What's a good present for a relative in a nursing home


I have a female relative who’s now living in a nursing home and I’m not sure what to get her for Christmas. I’ve heard that theft by staff members is a big problem in nursing homes so I don’t want to get her anything that might have a tendency to disappear. :eek: I’m trying to think of something person that wouldn’t be tempting to someone to be swiped. Any suggestions. Food is out of the question because she is being fed through a tube and can eat anything at this time otherwise she alert and perfectly fine mentally. I’ve already given her a card I’d to give her something a little more substancial. :shrug: :confused:


What about a scapular to wear? Or an inexpensive rosary for her to hold on to? Or a picture of Jesus and/or Mary? I guess something like a cd player where she could listen to the rosary would be out of the question? Bath items? It’s hard to buy for them, but out of everything you could give her, your time visiting her will be more valuable than anything else. God Bless.


Visit her regularly.


A prayer shawl. Check to see if your parish has a prayer shawl ministry and if they have shawls available.


Slippers are always nice. A book to read, maybe a prayer or devotional book. My father spent time in a nursing home and loved to read the Diary of Sister Faustina- I don’t think she was canonized at that time. I don’t think anyone would swipe such a book, or if someone should have an inclination to, perhaps a bookmark with the Ten Commandments on it would discourage the would be thief.


Lotion (dry skin time)
stamps and notecards (they want to write to you, but thats hard for them to get in some places without paying up the you know what)
A video or DVD or photo album of your family (depending if she has access to electronic stuff in her room in privacy)
gift certificate for hair services (usually on site, but check to see if someone can go to her to do it- sometimes the onsite ones stink and are too pricey)
**phone cards **(they will call you more often and some places add high fees for simply giving them phone service! It should be illegal! like a hotel does!)
Depending on what the doctor allows per health conditions- chocolate. :slight_smile:
A magazine or newletter like Senior connection (very good catholic one)
Humor- good clean humor. Get some good humorous books for her in large print.
children’s drawings:) Or yours.:wink:
Visit her. Love her.


Nice flavored lip balm, lotions

A plant

Books, books on tape,

Visits are the best! Could you take her out for a concert or a play, or a visit to her Church.


TV ears if she’s hard of hearing. An Ez Slide if she wears compression socks. A book easel. Slippers and slipper socks. A multi-photo frame with pictures of the family in it. A magnifying sheet for reading and looking at pictures. A recording of her favorite music.


When my mother was in a nursing home recuperating from surgery I got her a cell phone. She loved it. She was able to call anyone (even long distance) and always received her calls, even if she was out of the room. She was so excited by it she showed it off to all the nurses. That made it theft-proof because everyone knew she had it. However, my mom was not particularly elderly and we visited regularly since she was in the same town.

Other suggestions:
lotions (may need to be careful about scents or other special ingrediants)
jewlery (nothing expensive, just nice costume jewlery)
magnifying glass
pens and stationary (especailly those great, easy grip pens) pre-addressed maybe and stamped
poster or framed print
large print books or mags
nice, warm slippers or bootie socks
sweater or house coat (sew in labels with her name and room number or use permenant marker to write on the hem)
supplies for a hobby (crochet, etc–something easy to do and quick to put away)


A nice, soft, comfy blanket. I remember the blankets in my grandfather’s nursing home were very institutional. You can get soft fleece ones with prints on them so that it’s distinctive as hers, and also to make her smile when she sees the pretty print.


Having 30+ years working a skilled nursing, here are a few suggestions:

  1. If you live nearby…visit regularly and bring the kids. Give them the gist of your time.
  2. Take your love one out, if possible…home for a visit, lunch at local cafe, Mass
  3. If you are thinking about buying clothes…look at Buck and Buck.com. They are a company that specializes in clothing for skilled nursing residents. There are lots of companies out there but IMO Buck and Buck is the best and very helpful.
  4. Fresh fruit…if your loved one in a diet that allows it. All residents are on diets ordered by their physician. Fresh fruit is a scarce commodity in many facilities. Check with the nurses.
  5. Flowers or a green plant.
    6.TV ears - especially if your loved one has diminished hearing - the staff and roommates will love you!
  6. One of the picture systems - frame on the wall displaying pictures down loaded from your computer. It works through the phone jack. Terrible description!
  7. If you loved one is able to use one…a pay as you go cell phone and regularly recharge the minutes.

About theft and loss…make sure that anything you bring to your loved one is recorded and documented on their personal possessions list in their chart. That way if the item disappears you can demand that the facility replace or reimburse you. But if it is not on the list they don’t have reimburse/replace. Any jewelry will be listed like this :white metal ring with clear stone" instead of “white gold ring with diamond.” so the liability is less.


You might consider greeting cards – an assortment of birthday cards, get well cards, etc. Plus some stamps. She probably can’t get out to buy these things and they’ll allow her to stay in contact with others.


A collage of family photos for the wall, or a photo album/ brag book.

Puzzle magazines, like crosswords and word searches, along with pencils and a pencil sharpener.

A pretty journal and address book.

A good magnifying glass, and some things to read. My grandmother loved Reader’s Digest. A subscription to something she likes would give itself again and again.

Latch-hook, & needle-point kits, crochet and/or knitting supplies.

Decorative pillows w/ clever sayings or needlepoint art on them.


arrange for pedicures by podiatrist if not paid for by medicare
or for regular hair care, either by arrangement with those who do it on site, or with someone who comes in. mom appreciated both of these so much (she was in hospice at home, but principle is the same).


This is good. My grandmother was in assisted living after her stroke, and she made a point to have her hair done regularly on site. She was always a bit fussy about her appearance so this gave her a bit of normalcy after she had to move out of her house. :slight_smile:

Otherwise, do you know what she might like to read? Books or audiobooks would be a great gift. Little pampering things like a soft throw blanket, scented lotions, or fuzzy slippers would be nice. If she’s not in hospital gowns, maybe some soft pajamas or lounging-type outfits would be welcome. If she’s able to move around and has some friends, maybe a game set that all of them could use. My grandma liked poker and bunco.


Pictures. A book, or frame full of lots of family pictures is usually the favorite possession of those in NHs. I have worked in several of them, and the one thing everyone always wants to show you first is their family pictures.


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