Magazine article Work & Family Life

Visiting a Nursing Home? Bring along a Gift.But Make It Small

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Visiting a Nursing Home? Bring along a Gift.But Make It Small

Article excerpt

fhether you visit a nursing home resident regularly or stop by once in a while, the question arises of whether to bring a gift. And, if so, what should that gift be?

The answer to the first question is yes. Under normal circumstances, its good to arrive with something in your hands. It will please the person you're visiting and it will be left behind as tangible proof that you were there.

But don't think of this as a costly obligation. The best gifts are small ones that won't add to the clutter in a crowded room.

Here are some suggestions from Anne Sharp in her book The Nursing Home Connection.

* THINK IN TERMS OF SINGLES. A pack of gum, a roll of mints. A magazine or a book. Reading material is a great gift that can be passed on for others to enjoy. Just avoid heavy volumes or thick hard-to-handle magazines if your loved one is frail. And if he or she is visually impaired, find something with large easy-to-read print.

* KEEP IT SMALL-something that fits into a pocket or a wallet like a school photo of your child or card with your name, phone numbers and e-mail address written clearly in your own handwriting. A single small photo of an event that just took place in your life can provide fuel for sharing and conversation. Photos are also a reminder to your loved one of the outside world. They're visible proof of one's connections and "belonging." A small photo album can provide a link between the past and present. Just make sure that it will fit in a bathrobe pocket.

* PRACTICAL ITEMS USED EVERY DAY. Nursing home residents can always use a new pen or pencil and some postage stamps. Other handy items include a small, inexpensive mirror to hang on the wall by the bed, a miniature hand mirror, and a new toothbrush every few months. …

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