7 Items to Bring with You to a Nursing Facility
Moving into a nursing facility is a major life change. If you stop and think about the number of things a person gives up when she moves into a nursing facility, you might be astounded. Suddenly, she’s eating from an unfamiliar set of dishes, sitting on unfamiliar chairs, and sleeping in a room with an unfamiliar layout.
One of the best ways to create a sense of comfort and familiarity in a nursing facility is to personalize your loved one’s room. Although there’s a limited amount of space, small treasured items and everyday supplies can go a long way toward making the room cozy and comfortable.
Of course, when you visit your loved one in a nursing home, the most important thing you’re providing is your presence. But every now and again, if you want to bring something with you, the extra touch will help your loved one feel comfortable and at home even after you’ve left.
Photos and photo albums
Family photo albums that contain pictures of past and present make a great gift for someone living in a nursing facility. Include pictures of the resident’s early life, midlife, and late life as well as pictures of children, grandchildren and other family members. Be sure to leave a few blank pages at the back so you can add new pictures later. Photos to hang on the wall make great gifts, too.
Your loved one has many special memories, and you can help access them by bringing souvenirs and mementos during your visit to the nursing facility. Did your grandmother honeymoon in Paris? A postcard of the Eiffel Tower would be a wonderful item to bring when you visit her. Ask her to tell you about her honeymoon. You can also bring souvenirs from your own travels. Bring her a set of Minnie Mouse ears and talk to her about your visit to Disneyland.
Radio tuned to a favorite station
Music has a special power to inspire memories and fond feelings. It also has the power to soothe and calm. Bring a radio tuned to your uncle’s favorite station when you visit him in the nursing facility. Ask him if he wants to dance. Let the music bring joy to his room. Be sure to put his name on the radio, and ask the staff to help him operate it daily if need be.
A wall calendar makes a great gift to bring to a nursing facility because your loved one will be able to use it every day. Be sure the calendar has vibrant pictures that will add cheer to the wall and is large enough to see the dates clearly. Point to special dates on the calendar and talk to your loved one about them. Write down the date of your next visit, the date of your daughter’s piano recital, and the date of a special event at the nursing facility. Each time you visit, you can talk about what day it is today as well as any upcoming events that your loved one might look forward to.
Special afghan or quilt
A bed is a very personal space, and the more personal the bed looks, the more comfortable and homey the room will feel. If your mom has a favorite afghan or quilt from home, spreading it on her bed or folding it at the foot will add a personal touch. A new comforter, blanket, or bed cover can also add a feeling of special newness to the room. Choose something that brightens or cheers up the space.
Something new to wear
As nursing facility residents become less mobile their days become more repetitious, and even the smallest change can have a wonderful impact. A new sweater, new slippers, or a new hat can add a touch of joy to your loved one’s day. It’s also true that in a nursing facility, special events take on more weight. Getting ready for something special is part of the fun. When you bring something new for your loved one to wear, it can help him enjoy the experience of preparing for the event the way he used to when he lived on his own.
Personal grooming supplies
Think about all the time a person spends grooming in their lifetime. Although some of us like to experiment with new products and supplies, most people find their favorites and stick with them for many years. Favorite brushes, favorite toothpaste brands, favorite lipstick colors, favorite lotions. See if you can find everyday grooming supplies your loved one has long favored. Bring them with you on your visit to the nursing facility, and ask the staff to help your loved one use them regularly.
We want your loved one to feel at home
At Bella Vista Health Center in Lemon Grove, we love our residents, and we do everything we can to help them feel at home with us. This is, after all, their home. We encourage families to visit often and bring special items to share with their loved ones. It makes the residents happy, yes, but also, the more special memories you inspire in your loved one, the more wonderful life stories we get to hear!