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10 Gift Ideas for Nursing Home Residents

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Peggy served as caregiver and patient advocate to family members for over a decade. Here is some of her best advice.

What  gifts do nursing home residents want?

What gifts do nursing home residents want?

The Best Gifts Are Free

Finding that perfect gift for a loved one in a skilled nursing or assisted living facility can be difficult. If you ask your senior what they want, they may say they have everything they need, but do they? Read on to find tried and trusted items that delighted my own family members.

The best gift for a friend or relative is to spend a few minutes of your time with them. Whatever residents may be doing at the moment you come to visit, their faces light up with joy when you walk in. Sharing a meal with them breaks the monotony of their daily routine and reassures them they're cherished and valued. It also brings a sense of pride when their friends see you visit.

Most facilities allow family members to attend facility-scheduled wellness conferences. At these meetings, family members and patients discuss medication issues and the care they're receiving as well as identify issues that may need attention. Your presence helps your loved one advocate for themselves and gives them confidence to speak out that otherwise might be lacking.

A bouquet of flowers makes a welcome gift.

A bouquet of flowers makes a welcome gift.

10 Useful and Often-Requested Gifts

  1. Cotton socks, slippers, sweat suits, and clothing that's easy to get on and off.
  2. Bird feeders and the seed to refill them.
  3. Homemade cakes, cookies, candy, individual puddings. Ensure or Boost for snacks. Sugar-free food items or items from their favorite fast-food restaurant like milkshakes and easy-to-chew things.
  4. Gift certificates for the facility hair salon.
  5. CDs and DVDs of their favorite songs, movies, and TV shows.
  6. Large print books, adult coloring books, or audio books and a small audio player.
  7. Craft supplies like colored pencils, plastic blunt-tipped scissors, paint-by-number, kits, yarn and knitting supplies.
  8. Office supplies like ballpoint pens and small tablets for notes.
  9. Games like Scrabble, dominoes, or crossword puzzless.
  10. Nail clippers and emery boards.
Sharing a meal with your senior gives them a chance to enjoy your company.

Sharing a meal with your senior gives them a chance to enjoy your company.

Limited Funds? Check These Ideas

What if your funds are limited? Some of the most appreciated gifts include personal attention that you can do during your visit.

  • Offer to comb or style your family member's hair.
  • Give a hand or foot massage.
  • Trim your senior's fingernails.
  • Write a letter on their behalf, stamp, address, and mail the letter.
  • Read a story to your senior if they have trouble seeing.
  • Sing them their favorite song.
  • Play a board game like Scrabble, Dominoes, cards, or work a puzzle together.
  • Attend an activities session and stay for the Bingo or stretching exercises.
When the school children visit, they bring along their dog to the skilled nursing facility.

When the school children visit, they bring along their dog to the skilled nursing facility.

Food and Time Together Are the Best!

In many skilled nursing facilities, you can enjoy a guest meal at no cost to family members or friends when you visit. If this isn't the case where your relative lives, you can always pack a sandwich and bring it along to eat while your senior dines.

Another option is to pick up their favorite fast food on the way and share it with them. Usually, beverages like coffee and tea are available for guests at no charge.

Residents love homemade baked goods for celebrating special occasions.

Residents love homemade baked goods for celebrating special occasions.

Homemade Treats

Edible gifts made by a loved one like homemade cookies, cakes, candy, and pies are things that most residents love to receive. If your senior is on a restricted diet, you can customize your holiday baking to include sugar-free gifts.

If you're not a seasoned baker, choose other edible gifts like pudding cups, individual packages of fruit, or crackers with peanut butter or cheese, juice boxes, individually wrapped candies that are easy to open, and even plastic bottles of Ensure or Boost supplement for a midnight snack.

Musical entertainers provide lots of energy and stimulus for seniors and others.

Musical entertainers provide lots of energy and stimulus for seniors and others.

Music and Entertainment

Live Music and Songs Lift the Spirit

One welcomed pastime at any skilled nursing facility is the music from volunteers who perform for the residents who sing along, wave their arms, clap to the music, or nod their heads. Some even get up and dance to the tunes.

Musicians in the area come in to entertain the residents. Guitarist Chris plays at three different times on Thursdays and sings individually to those confined to their rooms. Country Music singers, Sam and Pat and Gospel singer Gigi Burgess make time in their monthly schedule to sing favorite songs and provide hugs to the audience.


Find out your loved one's favorite movies or TV shows and bring them DVDs so they can watch them whenever they want. Many facilities have DVD players that residents can use.

Choose footwear gifts that are easy to slip on without ties or buckles.

Choose footwear gifts that are easy to slip on without ties or buckles.

Personal Care Items

Items for personal use seem to be the most often requested items. Keep in mind that some people have allergies, so choose unscented, or a softly scented lotion or mild cologne.

