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5 Things to Include in Care Packages to Loved Ones in Assisted Living

There are few things more rewarding then bringing a smile to someone you love.

When that someone is in an assisted living community, your time, personal visits and phone calls are the best gifts you can give. However, a care package thoughtfully tailored to your loved one’s daily routines, medical and dietary needs and personal preferences can also be a wonderful way to brighten their day and remind them of how much they are loved.

If you aren’t sure how to get started, here are five types of things to include in care packages to seniors in assisted living.

1. Personal Use Items

Toiletries such as lip balm, lotion, deodorant or aftershave are always at the top of a care package suggestion lists for good reason. Take the time to learn your loved one’s favorite brands and scents; the more you can personalize the gift, the more meaningful it becomes.

Warm robes, decompression socks, sock aids, disposable wipes, incontinence products and aprons are also useful for making day-to-day life more comfortable and enjoyable.

2. Snacks

A homemade treat is always welcome, but bundles of their favorite cookies and crackers are also good choices.

Collections of flavored teas and instant coffee help your loved one be an attentive host when congregation members or neighbors stop by, and lollipops or lemonade mixes can add a sweet touch to visits with their grandchildren.

Tuck in bags of candies or microwave popcorn for some fun on movie nights. If they have a pet, remember to pack snacks for them as well.

3. Puzzles and Activities

Crossword or Sudoku puzzles, adult coloring books, board games or a deck of cards are great items to tuck into gift baskets.

Try adding a new pattern and yarn for a knitter or a simple sun-catcher kit for window watchers.

Jigsaw puzzles never get old, and they can be shared with other residents in the common rooms. Look around for versions with big, easy-to-handle pieces, as this makes assembling the picture more relaxing and enjoyable.

Select some age-appropriate picture books or games for your loved one and their grandchildren to enjoy together during visits, if applicable.

4. Music

Considerable research backs up what many of us already instinctively understand: Music eases stress, improves mood and engages the mind. Help your loved one build a CD collection of uplifting hymns and worship songs, jazz, bluegrass or big band orchestras to cultivate these benefits.

Find out what songs they listened to during their youth, or track down artists that have always made them smile and tap their toe.

Make sure they have a CD player with large buttons and displays that they can easily operate, and consider gifting them a pair of comfortable earphones so they can relax and listen anytime without worrying about disturbing adjacent neighbors.

5. Seasonal Items

Celebrate the changing seasons together through little decorations such as a spring bouquet or fall leaf garland.

When Christmastime comes, help them stay in touch with friends and family by pre-addressing and stamping the envelopes in a box of cards. Locate (or make with them) a special candy dish, or provide a supply of treats like candy canes or chocolates for holiday guests.

Tailor decorations to your loved one’s living area by ensuring they fit a tabletop or window, and be sure to involve children when appropriate to make gifts even more meaningful. A cluster of paper flowers or a turkey hand-print drawing make great rainy day projects for kids, and the results create wonderful gifts.