This story is sponsored by our partners at SeniorAdvisor. At SeniorAdvisor.com, the mission is to equip families like yours with the best information available so you can make confident choices about senior care and services. To search for local care centers in your area and learn more about how SeniorAdvisor can make the process easier for your family, visit SeniorAdvisor.com. And for more support and advice for families and caregivers, read the SeniorAdvisor blog here!
It’s the holiday season and of course, we’re all looking to find the perfect gift for a loved one. But who needs another ugly sweater? If you have a loved one living in a nursing home or receiving assisted living care, you can let them know how much you care with a few thoughtful items that will not only keep them engaged and entertained, but can help them stay connected with friends and family who are far away.
The prices on tablets continue to drop — you can even get an Apple iPad mini for less than $300 (and don’t forget, used tablets usually hold up very well, so ask around to see if a friend or family member is looking to upgrade and might sell you an older model on the cheap!).
With a wi-fi connection, you don’t even need a data plan to do things like hold video chats, via Skype or FaceTime, check email, play games, listen to music and much more. And while there can be a steep learning curve for people who aren’t used to using tablets, you can get some great quality in time showing your loved one how to set up and work the new machine.
DIGITAL BOOK/AUDIOBOOK SUBSCRIPTIONS
Kindle, from Amazon, not only offers Kindle tablets but you can use the Kindle app on just about any smartphone or tablet. So why not help fill up the book queue? From Kindle/Amazon credit to a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you can give your loved on the gift of reading without having to buy or ship bulky books that will just get read once and put aside.
Alternatively, you can gift a subscription or gift card to audio books, using a service like Audible.
Who doesn’t love a video chat? Even if you are across the country from a loved one, you can use free Skype tools to connect with him or her, and even show off what you and the grandkids have been up to.
Skype itself is free, as are the basic services. If your loved one needs something more — say, the ability to send texts or make international calls — the credit is fairly inexpensive and easy to use.
PERSONALIZED SCRAPBOOKS & VIDEOS
One of the things that people miss most when they do move into an assisted living facility is the personal connection with friends and family. So why not bridge the gap? Take a picture of your kids every month and then put them into a special scrapbook, with captions and fun stories about what happened through the year. You can easily upload the scrapbook and print it (and make multiple copies for all of your loved ones) and it’s a great and customized present that shows how much you care.
Want to go even further? Why not shoot and edit a fun or poignant video, showing everything that you and your family did over the year? Maybe ask everyone in your family to record a special holiday message, then edit it together for your loved one to watch.
It’s a great thing to load onto your loved one’s new tablet, so as soon as he or she unwraps the present, it feels like more than just a gadget.
MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION BOXES
We’ve come a long way from the “fruit of the month” club. Today, you can send a loved one special subscription boxes featuring everything from healthy snacks to jewelry to gifts for pets! So get creative: what would make your loved one smile? What types of things do you think he or she might like to try out on a monthly basis?
CUSTOMIZED JEWELRY & MORE
Who doesn’t love a personalized necklace, ring or bracelet? Maybe a keychain or belt buckle? From “world’s best grandma” items to those that list the names of all the grandkids, there are some beautiful options on websites like Etsy and Amazon. Photo frames can be engraved, as well as coffee mugs, plaques and more.
In a nursing home or assisted living facility, there can be limits on how loud the television can be, and common areas get noisy. Why not buy your loved one a set of wireless headphones that can be used to listen to the television or radio without bothering anyone around?