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gifts for great grandma in nursing home

(30 Posts)
unfitmummy Mon 01-Nov-10 15:16:08

my husbands grandma is being moved into a nursing home, after being in hospital following a bad fall, and being diagnosed with dementia. i was going to buy her a food hamper but the nursing home will now provide all food so i'm stuck. what on earth can i get her? this will also probably be the last christmas she will remember us all as she's already starting to be hazy on family members occasionally.

happyjustobeme Mon 11-Feb-13 21:22:36

What revived the thread?

lilbar Wed 30-Jan-13 19:49:56 has a great short sleeved 100% cotton nightie called Bella, it has buttons all the way down the front for easy dressing.

unfitmummy Mon 22-Nov-10 17:51:03

thought i'd let you know what i've ended up buying: went to M&S, thinking that i knew it was her favourite shop so i can't go far wrong. they had their belgian chocolates and belgian chocolate covered biscuits on half price so i bought those, and then i noticed the books were also half price, and thinking of the advise on here about buying things that will jog her long term memory i bought two books - the 1940s and 1950s - which are full of photos. also, dd has painted a bowl into which i have planted hyacnith bulbs.

Aviendha Wed 03-Nov-10 14:19:35


girlywhirly Wed 03-Nov-10 09:21:11

Something that I have just remembered, which might make a good present is a bath sheet to go with some toiletries. As someone mentioned earlier, the elderly are often cold when they get out of the bath, and being wrapped in a big warm towel is really comforting and pleasurable. I bought some for my parents one year, as all they seemed to have were ridiculous little towels, some threadbare! They didn't know why they hadn't had them before, as they kept them warm while they got dry.

My mums favourite bath products were M&S Camellia, the range includes bath foam, body lotion, talc, soaps, body spray, and also a multi-purpose spray for body/linens/room fragrance; this last could be really nice for her room and night clothes.

thereistheball Tue 02-Nov-10 20:28:45

One thing I heard of that made sense to me regarding people in these circumstances - though you wouldn't necessarily want to give it to them as a present - was a photo of them at their absolute prime, eg at their wedding or taken as they going out to something for which they'd dressed up and were looking fabulous, blown up to enormous proportions and framed for their wall. The reason was to remind them, and more particularly their carers, of who they used to be. I liked this idea because I imagine that it is difficult for people who work in nursing homes to see beyond the immediate frailty of the person they are caring for to find the once-vibrant young thing that that person was. I hope someone tells my carer that I used to love going to nightclubs and holding all-night parties, and that later on I loved doing really messy painting with my DD, so that we had to shower to get the colours out of our hair.

MiasmARGGG Tue 02-Nov-10 18:41:36

I work in a nursing home and the objects my residents love more than anything is photos. Several of them have big photo collarges (sp?) that have been made by their family members.

The other thing is lovely soft nighties/ bed wear. So many of the ladies i look after have the most ancient, scratchy nightwear circa 1962 and as their mobility gets worse I always wish they had nicer suff so they could be more comfortable in bed.

chimchARRRRGGGGHHHHHHH Tue 02-Nov-10 18:29:52

all the old ladies i know love maybe a nice soft scented one, also as a pp said, a voucher to have her hair washed and set.....

NurseSunshine Tue 02-Nov-10 11:57:34

I wouldn't reccommend bath salts and things to whoever suggested the luxury hamper. IME (I've worked in care homes) carers don't have enough time whilst bathing the residents to allow them to sit and soak for ages and really enjoy their baths, plus the residents get cold, they generally want to get in and out so they can wrap up warm again.

I don't know how advanced this lady's dementia is but she may well still appreciate a digital photo frame with old and new pictures.

The home will provide her food but it's not going to be amazing food I shouldn't think and if you bring her boxes of chocs, biscuits, etc then she can keep them in her room and dip into them whenever she fancies. You could also bring her a cake or something and ask the home to serve it to everyone at dinner.

Lovely warm, soft dressing gowns, slippers, cardigans etc are always good. However, do check with the home's protocol on washing clothes. My grandpa's home ruined a LOT of very expensive woolen cardigans as they boil wash everything so now we buy him fleeces.

smockingtillerfiredeers Tue 02-Nov-10 10:36:10

If you get a digital frame, don't forget to put really old photos on it as well as cute grandkids. You can scan in very old ones that aren't already digital - include places as well as people - and don't forget the old person's own parents and siblings when they were children, their own wedding and graduation and so on. Photos from really special past holidays are also good.

A digital frame is helping my gd reconnect with some very old memories, and he loves it. (It also gets other residents coming into his room and talking about the pictures!)

