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Ideas needed for elderly Aunt in nursing home


sheryl
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My nephew is getting married soon and we'll be making our drive to Ohio where I'm from.  On the way we're going to stop off and visit my Aunt by marriage (my Uncle's wife).  He's deceased and at 90+ she's been in the nursing home for a while.  I asked for and she sent me (arrived today) the name of the person with whom I should speak to set up a visit.  It would have to be outside due to the pandemic and I'm hoping the weather will be good so we can visit.  I'd like to see her again, we've always gotten along fine but she and my sister and our aunt (this would be her husband's sister) did not get along.   As nice as it will be for me to see her again I'm doing this more for her to have "company" (visitors)!   Their only child, a son (my cousin) moved to FL years ago.  I keep in touch with Aunt J and she told me (if she's telling the truth) that my cousin does not visit her but once every couple of years or so.    She has a sister about 1 1/2 away but I don't know if their relationship is good and if so how often the sister visits if she's able to.

I mention all of that because my heart breaks for her.  She has caused some riff raff in the family and she was not held in high regard but as years pass and she ages I believe she's mellowed quite a bit.

So, with all of that and b/c of the above, I'd like to get her a gift.  I do not know what she likes.  PLEASE, what ideas do you have.  She has pretty severe arthritis but her penmanship is still very good!  

IDEAS WOULD BE APPRECIATED! 
 

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hmm. Puzzles?

Notecards, so she can write notes to folks?

Some pretty pens that maybe are thicker (thinking maybe the fatter the pen, the less the fingers have to bend to hold it, so less arthritis pain, maybe...?)? 

Some kind of fun food treat to share while there? 

A nice hand lotion? 

It's a very sweet thing for you to do! 

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Stationery, nice pens, stamps.

A soft blanket.

Slippers or grippy socks.

A framed pic of family members.

Flowers. Really.

A large print puzzle book (crosswords, etc).

A sweet keepsake that says something about aunts. 
 

Oh! Lotion, lip balm - big hits in our nursing home crowd.

Edited by Spryte
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Do you have any pictures of family (either over her life, or recent) that you could scan and have a photo book made? When my fil was in a nursing home for a time last year, I had one made with pictures of all the family members (he and mil, their sons and dils, and grandchildren).  I edited them to put each person’s name, so he could show everyone who cared for him, since we could not visit. I had it printed at Walgreens, but there are lots of places to do it cheaply, especially if you don’t want a big, hard bound book.

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When you talk to the person in charge of scheduling the visit maybe ask for advice. If they have an onsite salon maybe a giftcard for a few items like a hair set or manicure. If they can have food items in their room and if no diet restrictions-flavored water, snacks. If she is in a wheelchair I remember special cushions that the pt recommended.

A friend of mine takes her 100 yo grandma home made jams, and pickles of all varieties. She is aware of any diet restrictions but her grandma really enjoys the homemade taste.

  

Edited by history-fan
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2 hours ago, TheReader said:

hmm. Puzzles?

Notecards, so she can write notes to folks?

Some pretty pens that maybe are thicker (thinking maybe the fatter the pen, the less the fingers have to bend to hold it, so less arthritis pain, maybe...?)? 

Some kind of fun food treat to share while there? 

A nice hand lotion? 

It's a very sweet thing for you to do! 

Aww, Reader, sweet ideas!  I LOVE the notecards or pretty stationery idea, pens and all of these.  I see this in my mind now - buying a gift bag and adding several items.  Like Christmas and her birthday all rolled up in to one.  I NEVER thought about sending her a Christmas gift.  I send her a birthday card every mid-Sept but I'm just now thinking of "buying" her something.  Thanks! Excellent choices!

2 hours ago, Spryte said:

Stationery, nice pens, stamps.

A soft blanket.

Slippers or grippy socks.

A framed pic of family members.

Flowers. Really.

A large print puzzle book (crosswords, etc).

A sweet keepsake that says something about aunts. 
 

Oh! Lotion, lip balm - big hits in our nursing home crowd.

You and Reader are on the same page.  I like these ideas.  Interesting I inherited 2 picture albums, my Mom's and Grandma's photos!  Aunt J is in there from waaaaay back and I have pics of her son/my cousin when he was a baby.  I need to jump on this to make this gift happen or the photo collection may have to be a Christmas gift.  Great.  Thanks!

 

1 hour ago, matrips said:

My mom’s best gifts were 

1) meals from somewhere other than her Alf! 
 

2) DVDs of her favorite tv series (from the 1970s).  They were watched and rewatched hundreds of times.

Good idea of TV show.  I'll have to ask!  Thanks!

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1 hour ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Chocolate.

It melts in your mouth even if you can’t chew well.

 

I'll find out if she likes chocolate!  Good.   Thanks!

1 hour ago, athena1277 said:

Do you have any pictures of family (either over her life, or recent) that you could scan and have a photo book made? When my fil was in a nursing home for a time last year, I had one made with pictures of all the family members (he and mil, their sons and dils, and grandchildren).  I edited them to put each person’s name, so he could show everyone who cared for him, since we could not visit. I had it printed at Walgreens, but there are lots of places to do it cheaply, especially if you don’t want a big, hard bound book.