Remember that caps and lids may be difficult to open. As my mother grew older, packaging seemed to become more difficult for her to manage. Items with pump dispensers or containers that are easy to open are a good choice. You may even need to open the box of tissues and start the first one out of the box. Tasks that are simple to youthful hands can become a nightmare for a senior who struggles with arthritis.

Trial-sized handy wipes, hand sanitizer, Chapstick, toothpaste, or small notepads are appreciated. The small size lets residents carry them in their pockets.

Beauty Salon Certificates

All nursing home residents could use a little pampering. A wonderful gift is beauty salon certificates for services by the on-site cosmetologists. Alternatively, you can ask to use the beauty shop and give your senior a nice shampoo and gentle scalp massage. If neither of those options is available, arrange to take your loved one to a salon nearby.

A new hair style is uplifting for a nursing home resident.

A new hair style is uplifting for a nursing home resident.

Animals and Nature's Beauty

What do seniors do with their time? Besides playing bingo, working on jigsaw puzzles and word games, seniors like to enjoy the outdoors. My ninety-five-year-old auntie says she likes to sit by the window and watch traffic and count cars. To battle depression that goes with the transition from independent living to being in a facility, the psychologist recommended putting a bird feeder outside her window.

She often speaks about the birds that land on the feeder and she even names them. Volunteers at the facility fill up the bird feeder when it needs more food as long as we provide the bird seed. Sam's and Costco sell a forty-pound bag of National Audubon bird food for less than twenty dollars. This lasts a long time and provides hours of visual enjoyment.

Visiting canine Roxy from a local dog association brings a smile to the residents' faces.

Visiting canine Roxy from a local dog association brings a smile to the residents' faces.

Dogs and Service Animals

One of the best ways to provide comfort and a touch of home is to invite the Visiting Dog's Association to visit your family members. It is amazing to watch the expressions of joy when seniors make contact with a well-trained, friendly canine.

Make sure to find out which residents are allergic to animals and make arrangements for medication or for them to be in another area of the building.

Twelve-year-old Ginger is a regular visitor to the facility.

Twelve-year-old Ginger is a regular visitor to the facility.

Ginger the Mascot

The administrator at Mom's place has been bringing his Golden Retriever to the facility with him for most of her life. She's now an elderly dog at twelve but she still enjoys her duties greeting folks and passing out kisses. The residents all know Ginger and look forward to sneaking her table scraps and dog biscuits whenever they see her.

The joy is in the company shared.

The joy is in the company shared.

Gifts for Someone With Dementia or Alzheimer’s

For those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, gifts can be similar to those given before they were diagnosed.

  • Adult Coloring books or crossword puzzles and Find-the-Word games.
  • Favorite classic movies and TV shows.
  • Photo album of special occasions with family and friends.
  • Clothing with easy closures and pockets. Buttons can be difficult to fasten.
  • A soft robe or blanket in their favorite color
  • A doll or stuffed animal
  • Music from their childhood or teenage years
  • A location tracker or emergency call device
  • Simple craft kits and activities can help stimulate memories.
This nursing home resident carries her baby with her during her rounds at the facility.

This nursing home resident carries her baby with her during her rounds at the facility.

Gifts for the Visually Impaired

  • Magnifying Glass Necklace: This can help elderly women read things like store labels and be fashionable at the same time.
  • Talking Watch
  • Low-Vision Keyboard
  • Subscription to Audible

Gifts for the Hearing Impaired

  • Video Doorbell
  • Captioned Telephone
  • TV Listening Device

Donations for Nursing Homes

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can always use donations. Before donating, call and ask what is needed and if there is anything that they don't accept. These are ideas for things to donate.

Air Fresheners or Deodorizers



Arts and Crafts Supplies

Diabetic Socks

Large Print Books

Baby Wipes

Flashlights and Reading Lights

Poise and Depends Undergarments

Cards and Stationery

Fresh Fruit

Polaroid Camera

CD players

House Plants

Puzzles and Board Games

Any Time Is Good for Giving Gifts

It doesn't have to be a special occasion to bring a gift to your favorite senior, although on birthdays and holidays, a personal gift is a welcomed event. Whether it is a purchased present or a gift of your time and effort, your loved one will treasure these small tokens of your affection.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: What treat should I take an elderly brother in his late 50's?

Answer: You might take him either a gift card (i.e., WalMart) or pay for an in-home salon service for a haircut or a manicure for him. Beyond your visit, which will be a highlight, he may need personal items like tissues, mouthwash, toothpaste, a comb, air fresheners or other things that are not readily available. Some nursing homes take the residents on outings to local malls and grocery stores where they can purchase treats or other necessities. If you're willing, bake one of his favorite homemade goodies and help him to share it with his friends. It lifts the spirits of residents when they're able to offer something special to others.

Question: What kind of gift can I get for an 80-year-old woman who thinks she's going into a home for a couple of weeks, but in reality, she's going there to live?

Answer: The gift is not the issue; rather, the issue is whether you plan on telling her the truth or not.

