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Maybe we could share some ideas for little helps. Here are a few that help us: 1) Avery No-iron Writable clothing labels (Amazon) they press on easy and are non irritating, 2) single serve flavored coffee creamer mom can carry to the dining room 3) having certain necessities like disposable undergarments delivered right to the AL so mom never runs out 4) making sure mom gets plenty of mail (friends and family have been great to remember).

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My wife was in a nursing home for over ten years...I would take different things each day...
A handful of old black and white photos to look though.
Our high school year book (Class of 1954. Classmates and sweethearts we were.)
Once in awhile our wedding photo album (black and white photos of course.)
Her old Betty Crocker cookbook and we'd look at and talk about some of her favorite recipes.
Supermarket advertising flyer...I'd have her help me make up a shopping list of bargains..
I'd say I wanted to bake a cake and tell her ingredients: butter, yes. Flour, yes. vanilla flavoring, yes. cup of sugar, yes. etc., etc., then I'd say
CUP of salt, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!. Fun....
Country home type magazines and page through them.
Vacation advertising flyers and I'd say, "Let's plan a vacation for when you get better and you get to get out of this joint and have some fun." (She was paralyzed, could not speak, dizzy at all times, but very alert...We both knew that she would never be "better" but when we talked like that she would get "out of her sick bed." That was my source of joy and my motivation.)

I did that stuff and more because I prayed to have a servant's heart and God answered me..I also did it because she was my sweetheart.

Grace + Peace,

Bob
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This isn’t exactly responsive to your question but it’s a tip that could save somebody a lot of pain and perhaps worse.

Two years ago when I was a youth of 87, my child bride who was 85 at the time, and I went to a local pub to get some ribs. I never got in the door. As I was about to walk in, I suddenly fell on my face which I hit on the door sill. It bled considerably, and somebody called 911. The paramedics seeing my location, seemed more interested in whether I was drunk than whether I was injured. Eventually I was taken to the hospital and received a few stitches and was released.

That was two years ago. Yesterday, I suddenly realized that I was again set up to take the same type of fall. The “set up” was my cane.

Two years ago after I was released from the hospital, I got into my car and noticed that the rubber tip that had been on the end of my came was on the floor of the car. It was then that I suddenly realized why I had fallen. Without the rubber tip on the cane, it has almost no friction at all on hard surfaces like marble, tile or concrete and when I put my weight on the cane it just slid out from under me. Of course I glued it back on and had no further problem with it until yesterday when somehow the rubber tip came off again. This time I glued it back on before anything else happened. I would share this bit of “knowledge learned the hard way”the with other cane users who might not paying attention to the condition at the other end of the cane.
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OldBob1936, your post made me smile. What a beautidul way to share memories with your dear wife. It seems your prayers have been answered and you do have a servants heart!
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My dad has been in AL for 3.5 years. Seasonal decor for his door and room.
Say hello and small talk with the aides and other staff members who take care of him.
I always have treats for dad in his room.
Get to know some of the other residents too.
Always visit with a smile on your face.
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Photos sent to your iPhone to share or mailed in those cards and letters. A place to display them.
Fresh flowers, a visit from animals or youth, regular assisted phone calls to friends and relatives. A fresh lipstick or favorite lotion or perfume. A hamburger or malt from a favorite Resturant. A new blouse or shirt. A haircut or new do. Music of a particular era. Hugs and kisses. A nice long visit. A pedicure. A manicure. So many things come to mind.
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Saying hi in passing or coming over to say hi when out and about. A friendly handshake. Nice UPS drivers and postal carriers. Fun receptionists and dental hygienists. Kind people who hold doors for bulky wheelchairs and smile encouragingly.
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Dear NightOwl,

A simple hello and how are you? means the world to me. Getting someone's favorite coffee or taking them out for a favorite meal.
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Go to visit, but keep them short. How old is old? I'm 'old' have a cell phone and a computer. Don't talk down to us. We get plenty of carbs, so fruit would be a better snack. We share magazines with other residents, so don't need that. My husband really likes the morning newspaper. Ask what they need and go get it. Always running out of things like toothpaste, shampoo. etc.
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Visits are the best. Mom has dementia so I put a DVD player in her room and we watch movies. She really loves the company. When it is warm she always likes to sit outside in the sun. Magazines are great because they give us a talking point. I am always trying to make sure mom is clean and shower her when i have time. She is modest and hates having others help her in this way. Also, be kind to people who work there. I have learned that many have multiple jobs. I have learned all of their names and gotten to know them. They work so hard for little pay and I want them to feel appreciated.
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My 74 year old friend is amazingly healthy but confined to AL due to short-term memory loss. Her greatest joy is escaping the confines - and the AL is within my community, so unless I'm pressed for time, I stop in for a few minutes just to say hello; also greet or chat a moment with those I pass in the common areas who also crave company or change of routine. I take my friend out to lunch or shopping, but more often I just pick her up to go to the grocery or cleaners or post office - whatever errand I'm on. For Christmas, I gave her an exercise trampoline (first getting consent from the AL Director and her family), which helps dissipate her buildup of emotional and physical energy for which there are so few outlets in a confining facility. At first, I committed to call daily...but she "hides" her phone for safekeeping, so the impromptu visits work better - and the smile on her face each time is well worth the few minute delay in my daily chores.
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