Yes, you and Spryte are along the same lines of family pics.  Read my reply to her.   I will do this.  At least it's not for several weeks yet.  Very nice!  Thanks.

1 hour ago, history-fan said:

When you talk to the person in charge of scheduling the visit maybe ask for advice. If they have an onsite salon maybe a giftcard for a few items like a hair set or manicure. If they can have food items in their room and if no diet restrictions-flavored water, snacks. If she is in a wheelchair I remember special cushions that the pt recommended.

That is a sweet idea too - a hair do.  With her arthritis I'm not sure the manicure will work but maybe (?).  Good ideas!  Thanks.

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If she does send cards, possibly a set of nice cards from Papyrus or something like that? I'd also include some stamps. 

Is there some magazine subscription that she might enjoy? Sometimes getting regular mail is a treat too. If she has trouble with her vision, I know some magazines offer large print edition (like Reader's Digest).

I like the idea of a photo book of family photos. Assuming she would enjoy this too. 

I got some older relatives a Warmie each. Totally silly, but they enjoy them and they enjoy the weight sitting in their lap. https://warmies.com/

If she is the type to get cold/feel chilly, a nice fluffy throw might be nice? 

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You’ve gotten some great ideas here, but I wanted to add a way to gift them (other than altogether at once in a basket).

I had a friend who, as her parents aged, would get them 12 small, wrapped gifts per year. I think she maybe gave them to them on their birthdays and put months/dates on them.  So, if the birthday was April 8th, she would give them all to them on April 8th, and they would open one that day (that one might have been bigger/a bit “more”), and then on the 8th of each month, they would open another all throughout the year.  

I thought this was such a sweet gesture as it gave them something to look forward to each month.  Now, I don’t know if they ever cheated.  That is obviously a risk, but at 90, who cares if they do?!

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12 hours ago, happi duck said:

You could also pre-address and stamp some note cards to you so that you could be pen pals.

 

Yes, we already are as we write/call to keep in touch!  Some pretty paper/cards though will be a hit!  Thanks!

12 hours ago, vonfirmath said:

How about some nice scented foaming soap for the sink in her room?

She might like that!  I will find out.  Thanks!

3 hours ago, Bambam said:

If she does send cards, possibly a set of nice cards from Papyrus or something like that? I'd also include some stamps. 

Is there some magazine subscription that she might enjoy? Sometimes getting regular mail is a treat too. If she has trouble with her vision, I know some magazines offer large print edition (like Reader's Digest).

I like the idea of a photo book of family photos. Assuming she would enjoy this too. 

I got some older relatives a Warmie each. Totally silly, but they enjoy them and they enjoy the weight sitting in their lap. https://warmies.com/

If she is the type to get cold/feel chilly, a nice fluffy throw might be nice? 

Yes, many of you have suggested pretty paper and cards.  This is such a good idea because as happi duck suggested and to which I explained, we write back and forth.  Will definitely look! Thanks!

2 hours ago, Hoggirl said:

You’ve gotten some great ideas here, but I wanted to add a way to gift them (other than altogether at once in a basket).

I had a friend who, as her parents aged, would get them 12 small, wrapped gifts per year. I think she maybe gave them to them on their birthdays and put months/dates on them.  So, if the birthday was April 8th, she would give them all to them on April 8th, and they would open one that day (that one might have been bigger/a bit “more”), and then on the 8th of each month, they would open another all throughout the year.  

I thought this was such a sweet gesture as it gave them something to look forward to each month.  Now, I don’t know if they ever cheated.  That is obviously a risk, but at 90, who cares if they do?!

That is a creative idea!  I will not have time to pull that off before we go but that's fun and sweet.  This is something to remember for others as well.  Thanks!  

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If you do the photo album idea, it’s nice to have clear labels under each pic. I don’t know if your aunt has memory issues, but even if not - labels are nice.

We care for three elders, two in nursing homes.  All have different levels of dementia. An aunt made a photo album for one of them (her sister). She made it very, very big. Large pictures, large labels. The very first page is a picture of the family home, where MIL grew up. It says, “Home.” After that there are pics of her parents, siblings, then on down to families. Each labeled clearly in large print - relationships and names. MIL lives looking through this album. That’s a lot of work, but OP, you could do a smaller version, or even a framed pic with a label on the back with names and relationships.

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A book of whatever she likes to read (Chicken Soup series is always good) and some fresh fruit. There's not a lot of room for stuff stuff and they doubtless already have things like puzzles. My dad always yearns for fresh fruit, so that's what I take him. You can buy already cut up fruit salad in bowls and they can label with her name and date and then she can have one each day for several days.

Socks, a warm cardigan (if you know her size), or a warm blanket for her bed can be good too. I would think she already has those things. I made my grandma a blanket with primaloft (synthetic down) that she loved. It's crazy warm, perfect for people who run very cold.

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1 hour ago, Spryte said:

If you do the photo album idea, it’s nice to have clear labels under each pic. I don’t know if your aunt has memory issues, but even if not - labels are nice.