In some cases, with dementia patients, residents may hold onto certain ideas and not comprehend the complexity of their situation. My mother, for example, after being in a nursing home for nearly three years, told me that when and if her older sister, who shared a room with her, passed away, she would be ready to come home. At that point, Mom was completely dependent on caregivers for daily needs: medication; meal preparation; showering and more.

Frankly, no gift will soften the blow if someone who wants to go home cannot. I suggest that you visit her frequently and show compassion and understanding. Your kindness to her will go a long way. Bring fresh flowers and spend time with her while arranging them in a vase. Help organize her clothes into outfits (pants and blouses together with socks) in the drawers. Make sure she has all the essential toiletries she needs. Take her to activities like in-house musical performances and sit with her. Most of all, reassure her of your love and concern for her safety and health.

Question: What can I do to comfort my fifty-eight-year-old brother? He lives in a nursing home.

Answer: If your brother has a favorite sports team, a cap with their logo would be a welcome gift or perhaps a chair cushion if he's wheelchair-bound or nice warm cotton socks. One of the residents at my Mom's facility used to buy sugar-free, hard candy to pass out to other residents while he stopped to make small talk.

Question: Would a crochet doll be a good gift for a nursing home resident?

Answer: Something like a doll that you made especially for your resident would likely be cherished and appreciated. My mother had a favorite stuffed animal that she named. She made sure it was on her pillow on display every day.

© 2014 Peg Cole


Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on April 22, 2020:

Hello LI, Thanks for your valuable input on these items that can be of use to those in long-term care facilities. I appreciate your insight and have revised the section where scissors were suggested. My mother found them quite useful when she couldn't open mail or packages or ice cream bars. I can see how they might not be appropriate for some residents.

LI on April 21, 2020:

Scissors are NOT a gift for anyone in Long Term Care.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on June 27, 2019:

That's a thoughtful way to assist those who can no longer take care of things as detailed and tedious as writing out holiday cards. Thanks for sharing this great idea.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on June 27, 2019:

My sister has a postcard made each Christmas with my brother's favorite thing (vintage cars) and prints a holiday message on it from my brother. She hand addresses those to the people he wants them sent to. This is a great gift to someone unable to tackle doing that for themselves.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on March 13, 2019:

Thanks, Nat. Nice of you to come by. This is a writing site where those writers who wish to create articles can publish their work at no cost. The site is maintained and provided by a source called HubPages.

Nat. on March 12, 2019:

Great ideas! Plus how did you come up with this, it's a beautiful website. Once again fabulous job!!! I recommend this!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on March 09, 2019:

Hello R Talloni, Thanks for dropping in again. I agree on trying to find a way to lighten the situation. It helps. My Auntie had an amazing sense of humor and wit right up to the end. Again, thanks.

RTalloni on March 08, 2019:

It's good to see this again. I believe it's been nicely updated since I first read it. Glad to help highlight it for so many need info on what works best for their friends and loved ones. Thought I would add that in one case I faced a difficult situation but if I could come up with a joke the person would lighten up.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on February 21, 2019:

Hi Dolores, You are a blessing to those with whom you spent time and energy. I know how taxing and draining these visits can be, but it also gave me a better appreciation for every day I have the freedom to walk about, eat what I want and do the daily things these folks are no longer able to do. Thanks so much for coming by and for leaving these great suggestions like reading to residents, walking outdoors and tuning a radio to their favorite station.

My mom was fortunate to room with her older sister, so for me, it was a two-fer every time I went to visit.

Again, thank you for stopping by.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on February 21, 2019:

Hi Peg - you offered some wonderful suggestions here. Having spent some time in a nursing home visiting a loved one, I found that a visit is the best gift. When you visit often, you quickly learn what sort of gift works best. I brought in a radio and kept it tuned to the patient's favorite station.

Taking the patient outdoors, if possible, is a wonderful gift as well. Staff does not have the time to do that thought sometimes the recreation staff would do so.

When my loved one became severely disabled, I began to read her books - ones that I knew she had enjoyed in the past. Though she could no longer communicate, her eyes lit up when I picked up the book. Her room mate seemed to enjoy the reading as well.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 21, 2018:

Thanks for the visit, Kay.

Kay Viellion on December 18, 2018:

Great ideas. Thanks for the suggestions!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 03, 2018:

Karen, Thanks for this thoughtful tip and suggestion to care for the caregivers as well. Gift cards are a great way to appreciate the staff of the facilities so they can purchase things they truly want and need.

What always impressed me at our nursing home was when the children came in from the churches and sang to the residents. Displaying their manners and socializing with the seniors always brought a smile.

Karen in Texas on August 02, 2018:

Hello! I love your article! I'm looking for ideas for things i can have the children at our church do for the local nursing home residents... And you have some great suggestions!! I have another suggestion... remember the staff at the homes. workers who feel appreciated do a better job. Taking care of the people who take care of our loved ones helps our loved ones, too!!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 18, 2018:

Hello Christine, I think you're right about companionship. So many times I worried about those residents who never had a visitor. You could see the sadness in their eyes when others had guests and they did not. Possessions are not the most important thing at this stage of life.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts in the comments.

