Think back to college, or even summer camp. What was one of the most wonderful memories you have of these awesome times? You just might recall receiving a care package or two. The perfect care package should be a mix of functional and fun and leave the recipient feeling warm and fuzzy. Whether your senior loved one is in an Alzheimer's care community or resides in an independent senior living community, they're sure to enjoy receiving a care package from you. Here are some ideas to include in your gift:
Large print books
If your senior loved one enjoys reading, add some books to the care package. Look for large print ones to make it easy on his or her eyes. Find a genre he or she enjoys and see what new volumes are available. Or, send a little nostalgia in the form of a book he or she once loved, like something from childhood. Maybe he or she used to read a particular book to you – include that in your care package to jog his or her memory.
Personal hygiene items
It's nice to add some personal hygiene items to your package. Things like a hairbrush, toothpaste and lotion are much appreciated, especially if they're a little fancier than what the senior might buy for him or herself. Opt for items with a scent that you know he or she would enjoy, or choose unscented products if you're not sure what is preferred.
"The best gifts are often homemade."
The best gifts are often homemade. Are you a crafter or a baker? Give some of your handmade products to your senior loved one. He or she may love a crocheted blanket that you created from scratch. And baked goods are always a hit, from brownies and cakes to breads and even doughnuts. Just be sure you're aware of any dietary restrictions he or she may have before you send food items.
What does your care package recipient consider to be a treat? He or she may be a big fan of tea, chocolate or flavored popcorn. Include some of these tasty items in your care package. He or she will appreciate your thoughtfulness while munching away. Your senior loved one may even share the treats with caregivers or use them to make friends at his or her assisted living retirement community. You'll be feeding his or her sweet (or salty) tooth and helping him or her make friends – everyone wins!
The most meaningful part of a care package can come in the form of a letter. Let the senior know about what's going on in your family's lives. Did your daughter score a goal in soccer last week? Maybe your son made the honor roll for his first time. Share this information with the senior to keep him or her in-the-know about what's happening and jog his or her memory, especially if your loved one lives in an Alzheimer's community.
Unless your senior loved one is tech-savvy, he or she probably isn't seeing all the fun stuff you post on social media or share over emails. Place some photographs in your package to brighten the recipient's day. Take some fun shots of last week's family bowling outing and even a picture of your trusted dog Rusty. If the senior has Alzheimer's, these will be particularly appreciated if you label who is in the photo and where they are. That way he or she can view them repeatedly and even study them to better recall who is who. If you live far away this is a particularly treasured present.
Some seniors have a really difficult time getting around and that can prevent them from spending much time outside of their room or apartment. You can help keep him or her occupied by sending some activity books in your care package. Add Sudoku, word finds and crossword puzzles to keep his or her brain active. Look for larger print options if possible, as they're more approachable to well-used eyes.
Don't forget to decorate the package! Wrap individual parts of the gift or just add some color to the exterior with markers or glitter. Your kids can help with this! Your senior loved one will be very appreciative of the effort and thought that went into putting together a care package.