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Gift for Patient in a Nursing Home

Updated on November 2, 2015
Virginia Allain profile image

Eclectic is a good word for the many interests of retired librarian, Virginia Allain. Crafts, gardening, genealogy, travel, and more...

Gift Guide especially for Nursing Home Residents!

You want to get something special for the family member or friend who is in a nursing home. It puzzles gift buyers, knowing that space is limited and there may be some dietary restrictions.

Don't give up, as I've found some great ideas for you. Make this a Merry Christmas or a Happy Birthday for the nursing home patient with gifts that put a smile on their face. They will be thrilled that you put so much thought into the right gift for them.

Don't wait for Christmas, get a gift for their birthday or just any day. They will feel so special to get a present from you.

Take a look at the selections below. Often the nursing home has a Christmas party for the residents before December 25th. They encourage family and friends to attend this and bring a present for the resident. Check with the nursing home to see when the party is and what the format is. This varies from nursing home to nursing home.

Graphic available from Zazzle: Candy Cane Christmas Stickers by AJsGraphics

Make a Photo Collage for the Nursing Home Patient's Wall

Malden International Designs Crossroads 3D 10 Opening 3.5x5 Collage Black Picture Frames
Malden International Designs Crossroads 3D 10 Opening 3.5x5 Collage Black Picture Frames

You can use an online service to make a photo collage poster or get this collage with pockets for the photos to slip into. Chose photos showing different aspects of the patient's life. Be sure to include their hobbies and work.

Besides providing enjoyment for the patient, the poster serves as a reminder to the nursing home staff that this person had a full life beyond what they currently see. It can be a conversation starter for staff and visitors.


Keep Them Warm with a Shawl with Pockets - This One Has Electric Warming

Sunbeam TCFQR-783-00, Throw, Sand
Sunbeam TCFQR-783-00, Throw, Sand

What's great about this gift?.... If a nursing home patient is on blood thinners, they get cold easily. The cozy shawl keeps them warm and is easy to wrap around the shoulders without having to put the arms in a sweater. The pockets lets them keep things they want at hand, like a tissue or their glasses. Fine for use in their room.

For use while in a wheelchair, take a look at similar shawls that don't need electrical power.


Get a Nursing Home Patient a Fun Christmas Hat - to brighten their day

These don't cost much, but get lots of attention for the wearer from the nursing home staff and visitors. They will love the response they get when they wear it. Especially good is a hat with music or lights or both. There are hats for other holidays too, like Easter or 4th of July.

elope Springy Santa Hat
elope Springy Santa Hat

This one is lightweight which is an advantage for an older person.


Get the Patient Something to Give to the Nursing Home Staff - like microwave popcorn packs

Nursing homes have a lot of people on staff, working different shifts. If the patient has something they can give to each one, it lets them be the Santa. Keep it simple, like these microwave popcorn packets. Take them out of the boxes and put them in a basket. You can put a sticker on each packet saying MERRY CHRISTMAS from put patient's name. Just type these on your computer and stick them on ahead of time.

Ask the nursing home how many people work there, so you can get the right amount. The popcorn is a good choice, as staff like to put it in the microwave in their break room. Candy is another option. You may need as many as 50 or even higher, so keep it simple.

Offer to Address Christmas Cards for the Patient in a Nursing Home

Take several boxes of Christmas cards, some stamps and a pen with you to the nursing home. Ask if they want to send some cards. Let them tell you who the card is for and sign the cards if they are able. Your role will be to fill out the addresses, stamp and mail the cards. If they can't sign the cards themselves, have them tell you what message to put in the card and sign for them.

Help with the Holiday Cards


Take a stack of cards with you to the nursing home.
Rudolph Christmas Lights Card by mistyqe (available from Zazzle)

A Tiny Tree for the Patient's Room in the Nursing Home

This one holds their Christmas cards or photos. You may need to offer to store it for them after the holidays until next Christmas. The rooms don't have space for out-of-season items.

See How Small the Room Is

A room in a nursing home doesn't have much space for personal objects, so plan your gift carefully.
A room in a nursing home doesn't have much space for personal objects, so plan your gift carefully. | Source

Patients Taking Blood Thinners Have a Hard Time Keeping Warm - Try a gift like these warm booties for them

Herbal Concepts Hot/Cold Comfort Booties, Blue
Herbal Concepts Hot/Cold Comfort Booties, Blue

I am in love with this whole idea. My grandmother has trouble with her feet as they swell, ache and she has a hard time getting them warm. After giving her these neat booties she props her feet up every night, has her warmed booties on and just grins. What a great thank you each time I see her. (review by J. Babcock on Amazon)


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Get the Patient a Subscription to a Magazine Related to an Interest of Theirs

Patients look forward to receiving mail in the nursing home. Getting magazine subscriptions gives them something to anticipate in the mail.

Reading a Magazine Helps Pass the Time

His favorite magazines are car topics like Hot Rod or Car and Driver.
His favorite magazines are car topics like Hot Rod or Car and Driver. | Source

Give a Gift That Comes All Year Long

Reader's Digest Large Print
Reader's Digest Large Print

Opt for a magazine to fit their special interest or get a general one like Reader's Digest in large print.