Christine Mulberry on July 18, 2018:

These are perfect suggestions. Many nursing home residents are most in need of companionship rather than things. In addition, most "things" aren't something they can use when living in this type of environment anyway. A nice robe, nightgown, slippers, clothing, books, lotions etc are what they need and typically want.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 17, 2018:

Hello Kathy, I debated about deleting your rather harsh comment and decided to let it stay. Clearly, you are having some personal difficulties that cause you to lash out at others. If you have better ideas for gifts that would be suitable for your elders, may I suggest that you write an informative article detailing them?

As the pictures in the article are mostly of my relatives who lived at a nursing home their last few years, you might imagine that I spent many hours in their company along with others in the facility.

I hope you find kindness in your future and that whatever makes you bitter enough to leave such a remark will be resolved.

All the best to you.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 16, 2018:

Nikitta, Thank you for stopping in to share your thoughts.

Kathy on July 15, 2018:

These were the stupidest gift idea's I've ever heard! The only one that made sense was the crossword puzzle.

My suggestion, do your research before putting something like this out there. Maybe actually Talk to nursing home residents?

Nikitta Dutt from Delhi on May 21, 2018:

Flower arrangements and holiday pies are the best part!!!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on May 13, 2018:

Dear Shackleford, Yes, that fact addresses one the many abuses in our health care programs. The American taxpayer is definitely getting over charged for the care of our elders, including resident doctors who bill for a visit and send in their Physician Assistants instead. That happens frequently. Thanks for your insightful comment and observation.

I will say that were it not for the Medicaid program we could not have afforded this level of quality care at private pay rates of $48,000 - $72,000 per year per patient with two relatives needing care. Definitely beyond the means of the average family.

Shackleford on May 13, 2018:

I'm sure the following will shock readers of this column. In investigating nursing home care for my mother, I was made aware that the Government through our Medicaid program reimburses nursing home facilities essentially $12,000 per month per patient. This reimbursement rate is the same regardless of where the Medicaid patient is "nursed." If a patient can self pay, the cost plummets to between $4,000 and $6,000 per month, depending on the level of care the patient needs. The American Taxpayer is getting hosed. There is absolutely no justification for this payment rate.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on April 03, 2018:

Dear Pushpanjali,

It's sad to hear that your seniors are treated in this manner. Bless you for teaching your students to respect and care for their elders. Thank you for sharing this insight into different conditions in other places.

Pushpanjali Chettri on April 03, 2018:

Hello Peg..

I really loved this article.. I never had anyone who lived in a nursing home.. but I love to visit whenever I can.. we actually don't have such kinds of facilities in our system.. it's such disheartening to see old people treated as rags.. the facilities are poor and these people are not taken proper care of..I visit whenever I can and I take my students with me..They enjoy cleaning their beds..Trimming their nails..Making their hair..And talking to them..

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on March 15, 2018:

Dear IDK, That's great that you love to visit elders and listen to their stories. They have so much to tell and they know so many important things about life. Nice to see you today.

IDK on March 15, 2018:

I love to visit and talk with elders even if i dont know them and i might go sometime to visit you guys! I love to give and share and i am young but i still love to talk to the elders and share my lie story and they can share their life story as well which is what i love to talk about when i see yall!!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on March 07, 2018:

Thanks for stopping in to read this article, Liesl5858. I appreciate your comment.

liesl5858 on March 06, 2018:

The best gift a family would give to their mother or father in a Nursing home is to give a little of their time by visiting them whenever they can. Time spent with their parents is very precious because their parents won't be there always and I am sure they will appreciate it very much.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on February 27, 2018:

Hello Graham Lee, I'm grateful for your visit here today. It always gives me a chance to look at photos of my mother and her sister and remember them fondly. Yes, they would love to have a visit from friends and family to brighten their day far beyond any material gift they might receive.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on February 27, 2018:

Hi Jackie, So sweet to hear about your mom and her baby doll. It's amazing how many of the seniors have stuffed animals that they cherish and hug and talk to. My mom had a soft pink pillow made to look like a ladybug. I'll always remember her naming it and putting it on her regular pillow each day. I'm still struggling with letting go of some of Mom's and Louise's things as they bring back cherished memories.

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on February 26, 2018:

Hi Peg. This a lovely hub from you with many ideas. They are all lovely in their own way. May I refer to the question below your first photograph. What seniors would love most of all I think is 'visits'. No pretence then just a lovely time talking and feeling part of the family or community once again.

Thank you for a tip top hub. Best wishes to all.


Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 26, 2018:

I cannot think of a better thing to do than this! I know when my mom was in her last nursing home i went to see her one day and she had a little hard baby doll she was hugging and it did not look good at all so I bought her a big soft one she could even use for a pillow it was so big and soft and she loved it.

