For the home care situation, it is recommended that the person wishing to purchase a gift to first ask the family member for recommendations. Decorations, candy, food items can be harmful and should never be given without the family members approval. There are items that they may really need and although some gifts may not be regarded as glamorous may be a necessity for the person with dementia.
Now is the time to educate family members about holiday gifts since Valentines Day is upon us. Take the time to mail letters or emails to the family. Provide lists of recommendations for gifts. For hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living, nothing should ever be brought on to the unit without the unit manager’s approval and this includes everything! For example, small decorations, candy and nuts may pose a choking hazard. Some plants are toxic. Contrary to popular belief, Poinsettia plants are NOT poisonous. Another thing to remember, is the person receiving the gift subject to potential harmful issues related to the gift? Are there residents who may wander into a residents’ room and will those items pose a threat? All food items family members bring on to the unit must be in a tin can and labeled with the name of the food item and the date. Always abide by the facility rules for storing of food. Family members and visitors should take all food items to the nurse’s station for approval before bringing to a resident or leaving in a resident room. Why not try decorating a room with family photos, a religious book, or photos that remind the person of the past? Decorating a room also gives staff members glimpses as to the senior's former life, how they lived, what they looked like, whom they loved. Why not organize your favorite non-profit or networking group to provide gifts for seniors? Clear it with the unit manager at the facility you wish to donate to, or call the Activities Director of the institution. He/she will surely be happy to accept bingo prizes, puzzles, and take it from a former Activities Director with a very small budget, every gift made our clients very happy as they were being passed. There is no end to the amount of creativity and ideas that both you and the Activity Director can come up with for gifts. Happy Valentines Day!
Want more ideas? Just contact us and we will be happy to share more great ideas!
Stay safe! Keep your loved ones safe!
Posted on Feb 1st, 2016 by Olga Brunner, former Assistant Administrator and Activities Director at a nursing home.
I Have worn many hats in my day: Nursing Home Assistant Admin and Activities Director, Assisted Living Admin, Case Management for the State-wide Medicaid Program, and Trainer for Dept of Elder Affairs.