My brother can no longer work on the hot rods that he loved to customize. He still enjoys reading about them and seeing what others are doing with hot rods.


More Ideas of Magazines for Someone in a Nursing Home

Besides the specialty magazines on hobbies or general interest magazines like nature or their home state, consider these memory inspiring magazines. I'll bet they'll read them over and over. My mom and dad enjoyed these very much when they were in their eighties.

Also keep in mind that older folks may have limited vision. Reader's Digest puts out a large-print magazine and there are large-print crossword puzzles. Best-sellers and other fiction come in large print too.

Reminisce, a magazine about the good old days, makes a great gift for a senior. Filled with nostalgic memories, it gives them hours of pleasant reading and remembering.

A similar magazine is one called The Good Old Days.

Hanging Bag for a Walker - to tote things around

This gives them a place to stash their glasses, tissues and even the book they are reading and have all those with them as they move around during the day.

The hanging bag keeps their belongings with them wherever they go in the nursing home such as down to the dining room or when they go to therapy.

Bedside Caddy - to hold a book and other needs

This saves them from having to get up after bedtime. The things they might want are right at hand. No need for them to call for an attendant to help them up or to fetch something.

Keep in mind that if they have an adjustable bed, this might not work for them.

Make the Wheelchair More Comfy

Sometimes the arms of the wheelchair get shabby and cracked. Covering them with these cushy armrests makes it more comfortable for someone who spends a lot of time in one.

These are washable and feel very smooth under the patient's arms.

Help the Nursing Home Resident Save Their Life Story

Get one of the books with questions about their life and space to write their memories. Offer to write in the things they remember if they have trouble writing due to arthritis. Talk with them about the topics and make return visits to work on filling in the book.

Click on this book to see variations of this.

A Memory Book for a Man

A Father's Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words
A Father's Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words

This book has spiral binding so stays open for easy-to-write in it. It has questions to inspire memories and the nursing home resident can pass the time by noting down their life experiences.

For some, it might be easier if you read the questions and discuss the topic with them, then write it down for them.

There are similar books for women as well.


If you are too far away to visit often, then send a short note or a postcard every week or several times a week. Residents look forward to mail time and it really brightens their day.

Add Your Suggestions for a Great Gift for Someone in a Nursing Home - Happy holidays!

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    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      Lots of good ideas here, especially the Christmas Card/Photo Holder Display Tree. One thing that these residents don't have is a lot of space, so this would be ideal.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      My mom is now in a nursing home so this lens is especially interesting to me. I think the shawl with pockets would be absolutely perfect. Thank you!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      5 years ago

      Stopped back by for some inspiration. Great gift ideas.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      @Jeri Baker: I'm so glad you found it helpful.

    • Jeri Baker profile image

      Jeri Baker 

      6 years ago

      This has so many practical and caring gift ideas. Thanks for all your research in preparing such a great gift guide!

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      @ecogranny: What great ideas. Thank you for suggesting those.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      This is one of the best gift guide lenses I have seen. One of the best gifts any of us can give a friend or relative in a nursing home is the gift of time. Simply to be with them and break up the monotony of their days. Read to them. Sit with them while they doze and be there when they wake. The other gift I would give is music. Take a friend and a guitar and sing folk songs, hymns, Christmas carols, old favorites from their generation. They love to sing along, and even people in the Alzheimer's ward sing along with songs they learned as youths. In fact, in light of a recent study in which Alzheimer's patients were given MP3 players, I'd suggest adding an iPod to the list here.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Excellent ideas for nursing home patients. My mom had the bag for her walker and a few of these other items.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The patients at nursing homes will love these great gift ideas.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is great ideas for gifts! Any gift for someone in a nursing home is going to great! great lens!

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      7 years ago

      Some magazines might come in large print. You have some thoughtful ideas here.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      7 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I'm really impressed at the ideas you have here for gifting someone in a nursing home. Addressing their Christmas cards, giving them a small tree for their room, giving them items which they in turn can hand out to staff.....brilliant!

    • nyclittleitaly profile image


      7 years ago

      Great ideas for gifts for those either in a nursing home or even someone home that needs walking assistance.

    • Frischy profile image


      7 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Some great ideas, and a good reminder that storage space is at a premium.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Fantastc ideas here. I really like the bedside caddy.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      7 years ago

      What great ideas. Mom and I just donated a bunch of presents to the nursing home rehab unit where she was for 5 weeks. I'm happy to report she's home, safe and sound. Oh, you've been blessed! Great lens.

    • rwoman profile image


      8 years ago

      Along the lines of Mem Fox's Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge you could give them their the story the little boy collects treasures that will remind a nursing home resident about high points of her life. It's a pretty sweet story and a pretty good idea!

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      @darciefrench lm: If I were in a nursing home, I'd definitely need a laptop and the internet. Unfortunately many elderly persons missed learning to use a computer. My mom at 85 is internet savvy, so if she is ever in a nursing home, she will want her computer there too.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      Really great ideas here. I think my favorite is the hats.

    • piedromolinero profile image


      8 years ago

      You found some really great gifts for someone in a nursing home.

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      What beautiful suggestions! I don't have any loved ones in a nursing home, but I enjoyed reading this.


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