Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Help Aging Parents: Gifts for Nursing Home Residents

The Christmas season began in stores near me days before Halloween arrived.  Personally I like to savor each holiday before moving on to the next, but this year I am as premature as those I am critical of.  While Thanksgiving is two weeks away, because of my schedule I just finished--because I had to-- three holiday gift baskets for people in a nearby nursing home, to be delivered on Dec. 2nd. It's fun to create 

While this delays my intended post, it's clearly a part of helping older people age--hopefully happier if not well--so I'm featuring it today.  You will find some inexpensive gift ideas that older people in nursing homes--or not, whether long or short term--will appreciate.  The suggestions below are within the guidelines of the nursing home near us.  Guidelines may differ so check them out and remember the gifts recommended below are for strangers:

  • chap sticks
  • soaps, lotions or creams with no scent/fragrance
  • comb and brush
  • small stuffed animals
  • pens, pads, stationery
  • sunglasses
  • neckties
  • slippers, socks
  • mittens, gloves, scarves, shawls
  • decorative boxes or containers
  • scrapbooks, photo albums, picture frames
  • candy canes (no other food but this)
  • holiday decorations
As you can see from my basket on the right, I've chosen a game theme using 2 of the above items (candy-cane striped pen with santa at the top and stuffed animal), plus a Sudoko book, playing cards, magnifying glass, candy-cane striped pen with santa at top, teddy bear, and vase that will hold seasonal greenery as we get nearer December 2.  Missing are to-be-added-later lottery tickets that bring some excitement to older people who probably lack that kind of excitement --especially if they are long-term care seniors.

Our Garden Club's nursing home gifts are displayed on a long table as part of the Woman's Club annual holiday open house.  Also featured: garden club members' tables decorated for Christmas and Chanukah.  People never fail to ask if they can purchase the baskets made for the nursing  home.  Probably because they look great, not because of the contents. Each must have fresh and/or dried flowers, leaves, pine cones etc. as part of the decoration...nothing artificial. Cost: around $12.00. The nursing home project, as our garden club calls it, has become a tradition.  By the time the above basket has the greenery and lottery tickets within, and is wrapped in  cellophane, someone would have to be in a very bad way not to have his or her spirits lifted just viewing this gift.

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