I donated all her things when she passed. I think we should always do that. Many do not have what they need.

Great loving article, Peg. I enjoyed it.

Mom would have loved a cat!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on February 13, 2018:

Thank you, Leland. I hope you'll share your talents with the seniors in your community. Nice of you to come by.

Leland Johnson from Midland MI on February 13, 2018:

Thank you for the excellent article. My wife and I perform music and you've given us some really good ideas.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on February 06, 2018:

Dear Khatzenbeler, Sherry, Mona and Linda. Thank you for taking time to read this article. I hope it gave you some ideas for what your friend or relative might enjoy.

Khatz, you're very welcome.

Sherry, I like the flameless candles, too. They use them at the home during hand massages and scent sessions.

Mona, You should have no problem giving your relative a manicure and I'm certain she would enjoy it very much. Just the opportunity to hold hands with her will bring a smile to her face.

Linda, gifts are probably not as important as having you there for a visit while you hold her hand, sing her a song, play her a tune on your iPod, or comb her hair. She will know even if you don't see a visible response.

Linda Haines on February 06, 2018:

Have you got an idea of what totake something to my auntie who’s got bone cancer and dementia? Any ideas would be grateful. She can’t do the puzzle books or operate cds. Life is going from her and I’d like to cheer her up with a gift! on January 16, 2018:

Make sure to check state law. I cannot buy my grandmother a birthday manicure because NC forbids them from being on nursing home property unless the facility has an in-house salon, which my grandmother's home does not. I will have to do it myself, if allowed, & I bring all my own equipment for her 94th birthday.

Sherry naylor on December 06, 2017:

I think candles that are flameless are nice for a senior at night provide comfort on November 29, 2017:

Thank you for writing on this important topic.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on November 29, 2017:

Jeanette, It sounds like you're very creative and thoughtful. I'm sure the residents really appreciate the gift of armrest covers for their tender arms. Thanks for what you do.

Jeanette on November 29, 2017:

I have made padded wheelchair armrest covers for nursing home residents. I make them with holiday theme material, over quilt batting (for padding). About 9" wide by 14 inches long with Velcro along each 14 inch side. They just wrap around the wheelchair arm and close around the wheelchair arm with Velcro.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on November 14, 2017:

Thank you for the additional suggestion for senior gifts, Yuliss. My mother had a headset that she enjoyed using to listen to her favorite music.

Lottie on November 13, 2017:

Another lovely gift is a slow growing plant like an Amaryllis. My Gran loves watching it grow bigger and bigger.

Yuliss on November 13, 2017:

I really enjoyed this hub! I was curious because I recently heard that music through a headset was really beneficial for patients with dementia - not that all people in nursing homes have dementia, but I do feel that it would benefit all people living in a home to have access to their own music. I also especially like the idea of dog visits!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on October 13, 2017:

Thank you Anwer. Nice of you to drop by.

anwer hossain on October 12, 2017:

thank you for sharing this post. it is really a helpful post. very well thinking

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 26, 2017:

Thank you Ms Dora for dropping in. I remember much of the sage advice you shared concerning your experiences with your own mother and I appreciate your kind words. How precious they are indeed.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 26, 2017:

Very well thought-out article, and very helpful ideas for those who want to bring some cheer to the nursing home resident. These precious dear ones deserve our time and attention. Well Done, Peg.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 25, 2017:

Thank you for dropping in to read and for your nice comment, Saga Biz.

Saga Biz Solutions on August 24, 2017:

very great nature and nice attitude

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 18, 2017:

Agreed, Stacie L. At this point in their lives, our family member in a nursing home cares more about love than money, gifts or possessions.

Stacie L on August 18, 2017:

I would agree that gifts mean very little without a visit. They want family and friends to come and give them attention.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 18, 2017:

Hello Louise, So glad you got to share quality time with your Gran. The folks are truly grateful for the smallest of things like a spin around the parking lot or a game of cards. My Mom loves to play Dominoes and still enjoys winning. She's 92.

Thanks so much for coming by.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on August 18, 2017:

There's some really good ideas here Peg. My Gran was in a Nursing home for the last 2 years of her life. They did some really good things in there for the residents, many of which you mention. They had singers come in to entertain them once a month, and also had games for them. Christmas time was always a fun time when they had the Christmas party.

I used to go and visit her once a fortnight and used to take her out in the wheelchair (when the weather was nice!) She used to love going out and getting the fresh air.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 11, 2017:

Dear Tom,

My sympathy goes out to you on your mother's behalf. And your plan to help her keep in touch through correspondence is a kind and thoughtful gesture. I can certainly relate to your new set of priorities as I visit my own mother in long-term care quite often. She's been in the home for over three years and during that time I've seen both the wonderful and not so wonderful elements of skilled nursing homes. It does feel good to find those caregivers who are loving, thoughtful and treat your family as if they were their own. I wish you all the best and the same to your dear mother in her recovery. Peg

Tom Vogler from The Shenandoah Valley on August 10, 2017:

I especially like the idea of "Write a letter on their behalf, stamp, address and mail the letter." That is a great observation. My mother had a bad fall 5 months ago and is now in the long term care section of a nursing home. She is still struggling to regain the use of her hands and fingers. She receives a fair amount of mail, but even though she is still mentally fine, she is not able to reply to anyone, even to thank them for their kind thoughts.

