Holiday Gifts for Nursing Home and Care Facilities Residents December 2013

Decorative Baskets Soon On Their Way~

“We are old and sick, not dead.
hope you all know that your thoughtfulness is appreciated.”

The first Wednesday in December– it’s tradition. The Woman’s Club holds its annual Holiday open house. The Garden Section members began the tradition of preparing baskets for nursing home residents 7 years ago, adhering to a suggested list of small gifts and “no-no’s” supplied by the facility and sticking to a $10 or under expenditure. The expenditure limit has been raised a bit. Inexpensive items, bringing great joy. Finding them at TJ Maxx, grocery stores, drug stores, etc. is half the fun.

Poinsettia, candy canes, red blanket in white basketBecause all members were “Plant People” and “Garden Lovers” there was a requirement, to include some fresh plant material: ivy cuttings (which seem to last 3 weeks without water), a plant, or a sprig of evergreen or holly. The sprigs don’t last long without water. Some members became more creative, putting evergreen and/or holly sprigs in $ store vases with very wet paper towels.

That sufficed until the next day when everything was transported to the nursing home and the vases were filled with water, becoming a cheery, long-lasting holiday room decoration.

As with worthwhile projects, more people–non-Garden Club members– wanted to participate and did. More gifts for nursing home residents to enjoy each year.

So while the fresh plant material decreased, the amount of baskets increased every December, ultimately filling long tables along one side of a long wall in the main room, of the Woman’s Club.Nursing Home Baskets

Clicking the link in the first paragraph, unearths a long list of suggested gifts that you realize would be welcomed by strangers as well as loved ones. Only for loved ones, forget the food restrictions unless they’re necessary and bring one or some of the following:

–Snacks and goodies they love.

–Picture frames (with family or grandchild photo). Just received a Christmas card from a dear old friend, a widow. Enclosed is a picture of her 5-year-old granddaughter and note beginning: “This is who brings joy to me.”  How many times do we reaffirm the importance of grandchildren to grandmothers?

–Flicker, Apple, Shutterfly etc. generate photo albums, books, calendars etc. There’s still time! 
–Games. Do you remember anagrams? Played by one or many. Good for the brain, I’d guess. What about a new attractive deck of cards for solitaire–or any game to play with family when they visit? Being engaged in something together adds a degree of normalcy.

–Light-weight cozy blankets and cozy soft socks. Since the latter lack rubber non-skid stuff on bottom, they’re for keeping feet snug and warm, not for elderly walking.  cozy sockxsoft blanket

 If ever in doubt about what thoughtful deeds mean to elders–

Dear Ladies,

My nice little plant is doing very nicely and is happy.  The Christmas tray and notepaper plus pens are a wonderful gift. We are all very appreciative of all the goodies you sent to us. You make our holidays much more exciting. We are old and sick, not dead. I hope you all know that your thoughtfulness is appreciated.

 My Christmas basket from last year still decorates my room.

Thank you and God Bless.


Note: Newsworthy (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities and respected professionals, plus some practical and fun stuff to help parents age well.


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