gifts for assisted living staffIf you’ve chosen a good assisted living facility, chances are you feel a strong sense of gratitude towards the staff for the excellent care they’re providing for your loved one. It’s common in these situations for families and others to want to show that gratitude with a gift. Below are some tips to keep in mind when deciding how you want to go about saying thanks.
  • First, check with management at the facility to find out their policy about gifts. Many places have rules about what employees can accept, especially when it comes to recognizing individual employees over the staff as a whole. There may be one person who has gone above and beyond who you’d like to do something really nice for, but you don’t want to put them in an awkward situation where they have to refuse your gift or worse, get them in trouble with their boss or even fired!
  • If you can’t recognize that one special staff person with a present, there’s never anything wrong with sending them a thank you card or personal note expressing your appreciation. Even better, send a letter to their supervisor singing their praises. You may be able to help them get a raise or a promotion later on down the line. Make sure you send the note to both the boss and the employee, so that you can be sure they both know you sent it. You may also want to consider making a donation to a charity in that employee’s name, especially if you happen to know of an organization that means a lot to them.
  • If you do get the green light from management to give gifts to specific employees, but are stumped for ideas, you may want to consider ordering a gift basket, or even making your own custom gift basket yourself. Fruit and sweets are of course popular treats, but if those ideas seem stale you can really get creative here. Consider bath items, coffee or tea, or baskets with a theme that include food and non-food items. For example, a summer basket could include flip-flops, lemonade mix, a gift card for a local ice cream shop, tickets to a summer event, key lime flavored goodies, and body lotion with a summertime scent.
  • Other ideas for individual gifts: if you know what sport teams the person follows, some memorabilia will probably be appreciated. Women are often glad to get a bouquet of flowers or a gift certificate for a manicure and/or pedicure. If the staff member was emotionally close to your loved one and they have passed away, you might also consider giving the staff member a momento from their personal belongings.
  • Gift cards are tempting because they’re easy, but they can come off as impersonal. Unless you know the staff member is a big fan of a particular store or restaurant, try to choose something a little more heartfelt.
  • If you want to get gifts for the whole staff or floor, food is always popular. You may want to consider that some people may be burned out on cookies and candy or unable to have them for various reasons. In that case, consider fruit (Edible Arrangements gift baskets are a crowd-pleaser), fancy cheese and crackers, sandwiches, bagels and coffee/tea, or a few boxes of pizza.
  • Check with management to see how many people work in the facility or on the floor. It’s likely more than you think, and you want to be sure you have enough for everyone.
  • Don’t forget the late shift! Though you may never see them, they are working hard, at odd hours, to take care of your loved one as well! When you drop off your gift, insist that some be set aside specifically for them. Even if you bring plenty for all, if it’s just left out it’s too likely to disappear. Physical therapy staff are also often forgotten too.
  • Lots of families bring gifts for the staff around the holidays, and it can easily become too much. Food brought in at this time could go to waste and be thrown away. Your gift will make a much bigger impression if you give it at a quieter time of year.
Music has many benefits for Alzheimer's patients.We all respond to music on a very deep level, especially the music we remember from our childhood and teenage years. Some pieces cause an automatic, powerful flood of memories. It’s not hard to understand that music can be beneficial to Alzheimer’s patients. But what you may not know is just how pervasive these benefits are. Music can alleviate pain, improve sleep, ease anxiety, and boost one’s mood. Indeed, it can sometimes do more to stimulate healing than conventional medicine. Music has been demonstrated to release the feel-good chemical serotonin and decrease cortisol, which is associated with stress. How does this work for Alzheimer’s patients specifically? Seniors who are new to assisted living are in an unfamiliar place, and this change can result in negative psychological effects like aggression or aggitation. But a meaningful song takes them back to the familiar, and as a result they become more comfortable in the new environment and easier for caregivers to work with. The senior may be smiling, tapping their feet, or even swaying in place: their joy is palpable. Some experimenting with music and seniors have found that this technique can lessen or even eliminate the need for drugs that treat depression and anxiety – at a much lower price than the cost of these expensive treatments! Consider getting your loved one some sort of music player as a gift, so that they can listen to songs of their choice whenever they want to. Some have found dramatic effects when giving seniors iPods or other digital music players, but even a less cutting-edge CD player will do if it’s easier for your loved one to handle. Use upbeat music stimulate: to help motivate mom to move towards her bath, for example. Songs with slower tempos can be used to help your loved one calm down or fall asleep. Encourage movement and singing along to help increase the benefits. Before you know what songs they’ll enjoy, watch their reactions carefully. A song that is beautiful to one person may evoke feelings of sadness in another, for example. Stay away from music that has commercials, such as that played over the radio or by a streaming service such as Pandora. These interruptions can confuse Alzheimer’s patients. Also make sure that there aren’t too many other distracting noises in the room, and don’t turn the volume up too loud. Bringing music into your loved one’s world may seem like a small change, but it’s likely to make their life dramatically better.
