As I’ve mentioned, my grandma has been in and out of the hospital a few times over the last month. After the first stay, she was released to go home with assistance. But after this last stint about a week and a half ago, she was sent into a skilled nursing facility and my grandpa moved in with her.
As a quick health summary, my grandma has two faulty heart valves, congestive heart failure, the ulcer on her foot has been an issue for more than a year, and she has diabetes. Suffice it to say, she’s not at her best.
I visit 2-3 times a week, and I will probably be writing about that a bit more. But for today, I want to share the hospital and nursing home care packages that have been received the best by my grandparents and by my husband’s great uncle who had a brain aneurysm a few weeks ago and has made a full recovery now. 🙂
Hospital Care Package
Hospitals are depressing and boring for nearly everybody. Here are some quick things you can throw together to make it more bearable for anybody you’re visiting (I get them all from the Dollar Tree near me, but go where you like). Alter this or pick and choose based on the person’s situation and motor function:
- 1+ helium balloons (I get the ones shaped like flowers)
- Card Chapstick (unscented)
- Lotion (I get the “Udderly Best” unscented variety)
- Sugar free peppermints
- A book or two of Sudoku / Crosswords / Word Finds / Etc.
- Pencil(s) and Pen(s)
- Empty Notebooks
- Magazines or books they like
All of this costs $10-$15 max to pick up from a Dollar Tree or whatever inexpensive place is in your area. My grandma doesn’t do Sudoku or crosswords, so my care package was $5 – a balloon, card, Chapstick, and sugar free peppermints and another flavored candy. She already had lotion and distractions like my grandpa at all times and a tv.
Nursing Home Care Package
When your loved one moves from the hospital to a care facility, they will probably have a little more space but be just as bored. They may also not be able to do all of the daily little stuff they used to be able to do for themselves and the care facilities only get to the big stuff regularly. With that in mind, and the fact that they were able to bring over the stuff I already brought to the hospital, my care packages changed.
Here was the first thing I threw together from the Dollar Tree because I noticed my grandma’s nails had gotten pretty sad since she has to eat with her hands more than normal.
- Basket for nail supplies
- Nail clippers
- Nail cleaners (those wooden rods that help get stuff out from under the nails)
- Emory boards
- Unscented lotion (for dry hands)
- 2-3 Polish Colors at least
- Clear, Super Dry polish to put on last
The whole set up cost me right under $10 at the Dollar Tree and my grandma loved having her nails done. I also helped another guest at the place clean all of his nails and gave a quick touchup to another lady hanging out in the lobby. The nurses started calling me the Nail Lady and didn’t realize I wasn’t a general volunteer for the place until I pointed out my grandparents…
Other stuff to consider:
- More books and magazines
- Audio books and a cd player if they enjoy that more
- A portable DVD player and movies (heck, even a Netflix membership that you get and then bring up and take back the DVDs as they get watched)
- Waterless shampoo kits – $4 at Walgreens or CVS or online. You heat them up in a microwave, put the cap on the head, and massage in the cleaner. It isn’t as awesome as actually having your hair washed properly but is a miracle for those who can no longer take regular baths or showers.
The most important thing is to visit as often as realistically possible. The squeaky wheel gets the grease is how the world turns in healthcare. If your loved one seems alone, they will be pushed further down every list simply because they have to prioritize somehow. If you and others are around all the time, they know that your person needs constant attention for the medical stuff or someone will complain at them. It’s human nature.
I wrote this up pretty quickly – what else would you suggest? 🙂