Holiday Gifts for Nursing Home Residents

With Hanukkah and Christmas just around the corner, you may be wondering what would make a good present for a relative in a nursing home. If you check my sidebar under Products of Note, you’ll see some possibilities, a few of which I’ve blogged about earlier in the year. (Try using the Search tool in the sidebar to find a post on a particular item.) In my efforts to banish the barren nursing home room, photos are still my number one pick for holiday gifts, but here are other suggestions (be sure to label everything!):

  • Nice lotions, soaps, and grooming products
  • A special bedspread
  • A “lap” blanket to wear while sitting in a wheelchair
  • Wheelchair accessories (Google it) like cup holders, side pockets, wheel lights, etc.Mobility Saddlebag for Wheelchairs, Powerchairs & Scooters
  • Sturdy clothes that can handle being washed in an industrial washing machine
  • Colorful bangle bracelets to blend in with nursing home wrist bands
  • Plants, or potted flowers, especially if you can come by to water them regularly
Great gifts from the heart:
  • Make a commitment to visit once a week, or once a month
  • Make a commitment to call once a week, or once a day
  • Organize friends and family so that each person has a week to call or visit
  • Bring a home-cooked meal
  • Organize friends and family to bring a home-cooked meal on a regular basis

9 thoughts on “Holiday Gifts for Nursing Home Residents”

  1. Dr. El,
    Great suggestions! I would like to add, for those who enjoy puzzles you can never have too many puzzle books. A particular favorite among many residents are word find puzzles.

    How about:
    – music cds (and something to play them with)
    – subscription to a newspaper or magazine
    – DVD player with a subscription to Netflix
    – a day out of the facility with family

    I particularly like your gift from the heart suggestions and would like to add that visits need not be lengthy. Stopping in to say hello from time to time (regularly) for a short visit is very uplifting. Also, most facilities do welcome visitors in their recreational activities and during the holidays many churches and organizations will visit and conduct special programs. Friends and family members should check the recreational calendar for events or speak to the Recreation Director.

  2. Thanks, Sue, for your additions. I love the newspaper/magazine subscription suggestion. For those with poor vision, another idea is books on tape (and a tape player which can be free from the library system for those legally blind).

    Regarding the regularity of visits, I don't think this point can be stressed enough. While any visit is a treat, many residents feel anxious wondering when they'll see their families again. There's a lot of comfort knowing when visitors will return.

  3. Dr. El,

    Yes, books on tape are available from the Library Of The Blind and Physically Handicapped and so are the tape players. I don't believe that you can listen to regular books on tape on these machines though. If loved ones feel their family member would enjoy or benefit from receiving the books on tape, I would suggest they talk to the Recreation Director who should have a short form that needs to be completed.

  4. The facility I work at is doing a Secret Santa. Employees who are interested can pick a resident/ residents to buy for. An idea I came up with for one resident who is always cold is a snuggie/slanket/blanket with sleeves. Easy to take on and off for someone in a wheelchair, not so long that it will get caught in the wheels, and you have full use of your arms.

    Thanks for the photo idea, don't know why I didn't think of that!

    Love your blog, btw. I work as a Speech Pathologist/Rehab Director and you discuss so many issues I run into from day to day.

  5. Sue, thanks for the info about the tape player from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Another gift suggestion for the visually impaired is a talking alarm clock.

    Amy, the Secret Santa sounds like a lovely idea. There are so many residents who have no one who will give them a holiday gift this year. Having a Secret Santa is a way for residents to get a gift that's just right for them, and for staff to give a present without showing favoritism.

    For more on the issue of favoritism, see my blog post Setting Boundaries with Residents.

  6. Hello, I'm searching for nursing related blogs like mine and I stumbled your site, nice blog!. I hope you could also include me in your blogroll.

    By the way, you have a very good writing skills here. Keep up the good work.

  7. Thank you for letting me in here. Please let me know what should I put in for your anchor text in my site. We are on the process now of building a huge nursing directory list and I wanted your site to be included.

    Shameless plug: We will be posting the November 2009 nursing board exam result in our website. Please let your Filipino visitors know about it. CIAO!

  8. Cherie, thanks for adding my blog to your nursing website. I sent you an email with the information you requested via your site. You can reach me using the "Contact Me" button on the top of my sidebar on the right, if you need more info.


Leave a Comment