Our Los Angeles assisted living features fun activities.For individuals experiencing memory loss due to conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, memory boxes can be a great way to help them recall their past, even if for a brief period of time. Memory boxes can be a collection of your loved one’s favorite objects from childhood or can even be items that capture the essence of a time. These projects can be a great way to reconnect with loved ones suffering from dementia when talking and other approaches don’t seem to have much of an effect. Memory boxes work by capitalizing on a person’s senses in order to help trigger memories from long ago. They’re filled with objects that the individual can touch, smell, and see, with the hope that the person will be brought back to the point in time that they experienced such sensations. Sometimes these objects can be the only way back to a forgotten memory. Setting up a memory box is easy. All you’ll need is a box of the size of your choosing and various items and objects that you’ll use to decorate it. This box is something that will carry meaning for you and your family member, and what’s inside of it will be more important than how the box itself looks. Now comes the fun part. Any objects that your parent or loved one once owned or used in the past are fair game. Perhaps there is a ring, necklace, or other piece of jewelry they frequently wore before moving to assisted living. Maybe you have old photos of them in their prime that will help them recall a particular time period. Even something as seemingly trivial as a piece of fabric could spur old memories to the surface, just from the touch or feel of the material. Once you have assembled the memory box, it is now time to present it. You’ll want the recipient to handle each object for some length of time, allowing their senses to respond. You can ask them to talk about the object, describe it, or simply free associate about any thoughts or feelings that the object brings up. If you are feeling at a loss for objects to put inside the memory box, don’t despair. Other relatives may be in possession of objects that have significance to your loved one. If not, you can easily find objects on your own. A great start would be to visit a local antique or hobby shop. Here, you will find many different items from past time periods that will help bring your loved one back to a time when they were younger. For example, memorabilia from World War II could spark a story about the family’s victory garden. There’s no set formula for putting together a memory box. Anything that carries meaning for your loved one should work just fine. This article has a few ideas if you’re stuck: How to Make a Memory Box.
When birthdays or holidays come around, people want to do something nice for the older people in their lives who are now assisted living residents. But figuring out what to give can be a challenge. Below are some gift ideas that senior will appreciate. Personal Mementos If the resident doesn’t have already have one, gather as many addresses as you can for them into a fancy address book. Enlarge a family photo for the wall (perhaps your loved one’s favorite photo of themselves in their younger days), or put together a photo album. You can buy items like coffee mugs or calendars that are customized with family photos. As long as your loved one can see the electronic screen, a digital picture frame will always give them something new to see. Some can even have pictures added to them remotely, which makes it easy for far-flung family to add their own contributions. Small Decorations A plant or flowers in a vase that you can refill every time you visit can really brighten up a room. If they have a tree outside their window, setting up a bird feeder for them that you refill periodically would be a wonderful treat. Give decorations related to an upcoming holiday for a festive change. Air fresheners or flameless candle burners make a strange room feel a little more like home. Media A subscription to a magazine or newspaper is a wonderful gift. Not only does the resident get reading material, but they also have the joy of getting interesting mail! You may choose a publication from a favorite town or city they once lived in. They would also love a CD or tape of their favorite music, or an inexpensive DVD player with movies or favorite TV shows. Books always make great gifts, but keep in mind that the resident may not be able to see well. Organizations that make materials for the visually impaired can be helpful resources in these situations: some even offer materials for free. Or you can just buy books on tape. There are even services that act like Netflix for audio books, so your senior will always have something new to listen to. Don’t forget headphones! Big old-fashioned ones are easier for seniors to handle than earbuds. Cozy Comforts Anything to keep residents warm and comfortable will likely be appreciated, especially if it’s easy for them to put on and remove. Bed jackets, shawls, and blankets are a great choice. Even though we think of them as being kids’ toys, a doll, teddy bear, or other stuffed animal can be very welcome. Practical Items Stationery and stamps are popular, especially for residents with far away friends and family. An electric toothbrush may be useful. A resident who uses a walker will get a lot of use out of a basket or pouch that they can attach to carry things. Anything related to a hobby that your loved one can still enjoy will help them feel good about themselves and keep their mind active. A flashlight might make them feel a little safer, and a fan is helpful if your resident tends to be hot. A clock with large numbers is also a great idea. Yourself What will make your loved on happiest is quality time spent with you. You don’t need to make awkward conversation for an hour if you’re not very talkative – instead you can choose an activity on the schedule to participate in with your resident. You can also volunteer to lead or help with an event, and allow your loved one to brag about how well you did later. Simply reading aloud to them counts as quality time. You can also videotape family events, such as a school band concert or a birthday party, and show it while recounting all the behind-the-scenes stories. Don’t forget to bring the kids! Time with children is especially welcome. Family members who live far away can record messages or stories that the senior can listen to again and again, or can send cards or letters. Your loved one may also enjoy a visit from a pet. You likely won’t be able to bring an animal into the facility, but you can bring the resident outside and have them meet the animal there. Residents will appreciate little trips outside the facility. Some ideas include a tour of the Christmas or Halloween decorations in nearby neighborhoods, getting an ice cream cone, watching a child’s sports game, or even just cruising around on a nice day. Short walks in nice weather will be appreciated too. Meals that are home cooked or from a favorite restaurant are a special treat. Even something like pizza or Chinese can be wonderful since it’s not something residents have often anymore (make sure this is OK for the resident’s diet). When buying gifts for your loved one, the key thing to remember is that this is a situation where less is more. Bulky or heavy gifts take up a lot of space, and even trinkets and magazines can easily become clutter in a small room. It’s usually best to avoid expensive gifts as it’s a real possibility that another confused resident can mistakenly wander off with something. For many seniors, at this point in their lives it’s the simple pleasures that matter most, and what will make them the happiest is knowing that you care and are thinking about them.