Nursing homes go above and beyond to care for elderly loved ones, but ultimately, there's no replacement for the friends and family that make life so worthwhile. If there's someone you care about in a nursing home, why not find a way to brighten their day, even if it's not a special occasion. Your efforts will mean more than you can imagine, and your energy and happiness will also get a boost for doing such an awesome thing for someone.
1. Bring a Picnic Basket of Goodies
At any age, people love having their favorite food. In a nursing home, where someone might not have control over what comes out of the kitchen, a picnic basket full of personalized goodies would be particularly appreciated. Whether you're qualified in the culinary arts or not, there are plenty of things to fill a basket with that show how much you care and that can leave lasting enjoyment:
- A favorite jam or homemade relish
- Home-baked or bakery bread
- A box of special candies
- Something from your garden
- A dish from a nostalgic recipe
2. Dust Off Old Photo Albums
Spending an afternoon together looking at old photo albums will make you both laugh, and perhaps even cry, when you realize how fast time has flown by and all the changes that have taken place. Bring an old yearbook too, so you can evoke specific memories of people and places. You might even bring an empty album and let your friend or relative in the nursing home pick and choose special photos to fill it with.
3. Bring along a (Well-Behaved) Pet
So long as the director of the nursing home doesn't have a strict no-pet policy in place, you should be okay to bring a friendly animal along with you. Be prepared to share that joy with everyone in the facility, though, as pets are a big hit in nursing homes. A well-mannered pooch, for example, could make the rounds with a wagging tail, bringing a smile to the faces of all who see him. Physical contact with a special animal can be therapeutic for your friend, so if you can, have the pet accompany you every chance you get.
4. Go for a Drive to a Special Place
If your friend is able, invite them into your passenger seat and ask them where they'd like to go. Within mileage limits, drive to any requested place; be it the home they grew up in, the high school where they met the love of their life, or maybe a grave site that holds heavy and heartfelt meaning. Make it easygoing and memorable, letting them enjoy the ride, scenery, and whatever happens to be the destination.
5. Ask an Old Friend to Accompany You
The day could be made even more exciting if you could have someone with you whom your friend hasn't seen in ages. Such a surprise would surely brighten their day, along with maybe rekindling an old and forgotten or neglected friendship. Since getting out and around from the nursing home is likely challenging, bringing others to it is a great way to keep your friend or relative in the social mix and emotionally charged up.
6. Just Show Up!
Ultimately, you don't have to do anything other than show up at the nursing home, and you don't really need to bring anything with you. The pleasure of your conversation and company would brighten the day, leaving you with less to worry about in terms of preparations or shopping. It might be good for you, too, to simply sit by the window with an old friend and shoot the breeze for a few hours.
Even if someone has everything they technically need in life provided by a senior care facility, they still crave the love and attention that comes from good people like you. Find new ways to say hello, express your feelings and let that special someone in a nursing home know you care.