Gift Ideas For Nursing Home Residents


By Vivienne Montague

Several things should be considered when choosing gifts for nursing home residents. How much room does the resident have? Do they have room for the gift you have in mind? Are they physically able to use the gift? Will they need help to use the gift and, if so, is the help readily available?

Popular gifts that have stood the test of time for nursing home residents are books and magazines.. A new book by a favorite author is always welcome. A subscription to a favorite magazine is also a good idea.

A box of candy is another popular choice but before giving candy, check with the caregivers to see if this is something the resident can have or can be doled out occasionally.

If the resident enjoys writing letters and cards, a box of all-occasion cards or notepaper would be welcome. Add some postage stamps and pre-printed labels for the people they write to and they can write cards and letters whenever they want to.

Coloring books and crayons are fun for both residents and visitors. If the resident has difficulty conversing, just sitting and coloring with them, occasionally patting their hand or making comments about coloring is a relaxing way to spend time together and is appreciated by the resident.

A lap-desk with a raised border around it is useful for writing and coloring.

If the resident is able to go out, the promise of a trip to a favorite restaurant or movie would be appreciated but check with the nursing staff to make sure they are physically and mentally able to handle such a venture. Ask about any medications or treatments that might need to be taken into consideration.

Does the resident like to treat others? Give them some gift certificates they can use to treat their friends when they go out.

Do they need help with a hobby they used to enjoy? Can you provide that help? Arthritis and other diseases often interfere with hobbies such as needlework, stamp collecting, building models. If they have given up a favorite hobby because of failing eyesight or poor hand movement, perhaps you can help them still enjoy their former pastime.

Perhaps the best gift of all is simply spending time with the resident. Don't feel you have to be talking all the time. Just sitting with them lets them know that you care. Offer to read a book to them or help them with a crossword puzzle. Let them know what's happening in the place they used to live. Be cheerful and positive and watch carefully for signs that they are getting tired. Do check with their caregiver as they can offer suggestions on what the resident would enjoy.

Vivienne counts among her favorite pastimes reading, sewing, embroidery, and has a general interest in lots of things. She has a great fondness for the sea and lighthouses and the beauty of nature.

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3 Responses

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steve Joyce, Laurel Kennedy. Laurel Kennedy said: Gift Ideas For Nursing Home Residents - By Vivienne Montague Several things should be considered when choosing gifts... [...]
  2. Other items for consideration: scented lotions (then offer to rub their arms and hands with it - a mini massage!) potpourri to scent their rooms, or sachets for their drawers/wardrobes. A neck pillow when they're sitting up reading or watching tv. A clock - while most rooms have a wall clock, I got my Mother one of those clocks that tell the time, indoor temp, the day of the week and the date (with large numbers and letters) It so helps to keep them oriented to what day it is. Even a mini refrigerator if the facility allows it and hasn't provided one. Most facilities allow residents to keep favorite beverages etc, but when they want one, the staff has to go get it and return - with the frig in the room, saves the staff some time and steps and helps remind the resident that they have some favorite things available for their enjoyment.
  3. [...] more here: Gift Ideas For Nursing Home Residents | Elder Care ABC Comments [...]
  4. I think many people find this to be challenging, partly because of space issues and concerns of "what do they really need?". My mother was an Alzheimer's patient, so it was even more difficult. For her, I found that things like pictures were especially appreciated, as well as many of the small toiletry items that are often used and needed. I also would discuss her needs with the assisted living staff as well, as they often were able to suggest specific items (non-skid slippers, sweaters, etc.) that I would not have necessarily thought of.
  5. I am so glad that you are discussing this topic. It was just this challenge, especially for long distance caregivers, that promted us to create CareAGram. We specialize in care packages for those who need care the most: seniors, the elderly, and the homebound or loved ones with long term care needs. From our research, we are the first and only dedicated provider of care packages made especially for seniors. Check out our site. We'd love to hear recommendations for new additions to our packages.

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