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Article Archive >> Community

Help Everyone Feel Remembered For The Holidays

Help Everyone Feel Remembered For The Holidays
Submitted by Glen Sargent of Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village

With December's arrival comes the annual preparation for holidays and, perhaps, worries about appropriate remembrances for everyone in your life. This may be an especially critical need if you have an elderly relative or family friend in a nursing home or other senior citizen community.
The following are some possible ways to help person get more enjoyment from a season that might otherwise be a bleak occasion. Determining the reason for a person's reclusive or negative feelings may go a long way toward helping select the proper antidote to a grumpy mood.
A senior might feel unable to provide appropriate gifts for his or her friends and, as a result, could take a negative approach to the entire gift-giving idea. If this appears to be what is bothering your loved one, consider the following shopping trip. A woman in Doylestown, PA, hearing that her mother was expecting glum holidays because she felt she wouldn't be able to buy gifts, started what has evolved into the "Wrapping Presence" organization. Each year, a large group of individuals help shop for - and wrap - the gifts that seniors in nursing homes and other places have said they would give their families and other friends, if they could. More information is available at www.wrappingpresence.org.
Perhaps a nursing home resident expects to be forgotten, his or her wishes ignored amid other holiday partying and festivities. Consider having residents list their wishes (for gifts or other achievable things). Then, have each wish written on a star, snowflake, or other holiday ornament, and displayed where willing wish-granters can act on them - for example at a church, workplace or classroom. Then, collect the gifts and make a group visit to the home for a party and show the residents they aren't being ignored at holiday time.
Your loved could be glum over the passage of time and the feeling that there's no way to relive old and happy times. Consider taking the person out to see holiday decorations, on a shopping errand or general sightseeing expedition to a favorite store of his or her youth, or on a trip around a neighborhood that has meaning from the person's past. The activity can even occur in the person's residence; have a family gathering with your loved one and bring photo albums or other memorabilia that can spur recollections of happy times. Work on a puzzle together, play board games or sing holiday songs.
Perhaps holiday negativity can be remedied by a visit from a children's school or church class. Arrange for each child to bring a gift or card, and for the group to perform skits, sing songs or have other interaction with persons they are visiting. (Again, if children choose to help grant wishes on the listing project such as that mentioned above, a group visit could be a happy occasion in a number of ways.) Maybe the opportunity to have seniors tell stories of their younger days would be enjoyable for the residents and their audience alike.
Then, your loved one may be looking forward to the holidays without any of the despair described here. It may be you who is concerned about gift idea for your special senior citizen. We happen to have a list of suggestions:
Gift Giving Ideas
1. Books or music albums (on CD) about events or by composers from the 1920s, '30s, '40s or '50s. DVDs or video collections of a television series, such as "Lawrence Welk," might also be a big favorite. (Make sure that the gift recipient has a VCR or DVD player available in the room or at his/her residence. Or, then, the family can consider buying one as a gift for the person or one the entire residence community can enjoy.)
2. Books on tape.
3. Magazine subscriptions.
4. Photographic collections of historic times and places, perhaps of a familiar city or country.
5. Framed photographs of family members, perhaps in an easy-to-view album.
6. Sweaters, perhaps personally knitted; make them machine-washable as a nursing home likely won't be able to arrange for dry cleaning.
7. Quilts or Afghans, without fringe or beaded edges (for protection against getting caught in a wheelchair). These could be useful items for keeping warm when the person is outside or takes a car ride.
8. Holiday plants can brighten up surroundings and bring new spirit to a person's room; having a living plant for company helps the residence focus on something beyond the holiday and into the coming year.
9. Sachets, which can add a fresh aroma to an otherwise bleak-smelling room. Hang them on doorknobs or put them in dresser drawers. (Be sure, though, that the person to receive the gift does not have an allergies to perfume.)
10. Salon certificates at the in-home beauty parlor, which avoid any possible additional service charge.
11. Treat baskets; be sure those food favorites are in line with any dietary restrictions for the recipient.
So, whether you share your time, generosity or that much-wanted possession with your love one, may one or more of these ideas be of benefit to you during the holiday season.
You think it is too late - it is never too late to extend a gift of love to someone in a nursing home.

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