I live 300 miles from her, but usually see her every 2-3 weeks. I am going to see her tomorrow and the next day and will bring stationery and stamps and be her recording secretary. :-) Instead of buying groceries and vacuuming the carpets at home, this can be my new mission of love for her.

Over the past few months, I have developed a true appreciation for the many wonderful people involved in health care.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 20, 2015:

Thank you, Peggy W. Visiting the residents in the nursing home facility is truly the most appreciated of all gifts. They both enjoy the musicians who visit and the dogs who come with volunteers.

Also, like you did for your MIL, acting as an advocate on their behalf is essential as things sometimes fall through the cracks. We have a regularly scheduled family conference monthly to bring up issues and discuss the patient's satisfaction for my mother and her older sister who recently turned ninety-five.

Thank you for sharing this article and for your kind remarks.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 20, 2015:

This is an excellent article! I volunteered in a nursing home back when I was a teenager. When my mother-in-law was in a nursing home the last 6 months of her life after a series of strokes which left her totally incapacitated, we spent hours there each and every day insuring that she got the best of care. Time spent with people in nursing homes is undoubtedly the BEST gift of all. Your suggestions of other things are wonderful.

A friend of ours takes her dog to hospitals and other places each week. It truly lights up the residents faces!

Will be sharing this article with others so that those with a friend or relative in a nursing home will know what is appreciated and what they can do to brighten that person's day.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 20, 2015:

Hi Old Albion, I appreciate your kind words and visit. Thank you so much. Nice to see you here.

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on July 19, 2015:

Hi Peg. A first class hub, heartfelt and informative. We all need help of some kind sometime. Tip top. Voted up and all and following.


Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 15, 2015:

Hello Random Creative, Thank you for the nice comment which has disappeared due to a glitch in the system. Hopefully it will reappear when this is resolved. I reported it on the forum yesterday.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 14, 2015:

Hi Peachy, That's a great idea. The positive effects of touching are often welcomed by these folks who are sometimes isolated from family. My aunt loves it when I rub her shoulders. Rolling around in the wheelchair makes her arms tired and her neck ache.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 14, 2015:

i think giving a massage for old folks would be nice

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 11, 2015:

What a kind soul you have, Jo Goldsmith11, and more because you let that sweet lady win. Just yesterday Mom was telling me how she never wins in Bingo (but she does). They get a coupon anytime they get a Bingo and can trade in their collected coupons for gifts at the facility "Store" on specific days. It is so wonderful of you to share your inspiration here and so good to see you today. Thanks for stopping in.

Jo_Goldsmith11 on January 11, 2015:

It was such a delight to read this! It stirs in me the desire to go visit the Nursing homes again like I use to, in a volunteer capacity. I enjoyed playing checkers with the ladies. And one sweet lady, I let her win.

Because she would get so upset if she lost. I use to be the "activities coordinator". Really enjoyed doing so. A great article with sweet memories. Up, shared. Blessings to you always!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 05, 2015:

Deb, You are a true friend of animals, birds and people. What a great endeavor to bring the helping dogs to visit the elderly. They really enjoy the interaction with the dogs and look forward to petting and loving on them. Thanks for all you do to help others.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on January 05, 2015:

This is a good article to have on the internet. When I was living in Delaware, I volunteered with a fiend at Canine Partners for Life. My job was to socialize dogs that were being trained as helping dogs. I used to go to a nursing home for this part of the dog's training.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on January 01, 2015:

Nice to see you again, Vellur. Thank you for the supportive comment.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 01, 2015:

Great gift ideas for nursing home residents, as you say anytime is great to give a gift and they definitely need cheering up.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 31, 2014:

That's exactly who I had in mind in my earlier comment. The examples of people from other cultures need to be shared in our curriculum of education to give children a basis for understanding this responsibility. Thanks for stopping back by to share this information.

RTalloni on December 31, 2014:

You are so right about some of the other cultures, Asians as an example, and how so many still revere their elderly. It is an amazing contrast to our current culture (in general). No matter a person's age, they are very likely looking at a future of aging and it to be observant about the needs of the elderly in order to think through the issues at a younger age is one of the smartest things we can do.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 31, 2014:

Hello RTalloni, You are right that setting an example for the next generation is key to the future. I find that the values from the other side of the world serve as an example in that they seem to take responsibility for caring for their elders and parents. We need to teach our children well.

