursing home for everybody to enjoy. I write her a letter every day and on it I insert pictures of beautiful scenery or the holiday that's going on. Recently I've been enclosing pictures of Phoenix and Sun City and our new Cardinals Stadium, which is only a mile away. I also insert jokes in her letters to brighten up her day. I work for a newspaper, so when my picture is in it, I send her a copy. I also clip little things out of the newspaper I think she will be interested in. I try to call her every day also. (01/09/2007)
I buy stuffed animals in good condition from a thrift store, as well as the dollar store, and take in a bag full to the nursing home that my mother lived in. The activities director distributes them to some patients, and uses others as prizes at patient game sessions.
Ladies often like jewelry, particularly pins/brooches, as they fit everyone.
Another popular gift at my mother' place is holiday themed decorations, changed monthly.
Not as inexpensive, but really appreciated and used are those no sew fleece blankets/lap robes.Both the double layer tied ones, and single layer fringed ones are used frequently. I buy fleece remnants which are big enough for lap robes quite cheaply. Knot two together, or cut fringe, and then trim the single layer ones by putting plastic or wooden pony beads on each fringe. (Pony beads are beads with large holes and are available in large bags at the fabric/craft store.) (01/10/2007)
For elderly folk who use walkers, a walker bag makes a nice, but not too expensive, gift. Flowery walker bags like from www.jeanswalkerbags.com are great for women, but for a gentleman you'd rather get a leather bag or something of that nature from Ebay. Seniors love to tote things around more easily. Also, there's a service called Happy Happy mail at www.happyhappymail.com that sends cheap gifts on your behalf, which is pretty neat! However, it's about $20 a month. (10/14/2007)
Remember ; do not give any toiletries : ex talcum powder, lip balm, etc...that are medicated. I was a nurse in a nursing home for many years and we needed a doctor's order to ok these kind of items or to ok the use by the residents. (11/05/2007)