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.
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.
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.
Many of the residents like my big, sweet, German Shepherd, too. The dogs don't have to be small, just clean and well-behaved.
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