RTalloni on December 31, 2014:

Such good info to keep in mind well past the giving season and throughout the year, both in the hub and the comments. Family and friends' presence in nursing homes is crucial, as you mention, and as our population ages we do well to set an example for younger generations to take care of those who are older!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 22, 2014:

Hi DJ, That truly is a brainstorm idea. It is really a great crafts project for a Girl Scouts Team or Volunteer Church group to do together. Nice of you to mention it here. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. I would be careful with the cards with a lot of glitter since these folks might rub some of it into their eyes or lips.

DJ Anderson on December 22, 2014:

Peg, my group of therapy dogs went for a visit to a home this past Saturday. I was troubled that I could not think of a gift for our friends

in the Alzheimer's wing. The degree of cognitive abilities vary greatly

and what might be appropriate for one, might not be appropriate for the next friend.

I rarely get a bright idea where a light goes on over my head. Yesterday,

one of those lights went on and I shared it with my team leaders and they confirmed that it was no an illusion, but indeed, a great idea.

It is too late to do it this year, but the ball is in motion. Everyone in our

group, their friends and churches will save the beautiful Christmas cards

and cut off the second page. We will hand out beautiful Christmas scenes next year to our special friends. No envelope to open, no worry about people who have allergies to nuts or other ingredients in cookies.

And, no costs involved. Hope this idea spreads to those who have friends and relatives in Alzheimer's wings.

Thank you,


Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 22, 2014:

Ms.Sharan, thank you so much for your added thoughts on this article. You are quite right about our elders not needing anything but time from us. I appreciate your compassionate comment and votes. Thank you, again.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 22, 2014:

Hello Teaches12345, It's the simple things like spending time with our elders that makes the big difference in their days. Your dad was sure to love every moment that you spent keeping him company. They seem to appreciate even the small things like a box of tissues or lotion.

Thank you for your input and for stopping in. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on December 22, 2014:

This is such a thoughtful hub about what gifts we should give to our elders.

Their requirements are only a little bit of love, concern and care. They do not anything but a little bit of time from their loved ones.

Very nice suggestions and truly a compassionate hub! Voted up!

Dianna Mendez on December 21, 2014:

I love your article and suggestions for gift giving to nursing home residents. The simple gifts, such as towelettes, are so appreciated by these wonderful people. My father, when he was in the nursing home, was most thankful for visits from family and friends. It made him happy and helped put a bright note in his day.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 19, 2014:

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas holiday and a Happy New Year, Suzzycue.

Susan Britton from Ontario, Canada on December 19, 2014:

Thanks a lot PegCole17

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 19, 2014:

Hi Dolla, Thank you for your kind treatment and service to our seniors while you were a CNA. I've met some of the most loving and thoughtful caregivers at the facility and have such admiration for them. You are so right about those people who don't receive visitors. You have to wonder...

SomebodyMomma on December 18, 2014:

This is a awesome hub, I was a cna a few years ago, and i was so surprised at the amount of people who never got visitors. I wondered are their families really that busy? Time is the most valuable gift that you can give your loved one.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 17, 2014:

Hi Nell, It is a gut wrenching experience to have to make that decision, I can tell you from personal experience. For almost too long, I was in denial and let my feelings guide me rather than accept what was safest and best for both of my relatives. At nearly ninety and ninety-four, they were not able to remain independent, administering daily medication, cooking and attending to activities of daily life without twenty four hour assistance.

Your efforts at bringing some normalcy to the lives of your Mum and Dad I'm sure were the highlight of their days. Just having you in their company was wonderful.

Thanks so much for sharing your kind thoughts and for stopping by to read and comment.

Nell Rose from England on December 16, 2014:

The gift of time is definitely the best gift, my mum and dad had to go into a care home and I was gutted to have to put them there, but I used to put them in wheelchairs and take them down to the park and river whenever I could, they both loved it, these ideas are wonderful!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 16, 2014:

Hello Dragonflycolor, So nice to meet you here and thanks to your Mom for her many years of service to these special folks. I see CNAs everyday who work and give above and beyond the call of duty and my thanks goes out to them for their service. Yes, some folks are left without visitors and that is shameful for the families of the neglected. We have a responsibility to our mothers and fathers and are commanded to honor them. Thanks for your valuable input here and for taking time to comment.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 16, 2014:

Hello Ms. Dora, You're a true beacon of caring and an example to others with your nurturing nature. We all have a portion of regrets, including myself when I was working full time and didn't spend enough time with my Dad when I could still do so. Thank you so much for sharing a portion of your learning experiences so that we can all benefit. I appreciate your visit, your kind remarks and votes.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 16, 2014:

Genna, hello! Sorry to be so long in responding to your wonderful comment. Holiday baking has taken over here with three batches of cookies and banana bread baked in the past couple of days.

Your Mum sounds like a lovely person who really loved Christmas. I'm so sorry for your loss and I know it's especially difficult this time of the year.

My Mom was at this skilled nursing and rehab facility a couple of times after hip replacement surgery and a couple of back surgeries. The staff was so kind and caring to her then and she is enjoying the level of attention they give her now that she's a resident.

