Gifts at the nursing home

My uncle is in a publicly funded memory unit at a nursing home. And that’s a good thing. He’s cray. He is well attended, and safe, and relatively happy, and even likes the food from the “mess hall,” because he’s pretty sure he’s back in the army.

I’m so grateful.

But, as in many public health facilities for the aged and infirm, my uncle has a lot of housemates who don’t have visitors nor outside resources. Mostly, that means they have $30/month to spend. No room for luxuries.

I have budgeted a little bit for holiday gifts at the nursing home, and I wish it were more. I’ve spent four business days trying to contact the staff social worker for guidance, but the phone just rings and rings. So probably I need to figure out a universally useful gift for about 25 adults, mostly elderly.

Food is right out. Lap robes? Slippers? Wooly hats? If I don’t win/inherit, I can probably spend $10 per person. Any ideas?

I’ve heard that socks are greatly appreciated. My husband’s Harley group went to a local vet’s home and took toiletries, underwear, and hats. For some years, I’ve been knitting and crocheting items that an AARP chapter distributes to nursing homes and vet’s homes - shawls, afghans, and lap robes mostly. I often wonder how many of the items go home with staff - I hope I worry about that unnecessarily…

I think my budget will allow me to gift a warm hat plus socks, or a small blanket. Maybe all three items.

My mom and aunt are sponsoring a small holiday party for the home. I just want to make sure that everyone has a welcome gift to unwrap.

Another HOG member seconding the above. We try to vary colors and all, maybe make a few different combinations, so no two people are getting the exact same thing. And you may have to check with the home and see what they allow but we try to vary the packaging/wrapping as well as best we can. And be sure to include a card and maybe write something generic inside; you can always sign it “Santa”. You would be surprised how few patients get much in the way of cards and when they do its just the card and maybe signed “Deb and the kids” - no little note at all. Coming up with 25 things to say isn’t easy but ----- its worth it in the end.

(One wanted everything unwrapped so they could add names/room numbers before the patient got them. Another wanted clear wrapping so they could see what was being given. Basically every place had some rules of its own. Always best to check in advance.)