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One of the core values I want to instill in my children is compassion for others and a willingness to give to those who need it most. With first-hand experience with aging relatives and watching my dad as the sole family caregiver for his brother who has dementia, I know the importance of great care and a good support system.
It Takes A Village
Quick Links to Info on This Page
- It Takes A Village
- First Hand Experience as a Family Caregiver
- What to Donate to a Nursing Home
- Free Nursing Home Donation Checklist
When we are young, the village is our parents and close friends and family who help provide care. As we get a bit older, the village still remains our family and friends, but may extend to our neighbors and others who can help us in our time of need.
As we age, that village starts to get smaller as kids move away or friends and family are no longer around. The elderly are one of the most underserved populations in our country, and those in most need of a village. I’d like to show my kids that there is always an opportunity to help others, to give back, and to have a full heart.
First Hand Experience as a Family Caregiver
Enjoying Time Around Family
My dad has been taking care of his special needs brother for the past few years. He has had to be with him 24 hours a day to administer the proper medication for his diabetes, as well as to make sure he doesn’t wander off due to worsening dementia symptoms. It was a real blessing that my uncle was able to stay in his own home, around his family, for as long as he did.
When a Nursing Home is the Better Option
While taking care of a family member in your own home can be the best thing in some cases, in others it becomes a better option to find a great nursing home to provide adequate care around the clock. This was made evident after a recent visit to our house when my Uncle, not knowing where he was, had wandered off at one point. Luckily we found him a few houses down at a neighbors house but it made us realize that he needed a little more care than one person could provide on their own.
Not only were the memory problems troublesome, but the long 3-hour car ride to our house wasn’t the easiest. My dad always made sure to have some incontinence supplies on hand just in case they couldn’t stop in time to make it to a bathroom. The Poise® Pads and Depend® Fit-Flex® Underwear for Men, available in Sam’s Club, both work really well for these situations, and are really a great way to help any elderly person be able to enjoy more time with their family without feeling embarrassed about light bladder leakage.
What to Donate to a Nursing Home
After seeing what needs my dad had as the family caregiver before finding his brother a great nursing home, I’ve come up with this list of items that would make excellent donations for anyone who is looking to give back in any capacity. Whether you have elderly family members receiving care, or you simply want to give back to your community, these items would be well received!
Many of the nursing homes I have found do not provide these items and it is up to the families to pay for and provide them. You’ll want to check with any local homes in your area to see what is or isn’t provided so you can be sure to donate items that are needed.
Think lip balm, lotion, deodorant, incontinence supplies for light bladder leakage, toothpaste, etc. Just be sure that the items you are donating are allowed in the facility before making any large purchases.
Stocking up on toiletries and other caregiving items is super easy at Sam’s Club. You can find club packs of things like Poise Pads right in club or even online. Plus, if you download the Digimarc Discovery app, you can scan anywhere on the packaging, and it will drive you to the Sam’s club Caregiver website. Also, when you open your depend packaging it will have a sticker inside, that you can use to redeem at the pharmacy for an awesome caregiver sample kit.
Even if many of the residents already have blankets, a good fleece throw can be a great gift/donation. Sometimes it can take a day or two for items to come back from the laundry facility, so having an extra throw around is practical.
Puzzles and Games and Books
I don’t know about you, but I certainly want to change it up once in a while in my home. Nursing homes are no different. You don’t even have to get new games or books, second-hand donations are fine as long as all of the game pieces are in the original box and it is in good condition. Have a good selection of games can help ease boredom, so grab anything that you no longer use or find some fun new games to donate.
Some ideas are:
Large Print Books of many genres
No matter what you buy or donate used, the best gift you can possibly give someone is the gift of friendship and companionship. This is time truly well spent, especially if you have children that you can bring along for the visit.
Involving the Kids
Have your kids play games with the elderly, sing them songs, read to them, or anything that can show them just what the meaning of compassion really is. There may be times when the kids see how difficult the aging process truly is, but being able to have compassion for those who need our help is a priceless gift for both the recipient and the giver, and a lifelong lesson your kids may never forget.
A visit to either a nursing home or an assisted living home will be remembered by the young and old alike, and will never be forgotten!
Free Nursing Home Donation Checklist
If you’d like a quick list of things that you can donate feel free to print out this free donation checklist. There are plenty of spaces to write in your own items as well! Just simply print and then check off the items as you acquire them!
Have you ever been a family caregiver or have you made donations to nursing homes?
Do you have anything you’d add to this list?