Giving a care package is a great way to make elderly loved ones feel special. Even the simplest of gifts can lift spirits and give him or her bragging rights for the day! Working in the assisted living community, I had the pleasure of witnessing residents receive gifts both through mail and hand delivered. Without fail, their happiness was evident upon receiving their surprise.
One of my favorite gift-giving memories is of a woman, Mrs. D, who did not have any surviving family other than a daughter-in-law who lived out of state. Before Mrs. D moved into an assisted living, they lived close and would occasionally share their favorite specialty ice cream. Even though her daughter-in-law was unable to visit often, she made sure to send Mrs. D a variety of flavors from her favorite brand every 2 months. This had a huge impact on her life, she would tell all of the staff how special her daughter-in-law was and how much that ice-cream meant to her.
Below are 7 items that tend to be well received by the elderly. You can customize the items depending on your family member personal taste and style.
- Soft Warm Socks– Due to a decrease in circulation and slowed metabolism, many elderly people become cold easily. Comfy socks are always nice to have no matter what time of year it may be. Consider buying a larger size than you may think (feet tend to widen with age and socks may also shrink in the wash).
- Fruit Basket– Don’t be quick to disregard this option. Many elderly living alone at home or in a senior care facility do not have frequent access to fresh fruits. Many facilities offer varieties such as bananas and strawberries, however, when was the last time your loved one enjoyed a kiwi, mango or nectarine? Less common fruits may be a welcomed treat that’s different from their everyday fare.
- Throw or Fidget Blanket– Small throws are both decorative and useful. Fidget blankets with sewn on pockets and other items stimulate the senses making them especially soothing for those with dementia.
- Moisturizing Body Products– Hydrating lotions, body washes, and face creams not only feel luxurious but nourish aging skin by keeping it moisturized and healthy. Instead of putting the items in a basket or bag, opt for a shower caddy that they can keep.
- Scrapbook– A photo scrapbook is a very personalized way to showcase special moments with friends and family over the years. Try adding memories between photos as well as decorative stickers and even drawings from the “little” in the family.
- 1-2 Player Games– A deck of jumbo size playing cards, jigsaw puzzles and crossword books are all options that can be an entertaining way to fill downtime. Look for large print that is easy to read and pair with a nice pen or pencil set.
- Reading Material– Stories can transport us to the most beautiful places or land us in the funniest of scenarios! Choose few current magazines or an uplifting book that would be of interest to him or her. Top it off with a handwritten note and colorful ribbon.
No matter what you send, your loved one will likely appreciate that you took the time to put something together just for them. Happy gift giving!