Holiday Gift Ideas for Skilled Nursing Facility and Assisted Living Residents

A pair of younger hands handing a present to another person with older, more wrinkled hands.

With the holiday season approaching, it is a good time to recognize there is an estimated 1.35 million people in the United States receiving care in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), and it is a special time for residents, employees, and communities. Employees throughout SNFs ensure the holidays are special for residents by decorating, planning holiday-themed activities, and enjoying special treats.

However, every little bit can help SNF residents have an even more special holiday season with gifts and donations. Below is a list of gift ideas for residents receiving care in a SNF or residing in an assisted living facility (ALF).

Books, Board Games, Crosswords & Puzzles:
While SNFs and ALFs often have an assortment of games for residents to enjoy, new board games are always welcome as it helps the residents socialize and keep their mind and bodies sharp. Adult coloring books have also gained popularity in the past several years and make a great gift for residents, so in addition to the coloring books, colored pencils and markers are perfect (not Crayons).

New jigsaw puzzles are a great idea as it gives residents new puzzles to work on during cold winter days while enjoying hot cocoa or tea. Other mind-challenging games like Scrabble is also popular.

Card games, such as Go Fish, are also popular with residents and can lead to lots of fun memories with other residents or family and friends visiting.

If gifting residents in a SNF books, please consider large-print (LP) books. The LP Bible, or audio version on a compact disc are both very popular for SNF residents. Crossword puzzle books are also popular and give residents a great activity they can do alone or with other residents.

Pillows, Blankets & Throws:
Residents in SNFs are often subject to temperature variances due to age and medications. Gifting blankets and throws so residents can help control their level of comfort is a great gift. However, make sure blankets are not too bulky and long that may become a tripping hazard. Fleece-lined or sherpa-lined blankets are a favorite for many people.

Additionally, fire-retardant pillows are also nice gifts that can go with blankets and throws during this time of the year.

Clothing & Accessories:
Comfortable clothing and accessories can make a great gift for residents in a SNF or ALF. Residents love new pajamas that are comfortable and warm, as well as sweatpants and sweatshirts. Please keep in mind that if getting socks for residents that they should have grips on the soles to help residents keep from falling. Slippers should also have hard soles and backs.

Male residents love baseball hats or beanies to help keep their heads warm.

Personal Items:
Another popular set of gifts for residents are personal items such as favorite body washes, shampoos and conditioners, and perfumes and colognes. Residents also love lotions they can use daily as the winter air dries out skin.

Snacks & Goodies:
Everyone loves snacks! The residents enjoy snacks such as potato chips, brownies, cookies (especially Christmas cookies), Little Debbie cakes and soda in bottles so they can put the cap back on and save some for later. To keep their tea or coffee warm – or those sodas cold – insulated cups and mugs make perfect gifts.

Picture Frames:
Making each resident’s room as homelike as possible is a great way for residents to feel at home and aid in their therapy and recovery. Picture frames or other art can help a resident decorate their room or other personal spaces. Pictures can also serve as memory prompts for residents that may be facing memory challenges.

Finally, a gift that would be special for SNF and ALF residents is the gift of time. Visiting with SNFs or ALFs through church or other special groups.

Residents in SNFs and ALFs already enjoy a wonderful holiday experience due to their care teams, families, friends, and community. However, if you are interested in making a resident’s holiday even more special, please consider an item from this list and contact a SNF or ALF near you to coordinate gifts or donations.

Author: Brandon S. Totten
Digital Media Coordinator, Kissito Healthcare