When I was a child, we had a nursing home in the small town where I lived. I remember going there every year and singing Christmas carols. There were donation drives and people were always helping the residents when they could. My family now lives in a town with multiple nursing homes and care facilities. I came up with 10 ways to help your local nursing home during the holidays or anytime of year!
10 Ways to Help Your Local Nursing Home During the Holidays
I think there is a big misconception that people living in a nursing home have everything they need. It may be true that their basic needs are being met…but these elderly people may really be lacking items that would make them so much more comfortable. Most of these residents are on an extremely fixed income. Some don't have family nearby to help. It is important that communities remember their elderly and continue to give to them when they can.
Call Your Local Nursing Home and Ask About Their Specific Needs
Every residential facility will have their own rules for donations, visitors, etc. It is best to start off by finding out what their guidelines are. I also like to find out if there are any specific needs they have or that certain residents may have. This will enable me to be very purposeful in my help.
Most nursing homes have recreation areas for residents. These typically include a TV and DVD player. It is always nice for the residents to have new movies to watch. I know we have TONS of DVD's at home that we don't watch anymore. I also try to watch for good deals on movies during Christmas sales!
Many elderly people still like to write letters by hand (shocking I know, LOL). Donating pretty stationery, pens, envelopes and even stamps is a great way to connect with the residents!
If you are doing holiday giving…calendars make a great gift! You can buy a variety of calendars for the year approaching…funny animals, beautiful scenery, etc. You could take them around to each resident and they can pick out their favorite calendar to hang in their room.
Crossword Puzzle & Word Find Books
A lot of residents like to work crossword puzzles and word finds. These books are easy to find in stores and are a great donation item that many resident will enjoy.
Many older people have issues with temperature control and they feel cold a lot. Wouldn't it be nice to give them a pretty, warm fleece blanket? There are so many nice blankets for sale at low prices…these would make a great donation!
Books in large print are always a good idea for nursing homes. Many residents love to read and like to have a new selection of books to choose from.
What about donating magazine subscriptions directly to the facility? This would be a donation that would serve many residents every month and the home would really appreciate it. Get creative with your magazine subscriptions…sports, outdoors, crafts, etc. You may talk to some residents and see what magazines they would like to read.
Skin Care Items
The older we get the more fragile our skin seems to get. Good quality lotions and lip balms are items that many elderly nursing home residents need and would really appreciate.
Personal Care Items
A lot of residents need personal care items and not everything is provided for them. There can be needs for underpads for beds and other personal care type items that residents need and the costs of these products really adds up for people on a fixed income. They make great donation items.
What Will You Donate?
Does your family help your local nursing home during the holidays? What are your favorite items to donate? Do you have any touching stories to share? Let me know…let's connect!