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Family began asking what they could get my mom for Christmas this year. She is in an assisted living facility studio apartment with very limited room (we had to discard so very much to even get her moved in). She has no need for things, clothes or even money or gift cards at this point. I did suggest that my niece write a letter about memories of her grandmother, but was wondering if anyone had other ideas that were worthwhile and appreciated? Thinking of you all this holiday season.

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Take a look at mygrandbox It's monthly care package curated for seniors. It's a great gift for someone living in an assisted living facility.
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Books on tape or DVDs these days. They need not take up space as she can pass them on to other residents. Large print books are also good ,less tiring than having to keep her reading glasses on. A gift certificate to have a hairdresser come in
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Does she have one of those electronic picture frames, that will show a stream of 500 snapshots? My MIL keeps hers running all of the time. Relatives could pay a bill. My MIL still has plenty of monthly bills. I am sending my mother, magazines that I have already read, cookies, a sweater, and I will give her dollar bills for her hairdresser.
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I told my family for Mom its what she can feel and/or hear. Loves music and furry socks and blankets. I also have a small wrap you can heat up in the microwave. I highly recommend the Lawrence Welk Memories and Milestones DVD, its over 2 hours long and all the old songs. Its expensive but so very worth it. Its on Amazon along with others, elvis, willy nelson, mary poppins, sound of music, etc my Mom has them all because she can hardly see.
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I would love it if my siblings would just call me, if or when they show up to visit Mom so I can get out of here while they visit!!
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i think an elder needs as comfortable of seating as possible. they can develope pressure sores from sitting on bones that have lost muscle mass. there are some pretty good seat cushions for sale nowdays for 15 - 25 bucks. my mom got an electric recliner a month or so before she passed away and no matter what it cost it made her life more pleasurable.
i just finished reading a book about the moonshiners of virginia. i know this is a bit off topic but nonetheless comical. an old bootlegger was on his deathbed and a preacher was trying to differentiate heaven and/ or hell to him. the old guy had had such a hard life that he proclaimed that either place sounded better than he was used to. great book. tales of the moonshine trade.
anyway, some seat cushions are gel filled and some are even relieved to accomodate hemmorhoids.
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As Geewiz suggested, my Dad loves outings.

At 91, he is learning to use the electric carts in stores and has a lot of fun following us around the wide aisles at Home Depot or the grocery store. He almost never knocks things over. When he does, we laugh, pick them up and keep moving. This kind of outing gives him a change of pace. Sometimes, we just take him for a drive out into the country or up in the mountains. Again, a change of scenery seems to cheer him up.

The other thing that he appreciates is being taken out for lunch or dinner. He has gotten bored with the food where he lives and so a change is always welcome. He doesn't eat much, so we get a to-go box which sits in the frig until I throw it away sometime later.

A thing that I am thinking of getting Dad this year is an electronic frame loaded with pictures of friends and family. I will load it up and leave it running next to his comfortable chair. That way, he can see familiar faces and places whenever he wants.
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- A really big schoolroom style clock that's battery operated. The kind with a traditional black & white face & numbers. And then hang it for them in their room.
- A large print magazine subscription
- A bulletin board - if they can still do & be OK with push pins then a cork board. But if push pins are too iffy for them to handle, then a metal one and magnets to go on it. For my mom when she was in IL, they had so many "hand-outs" from weekly activities info, monthly schedule, menu's, etc that she had 2 metal boards (Ikea) and lots of bright big magnets (Ikea kid dept and some from Office Depot). When she moved to NH, had them up but the cutest magnets "walked" so if you do this, think about how much traffic might go into her room before you get some that she would be upset if they walk. If you go to trade shows for work, there always are someone giving out magnets and the nice hefty ones too.
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Flowers could be a good idea if she is not allergic. They only live a short time so they don' take up permanent space. A wreath for her front door would be good this time of year.
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Money or gift cards may not be needed, but greeting cards and/or letters almost always are welcome. Ideally there is a short (or long) personal note in each commercial card. Hand-made cards, by crafters or kiddies, generally are day-brighteners. Personally selected cards, whether for the holiday or just Thinking of You cards, almost always get a smile. And getting something in snail mail other than advertisement circulars -- priceless! You could see that Mom has a basket to hold all the cards, so she can easily look through them anytime.

If Mom is a tea drinker and there are limited kinds of tea available in the dining room, perhaps a nice assortment of tea would be welcome. That is the kind of thing that takes knowledge of Mom and also of the facility. You are the one who could come up with that kind of suggestion. The family is lucky to have you to consult with.

My Mom loves crossword books. They have the advantage of being consumable -- once she fills it out, it can be recycled and not take up room.

If many family members live close, then individual visits would be great. And/or a group event in the facility's community room, if Mom is up to the commotion of a "party."

My Mom (93, dementia) is still in position to receive material things. If she gets new pajamas, my sister will simply retire her raggiest pair to the rag bag. But I know that she also loves just getting cards. My husband did not really need any material things, though at least we had room for it if someone gave him a shirt. But my husband definitely LOVED getting personal mail.

Keep those cards and letters coming, folks!
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Tell them to plan a visit to your Mom. If she is able and they can handle it, an outing might be appreciated. A trip to an ice cream parlor or to a park to see kids run and play might be a big hit. Under an hour and back to her facility. The letters and memory books can be a big hit. Some homemade goodies for Mom to bring to her dinner table, it can make her a hero. It all depends upon what your Mom is interested in or capable of. A magazine or newspaper subscription? CDs if she is a music lover AND able to handle the player. Try to give concrete ideas b/c without them, people come up with the strangest items!
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