Choosing a gift for a loved one in assisted living can be more difficult than it sounds. Space in an assisted living facility is often scarce, and certain common gift items, like candles or some types of toiletries and beauty products, might be banned from the facility for safety reasons. But your loved one will definitely appreciate a thoughtful gift for their birthday, the next holiday, or just because. Take a look at some tips for choosing a great gift for a loved one in an assisted living facility.
Your loved one may still enjoy reading, but it can be a difficult activity for some seniors. Vision problems can make the text tough to make out, and arthritis or other mobility problems that affect the hands can make it hard to hold a book and turn pages. However, there are still several ways for your loved one to enjoy reading.
If the senior that you're buying the gift for has vision problems, consider investing in some large-print editions of their favorite books, or books that they've been wanting to read. If they have difficulty holding books, check into getting some of their favorite books on tape. Depending on how they feel about technology, they may also enjoy an e-reader. E-readers are easier to hold than a large hardback or paperback book, offer the option to enlarge the text as needed, and may even have the ability to read the text out loud if desired. Plus, an e-reader can hold many books, which can be a real space-saver for someone who doesn't have room for a whole library.
A Special Outing
Your loved one may miss being able to get in their car and go to a movie, a concert, or shopping when they want to. Many assisted living facilities do arrange outings for their residents, but your loved one may not be able to afford to go as often as they want to, or the planned outings may not suit their tastes or occur as often as they want to go.
Make your gift an experience rather than a thing. Buy tickets for a movie or concert you know they'll like, plan a shopping trip, or take them to their favorite restaurant. Make it just the two of you or include other family members in the outing. Your loved one will enjoy the break in their routine and the special time with you more than most things you could bring them.
Often, most of a senior's money is tied up in paying for their stay in the assisted living facility, leaving them without a lot of money to buy extras for themselves. A nice card with some cash or a receipt for money added to their account can give them some extra to spend on extracurricular activities at the facility.
Depending on the facility, some monthly bills, like cable or phone, may not be included in the price of the facility, so you could help out by paying one of those bills for the month, freeing up some of your loved one's cash to spend on themselves. You should also look into extra services offered by the assisted living facility that you may be able to prepay for. For example, many assisted living facilities have beauty salons where residents can pay to have their hair cut and styled. Your loved one may like a haircut, perm, or other pampering at the salon.
Choosing a gift for someone in an assisted living facility can be tricky, but the right gift can really make your loved one's day. Don't forget to schedule some time to spend visiting – your time and attention are often the greatest gift of all.