Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner, so I thought it would be a great time to make some gift suggestions for the older adult in your life, especially those living in an assisted living community during the pandemic that we are in.
Connection is the key this year. In a time where we should be socially distancing and many senior living communities have had to restrict or limit visitation, we still need to find ways to connect.
The best way to do this we have found is through devices such as tablets and cell phones that can allow virtual video chats.
Our residents truly enjoy connecting through FaceTime, Zoom and other video chatting platforms. Ipads are great, but costly, especially if you are just using them for FaceTime. Since the pandemic started many tech companies have been working fast and furiously to update their technology and offer more of a selection.
One great option is through Amazon and Alexa. The Echo Show is great for seniors. It serves as a clock, a timer, can set reminders, make video calls, share pictures and so much more! All of the reviews I have seen mention how great the speakers are in the Echo Show. You can also use a Kindle Fire through the Alexa app or any mobile device with the Alexa App can make video calls. Right now the Echo Show and Kindle Fires are on sale in honor of Black Friday!
Other items I am aware of include the Grandpad and Google Nest.
Another great idea is a digital photo frame that you can send pictures to from anywhere in the world! There are different brands of these including Aluratrek, Brookstone Photoshare, Nixplay, SimplySmart and Skylight.
For any electronic device, I would recommend setting up prior to gifting to alleviate and stress on your loved one.
Other items I have noticed some of our residents have that I think everyone would enjoy include TV/Sofa tray tables, the ones that slide under chairs and beds are sturdier and often larger than the simple TV tray you can purchase at Wal-Mart; bird feeders that suction cup to their windows; pajamas; robes; cool mist humidifier; and cushioned lap desks for coloring, reading or doing crossword puzzles.
Many of our residents are frequently looking for new crossword puzzle books or like to color and draw so I am sure they would appreciate being stocked up on these items.
Your loved one may appreciate a subscription for a newspaper or magazine. Currently, our guidelines do not allow us to share these items as a precautionary measure against spreading the virus.
For seniors who love books but can no longer see to read or hold a book, Amazon has an Audiobook program available that can be used on a Kindle. The Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicap out of Pittsburgh offers books on tape and a tape player that they will ship to your loved one for free.
North Central Sight Services in Williamsport also has a low vision store full of products on Reach Road for those with poor vision.
Last but not least, never underestimate the power of a simple letter or card in the mail. I think all of us can agree, it’s nice to be remembered.
I’m just going to come out and say it, this year has been challening and the holidays are going to be tough for all of us.
The second wave of the Coronavirus is back in full force as the days get colder and we are forced to be inside more, making socially distancing harder.
Whether we like it or not, the most responsible thing any of us can do this year is to celebrate the holidays with our household.
As the Administrator at Nippenose Valley Village, I have been dreading November and December for months. The question that has been turning over in my mind is, “how can I keep the morale of my resident and staff (ok and myself) up during the Holidays?”
The answer? By spreading CHEER.
Spreading CHEER is not just running around with a smile on your face they can’t see under the mask, telling people to turn their frown upside down, although I admit, I do that! It’s also a little acronym I came up with:
Continue to socially distance. This protects me, my family, my staff and my residents. I limit my exposure by using parking lot delivery services for groceries whenever possible and ordering presents online.
Hand wash frequently and mask up. Washing hands in hot soapy water for 20 seconds often and wearing a clean mask is the best thing you can do besides socially distancing to kill germs and viruses you may come in contact with. When you can’t get to a sink, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Explore different options. Just because we can’t conduct many of our traditions this year, doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the holidays. Could one person cook the meal and deliver it in containers to everyone, then use a video chat service to pretend you’re all together? What about an outdoor picnic with a bon-fire? Could you celebrate in person with your co-workers instead of family, because, let’s face it, we’re all in this together. Maybe you could celebrate Christmas in July with your loved ones in six months!
Encourage virtual visits. We are so lucky to live in an age where technology allows virtual visits. There are many ways to do this, though FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Amazon Echo Show, and I’m sure there are others I am not aware of! We have purchased an ipad to help our residents with seeing their loves ones. A great gift this year for the holidays would be a phone, tablet, grandpad, Echo Show or other device they could use to video chat anytime!
Remember this is temporary! If we all work together, socially distance and practice the CDC guidelines, we will get through this sooner than later!
We’re all tired of this pandemic. It’s natural to get a little grumpy now and then at this situation, but whether we choose to have a negative or a positive attitude, we still have to get through this. So, this year why don’t you join me in Spreading CHEER, not COVID this holiday season!