Inexpensive Gift Ideas for Nursing Home Residents

Updated on November 07, 2010
M.B. asks from Plano, TX
13 answers

Hello, I am at a loss and I know you guys can help me! Our church organizes volunteers for our sister church every year for Thanksgiving dinner. I am in charge of the crafts this year. As part of the craft, we make gift bags for nursing home residents. Well, this year they want to make bags for 500+ residents so I am in need of some inexpensive gift ideas! I've ordered the paper bags and a cute little craft (ornament) that the kids will decorate but what else can I put in the bag? I can't afford to spend a lot since I'm buying 500+ but I don't want it to be something that will just be tossed!

Also, if anyone wants to volunteer, (East Plano, TX) please let me know!

We are also doing a coat drive (gently used coats)...last year the line for the coats was as long as the food line!

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answers from Modesto on

Seniors love hard candy, it keeps their dry mouths moist. Lots of them love butterscotch, butter mints and even Good n Plenty licorice candy.

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answers from Hartford on

What about a pair of fuzzy socks for the ladies and handkerchief for the men?

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answers from Houston on

This sounds weird but fresh fruit is good. Like bananas and oranges. Depending on the nursing home, some are more expensive than others, they may get a lot of canned fruit instead of fresh. When I used to volunteer to bring Christmas gifts to the nursing home we would bring them fruit and they loved it. You can call grocery stores to see about donations. We also brought sugar free candy.

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answers from Little Rock on

Hi M.,
Up until may I was a Life Enrichment Cordanator(Activities Director) at a very nice Plus I have worked wit ht seniors for over 20 yrs.
1)..I would say keep it simple the folk don't have alot of space in some places.
2)..If you know the places that you will be packing for call the activies director and ask for suggestions and how many diabetics are living there from everyone and then take a couple of the most suggested things and do if they are doable.
3).. I always told my volunteers that it did'nt matter what they broght the folks REALLY just love to see the KIDS and the cards are enough. So don't go out of you way and buy tons of things.
4)..Have the kids sing some Christmas Carols while the make up small bags of hard candies. IMPORANT::: To ask if the are any diabetics and how many. If they can pass them out to them before the kids do so that they don't get the wrong bags. Or just ask if they can pass them out for you Have the bags labled differently!! So you cn tell them which is which for the diabetics.
5)..Someplace don't allow fresh baked goods from the out side of thier buildings. It has to do with the personal allergies and nutrional value for the folks daily diet. Small people have to be on a strict daily intake schdule. So I do recommend making any food like; cookies,candies,or fudge.ect.

Well I hope I helped
Don't over think it keep it simple. They like the simple things in live!

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answers from Chicago on

How about checking around with some local salons to see if you could negotiate a salon day/grooming day type service (hair/nails for women, hair/facial hair for men)? If done as a donation the salon can write it off at the end of the tax year and they would get good PR points and advertising as well. Win-win-win. If you could work something out with a local salon you could print up individual certificates from your own computer and put that in the gift bag.

When I worked in a nursing home it was difficult for a lot of the residents to get out and about for these types of services. I once asked a few residents what would mean the most to them and (outside family) they responded that getting their hair and nails done made them feel pretty (from a woman) and important (from a man) again. Pretty and important sound pretty nice to me.

If that doesn't work maybe you could negotiate with a chain drug store (or dollar store) to purchase different lotions, perfumes, body washes, colognes, and the like in bulk (or get it as a donation *wink*wink*).

You are doing a good thing. Hope this helps! :-)

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answers from Philadelphia on

How about putting candy in each bag?

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answers from Dallas on

I would also suggest something to eat. Each resident will not have a lot of personal space anyway. To expect to give them something to keep is a little presumptuous.

Most things will get tossed, but a nice chocolate like Lindts truffles and a candy cane might be good.

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answers from Cleveland on

Google CJs Butter. She makes THE yummiest chapsticks ever, like Lemon Cheesecake! I'm sure she'll give you a great price!

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answers from Kansas City on

try oriental trading company - cheap ornament kits?

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Apples, bananas, slipper socks, lip balm, seeds/pot kits, puzzle books, playing cards, hard candies, nail polish, small mirrors, magnifying glasses.
You're going to make a lot of people happy--hopefully some volunteer TIME will accompany the bags too!



answers from Dallas on

That is awesome that you are doing that! How about some warm socks?! Best wishes and God bless!



answers from Dallas on

Awesome thing you are doing! Some ideas:
1. Take a look at - they sell inexpensive trinket type things in bulk and always have holiday items and religious items. One thing that comes to mind that they have are those popular rubber bracelets - with inspirational phrases, holiday phrases, religious phrases, etc
2. Chapstick & Handcream - Avon always has these cheap to match the holiday - If you need a rep I can recommend Amber Counts at http://www.avonrepresentative/accounts
3. Small packs of Kleenex
4. A holiday water bottle - may also have at Oriental Trading
5. Get some Angels, and have each angel hold a scrolled note from a child in the church stating what they think Thanksgiving is about, what Christmas is about, who they think God is, why there are angels , etc and have the children sign their name and put their age - they will love it
6. If you can find them cheap enough and if they have a plae to watch them - videos or DVDs of old black & white movies or musical
7. A couple of bags of different teas
8. Festive bags that fit over their walkers to hold things they need