Thank you so kindly for sharing your experiences with your Mum and for adding special thoughts to this article in the comments. Hoping your Christmas and holidays are delightful.

dragonflycolor on December 15, 2014:

My mother has been a CNA for over 30 years and she has witnessed such depressing times for some of them. Family members literally dump their relatives and an unwanted animal. It's sad and inhumane in my opinion. I am so grateful for this hub and you have really given some great ideas on how to bring happiness back to those people's lives. Yet, in your face interaction is the best way to put a smile on their faces!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 15, 2014:

Hello Marcoujor, You certainly know the power of our canine friends to heal and restore our laughter. They have such an uncanny way of earning affection that is irresistible.

I'm sorry to hear of your friend in her early 60s with dementia. Yikes, that is so young. It's heartbreaking to see some of the younger folks at the home who've faced tragedy on various levels. There's one young man who was in an auto accident and is completely paralyzed. He has to remain prone and drives his bed around using his breath into a steering device, yet he remains friendly and upbeat. It reminds me to appreciate all that I have.

Your Mom's philosophy about flowers is a good one. She was so smart and passed it along to her youngest daughter. Thanks so much for the heartwarming comment and votes, the ongoing support of Mom and Louise and your continued friendship. Love you back.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 14, 2014:

"Presence over presents." I have my own story (and regret) about sending stuff instead of visiting my mother. Visits are really the best and your other suggestions are also helpful. Thanks for helping us to focus. Voted Up!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 14, 2014:

AliciaC, Thank you for your generous remark and for the warmth it gave me reading it. I appreciate your thoughts and kind words.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on December 14, 2014:

Hi Peg. What a wonderful hub. And you are so right about the number 1 present our elderly citizens hope for: Spending time with family. Your article brings back memories of my Mum. Although she lived with me for a time before she passed on, there was a period when she stayed at a nursing home for some physical therapy following hip surgery. It broke my heart to see certain seniors longing for a visit from family members who never came. Mum was very fond of those fluffy socks that you mentioned, and her manicures (your list is excellent, Peg!). She loved Christmas decorations and the spirit of this holiday more than gifts. Growing up, our home always reflected her love of Christmas. She made it so special. And I always made sure our tree was decorated beautifully, and warmly, with Christmas music was playing in the background, and more. These were the gifts we gave to each other…we gave part of ourselves. I only hope that more people understand some of the loneliness their family seniors experience in nursing homes, especially during the holidays. Voted way up and shared.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on December 14, 2014:

Dear Peg,

The comment stream is an added bonus to this heartfelt, yet practical, piece.

How awesome to be reminded of the power our 4-legged friends have to brighten someone's day, even to bring a withdrawn person out of their shell. Ginger is beautiful and I'm so happy the ladies get to visit with her... well as the birds! What a sweet idea and one I had not even thought of...bird seed is a wonderful gift that I give to many friends, why not our nursing home loved ones as well.

I actually think your list is excellent for seniors who live independently or assisted living as well. I recently visited a dear nurse friend (early 60s) who has dementia and is now in assisted living. She believes she is at her aunt's resort and it was a heart breaking visit (selfishly) for me - yet she laughed and smiled a lot while we were together (realistically she forgot I visited her moments after I left).

When I visit seniors or send a little gift to my special seniors who live out of state, I feel as though it is Mom 'driving the bus'. She wisely bought herself a mausoleum plot that is too high for flowers/ wreaths and wrote in her journal that 'flowers are for the living'. In my mind, I am giving a double gift to the recipient and Mom, so I am doubly blessed.

One of your best, Peg Voted UP and UABI and sharing. Love, Maria

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 14, 2014:

Sallybea, Thank you for your service to our elders and for all you do to make their time more pleasurable. Caring for our seniors is among the noblest of professions. I admire you.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 14, 2014:

Dearest Ruby, I'd forgotten about your sister's tragic accident and her need for assistance afterward. I'm sure your visits were the highlight of her days as I'm told that often by my Mother and her sister. They make me feel so special whenever I'm there.

It is incredible how much the folks love to see any pets who come to visit. It draws out even the people who are generally reticent. What a nice thing that your work place allowed pets.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 14, 2014:

Suzzycue, it's nice of you to interact with the other residents, too. There are so many who never have visitors. It makes such a difference in their lives when you speak to and visit with them. You're giving a loving slice of kindness to strangers - thanks for what you do everyday.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 13, 2014:

This is a lovely hub that contains important information. Your ideas for gifts are great for any time of year but are especially suitable for Christmas. Thanks for sharing a hub that is so full of kindness.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 13, 2014:

Thank you, Ologsinquito. Nice to see you today. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year's holiday.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 13, 2014:

Sunshine, thanks for stopping in from the land of sunshine. How I miss my home state of FL. There are so many nursing homes in that area and retirees and shut-ins who are home bound. I'm glad I was able to give some insight into what these folks would enjoy as gifts.