We care for three elders, two in nursing homes.  All have different levels of dementia. An aunt made a photo album for one of them (her sister). She made it very, very big. Large pictures, large labels. The very first page is a picture of the family home, where MIL grew up. It says, “Home.” After that there are pics of her parents, siblings, then on down to families. Each labeled clearly in large print - relationships and names. MIL lives looking through this album. That’s a lot of work, but OP, you could do a smaller version, or even a framed pic with a label on the back with names and relationships.

Spryte,  wonderful idea.  YES, I was contemplating a label.  The clear ones are nice; I haven't used them before but I think I know what you are suggesting.

Yes, I will do a smaller version.  Or, a "cube".  IDK, so many ideas.  Because she's in a nursing home she has limited space so your idea of a picture frame is good.  I'd like to display a few pictures I have but am figuring out how best to do that.  Thanks, Spryte!  

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

A book of whatever she likes to read (Chicken Soup series is always good) and some fresh fruit. There's not a lot of room for stuff stuff and they doubtless already have things like puzzles. My dad always yearns for fresh fruit, so that's what I take him. You can buy already cut up fruit salad in bowls and they can label with her name and date and then she can have one each day for several days.

Socks, a warm cardigan (if you know her size), or a warm blanket for her bed can be good too. I would think she already has those things. I made my grandma a blanket with primaloft (synthetic down) that she loved. It's crazy warm, perfect for people who run very cold.

Yes, one gift I will get her is socks with the grippers as Spryte suggested.   Thanks!  A book - wish I knew what she liked.

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14 minutes ago, sheryl said:

A book - wish I knew what she liked.

I send my dad Chicken Soup books and he shares them with others. They're so generic, I would think anyone would enjoy them. They come with themes like mothers, pets, etc. 

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Maybe, have a few gifts when you go to visit. But you can also use hte visit getting to know her/her space better and give you ideas for future gifts to send through the mail -- so she'll get to receive mail and enjoy a few more surprises over the course of the year.  At 90+,I'd send gifts as you have the idea and thought for it instead of waiting for a gift giving opportunity. Who knows how many more of those she has left. Don't squander the time.

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When my mother was getting older, she was no longer able to get out and shop for birthday cards, wedding cards, or sympathy cards. One year, I bought a selection for her to give to others. You night also consider printing some return address labels with her address.

Regards,

Kareni

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7 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I send my dad Chicken Soup books and he shares them with others. They're so generic, I would think anyone would enjoy them. They come with themes like mothers, pets, etc. 

Yes, I'm familiar with them.  It's a good idea. I do think reading material would be good!  Thanks!

6 hours ago, vonfirmath said:

Maybe, have a few gifts when you go to visit. But you can also use hte visit getting to know her/her space better and give you ideas for future gifts to send through the mail -- so she'll get to receive mail and enjoy a few more surprises over the course of the year.  At 90+,I'd send gifts as you have the idea and thought for it instead of waiting for a gift giving opportunity. Who knows how many more of those she has left. Don't squander the time.

Yes, I mentioned that upthread.  I will gather a few things here and there and take up.  I know she would be thrilled to get a gift in the mail and will consider doing that in the future.   Because of the pandemic we will not be able to visit her place, I don't think.   I am calling her contact person next week.  

5 hours ago, Kareni said:

When my mother was getting older, she was no longer able to get out and shop for birthday cards, wedding cards, or sympathy cards. One year, I bought a selection for her to give to others. You night also consider printing some return address labels with her address.

Regards,

Kareni

Yes, I will definitely be getting her some cards.  I really like your idea of return labels.  That's an excellent idea.  Have you done this?  Where do I start?  Finding a template and buying the paper for address labels, where?  Do I print them off?  

2 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

Large print books, stamps. 

Yep, that's a popular theme.  🙂 

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1 hour ago, sheryl said:

I really like your idea of return labels.  That's an excellent idea.  Have you done this?  Where do I start?  Finding a template and buying the paper for address labels, where?  Do I print them off?  

My husband buys address label paper like this. (They have different types for laser or inkjet printers.) My husband says your word processor will generally contain a template for this purpose.

Regards,

Kareni

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Posted (edited)
On 8/25/2021 at 10:20 PM, Kareni said:

My husband buys address label paper like this. (They have different types for laser or inkjet printers.) My husband says your word processor will generally contain a template for this purpose.

Regards,

Kareni

Kareni!!!  I appreciate this.  DH and I just returned home from a 4-day vacay and am just now replying.  Walmart is close by and I'll check to see if they have this.  Or, order it perhaps.  I have 28 days in which to complete this project and buy a few things.   I'll check to see if they sell boxed cards.  Checking Word now for a template.  Such a good idea!  

How do you "easily" determine correct size of each label on bought paper to size of label on template?   Hoping not to waste many sheets through hit/miss trying to find correct size.  

I JUST MADE THE LABELS!  IN 10 MINUTES I FOUND THE TEMPLATE AND CREATED HER LABELS!  THANKS! KUDOS TO YA!

Edited by sheryl
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