OPINION

Benedictine Crookston: Holiday gift ideas for families

Submitted by Benedictine Living Community - Crookston
Submitted

When asked about what they want for a Christmas gift, most aging adults will respond with, “don’t get me anything. I don’t need more things.”

So what do you give someone who has moved into a senior living community? First recommendation is to ask them or their caregivers about what they truly need, but if you don’t have time, we have some suggestions for you.

Gift of Time

The most important gift that most seniors will ask for is some of your time. In-person and virtual visits are treasured. Not sure what to say or do when in person? We have some suggestions for you.

• Bring along some family photos to reminisce about past family holidays.

• Bring a simple game that they used to enjoy playing.

• If there is a younger child coming to the visit, have them bring something to show and tell.

• Listen to their favorite music together and if it creates an impromptu sing along – go with it. Soft music is an ideal activity to share even when your loved one isn’t well or reached an advanced stage of illness.

• Share a good book or the newspaper. Reading out loud is a good activity for someone who is bedridden. Not confident in your reading abilities? Then audio books are a great choice. Many public libraries offer free access to audio books.

• Do a craft together to decorate the resident’s room for an upcoming holiday. Keep in mind that live Christmas trees of any size are not allowed in resident’s rooms because they become a fire hazard. Keep things small. Choose items that do not need to be powered with electricity as extension cords are considered another hazard.

• Pamper your loved one with a manicure, hair style session, shave or grooming. It’s a great way to pass the time and leave your loved one appreciated and looking their best.

For a virtual visit, schedule it so they can be included in a family event and feel like part of the family. This is great for families who eat Thanksgiving later in the day as most senior communities stick to their dining schedule.

Still looking to give something?

Slippers or Socks: Consider warming up cold feet with some fleece or fuzzy slippers with rubber grippers on the bottom. Socks with grippers are another choice to keep feet warm while helping to reduce the potential for falls and injuries.

Greeting Cards: Many seniors still enjoy writing and receiving letters, so gifts of stationary, an assorted box of greeting cards, pens and stamps are a great gift. And when you receive one of these lovely cards, it is a great gift to mail a letter back!

Bath or Grooming Basket: Does your loved one have a favorite scent? Why not assemble a small basket filled with their favorite scented shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion. Dry skin is often a problem for older adults, so check out what might work best for their skin type.

Walker Caddy: Residents who use a walker to get around may appreciate a walker basket so they can easily carry items with them. You can purchase these at major retail outlets or even sew your own fabric caddy. There are lots of ideas online.

Movies: Does your loved one have a favorite movie? Send a DVD of their favorite movie that they can watch in their room or can be shared by the Community.

Books or Magazines: Large print books and magazines are favorites for those who can still enjoy reading as are pen-and-paper Sudoku, crossword puzzles, or word searches.

Games or Activities: Games with large print and large pieces are great to pass the time. Large piece jigsaw puzzles are also a great hit with seniors.

Still not sure? A recent poll of senior shows that what they want most is to stay connected with friends and families. Next on the list are gifts that are practical and functional, and sometimes sentimental. Take these measures into consideration and your gift will be appreciated.

Benedictine Living Community Crookston