I've also got a theory that it does no harm to have the carers in a home reminded that the very old and dependent person in front of them has spent most of their life as an active and capable person who deserves to be listened to and treated like an adult, and not treated too much like a child.

girlywhirly Tue 02-Nov-10 10:11:39

I think it's most important to give gifts with a sensory quality for relatives with dementia. Things that are colourful, fragranced, pleasant to touch, enjoyable to look at or listen to. Photo albums are great, because pictures of the past are most likely to be remembered due to long term memory surviving, when short term memory is failing. They also want to be comfortable, so anything that enhances that will be welcome, such as things to soothe aches and pains (like the heated pad), clothing that is easy to manage and warm, pillows or cushions to provide support.

Best wishes to DH and you.

NorbertDentressangle Tue 02-Nov-10 08:52:19

Cat64 - Try a good garden centre or a outdoor/pet store if you want to buy one locally.

Online, the RSPB seem to do every sort of feeder imaginable! Scroll down for an example of a window one

cat64 Mon 01-Nov-10 23:40:26

Message withdrawn

CitrusZest Mon 01-Nov-10 21:05:25

My Grandmother has just moved into a nursing home. For her birthday tomorrow I've got her one of those microwave hot water bottle type things in the shape of a westie. It's filled with wheat and lavender so smells lovely and apparently they're safer and don't scald.

NorbertDentressangle Mon 01-Nov-10 17:32:23

One of the things we bought for my Gran was a bird table and bird feeder as she used to love watching the birds (and cheeky squirrels) feeding.

You can buy some feeders that attach to windows if she's not got a view of the garden.

Giddyup Mon 01-Nov-10 17:31:08

We pay for all her hair appointments, they have a mobile hairdresser come round. She is almost 98 and still appreciates a shampoo ad set and a perm every so often when the need arises.

jumpingjackhash Mon 01-Nov-10 17:29:27

Sorry to hear about DH's GM, I hope the move is as easy as possible.

When my GM moved into a nursing home (similar situation) we bought her a lovely blanket for her to copy-up in in her room, when she passed away I kept the blanket as a reminder of her, it's pretty special to me now.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 01-Nov-10 17:25:27

>Alternatively a digital photo frame loaded with family images with the names written across them

I wondered about that, but then thinking of my mother and MIL (who are old but compos mentis), while they can use the digital photo frames we got them the other year, they rarely actually do.

A photo album (not too big) with clear pictures, clearly labelled might be better?

cat64 Mon 01-Nov-10 17:24:51

Message withdrawn

unfitmummy Mon 01-Nov-10 17:15:51

thanks for that, very helpful. i really like all the ideas and will file them away for future birthdays and christmases! i think this year i will buy her some bulbs in a nice pot and some smellies. i will speak to my mother-in-law to find out about the smellies, and i have one of those paint your own bowl things so i thought i could get my daughter to paint that and plant some hyacinth bulbs in it. hopefully that will go down well.

muggglewump Mon 01-Nov-10 16:21:46

You could still get her the food hamper, so long as it's snacky stuff.

Nice bath products would go down well and as others have said, photo frames for her room.

SoMuchToBats Mon 01-Nov-10 16:21:30

I would agree with stuff like nice toiletries, or maybe clothes/nightwear, photo frames, maybe some sweets (most other food will be provided by the home I would expect). Or maybe a nice calendar too, would give her something to look at every month.

wideratthehips Mon 01-Nov-10 16:14:47

my lovely lovely granny who is 99 is in a nursing home.

things she really likes are photographs, a 'bed jacket', well fitting slippers with good grippy soles, talcum powder with a big puff thing.

Sidge Mon 01-Nov-10 16:12:07

A CD of favourite music? Or a talking book CD?

Lovely smellies are nice, or maybe a pretty pot plant or a picture of a place that she loves.

Anything that makes her room more homely is nice too, such as a rug, tapestry for the wall, a footstool (very budget-dependent I appreciate).

QuoththeRaven Mon 01-Nov-10 16:06:26

instead of a food hamper how about a luxury hamper. Gorgous smelling soaps, some bath salts (if she has a bath) framed family photo of her great granchildren all together, some cosy slippers, her favourite sweets, maybe a nice inexpensive piece of jewellery. my dh's gran had dementia and spent her last xmas in a care hospital type of thing. she got a bracelet which was a few strands of red shiny beads tied together with ribbon and she loved it. i've found that bright colourful things are the way to go. we lost 2 people who had severe dementia last year, and they both loved a lot of colour. care homes seem to be pastelly at best.

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