The ongoing coronavirus pandemic battle and visitation restrictions in nursing homes and other long-term care communities are taking a toll on loved ones and community members with memory impairment and mobility issues as well as the healthcare workers that care for them daily during the holiday season. The beauty of the season blooms from the kindness we show to our community and those we love. The holidays truly mark a season to spread joy, peace, kindness and caring. Giving to others can be the best gift many people receive all year. As we miss our loved ones this year, many of us begin to think of what we can do to assist others who may be alone and in need.
During the holiday season and year-round, millions of seniors are suffering while trying to meet their basic needs. About 56 percent of seniors age 80+ reported a severe disability and 29 percent of the same population reported needing assistance. There are many everyday items we take for granted that can be donated to seniors. See the list of ten useful items perfect for making a difference this holiday season:
Blankets, Throws, or Shawls
According to a recent article on agingcare.com, seniors can become “dangerously chilled because they have less fat, slower circulation, and a more sluggish metabolism. A senior can even become hypothermic while indoors.” Receiving a blanket or shawl can warm the body and the heart.
Soaps and Lotions
Soaps and lotions are simple items that give a touch of comfort to seniors. Be mindful of common allergens and care facility rules when you are donating.
Recent statistics from the National Council on Aging suggest, "25 million or more Americans aged 60+ are economically insecure—living at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. The federal poverty level is $29,425 per year for a single person." Purchasing basic items like disposable undergarments may be a hardship.
Comfortable socks are more than a cozy accessory. They have health benefits excellent for maintaining senior wellness. Wearing socks helps regulate body temperature, reduce strain on feet and provides protection from germs or diseases, in some cases, according to medical and industry experts.
A set of comfortable towels may be a perfect touch of home or kind luxury often overlooked for a senior in need. Towels are a great sensory related gift
Denture adhesive, cleanser, or holders
According to the dental experts featured in the Journal of International Oral Health, loose painful teeth or ill-fitting dentures may result in a reduced desire or ability to eat contributing to poor eating habits. For seniors with health problems who are living on a fixed income, basics like these are a big need.
Senior Friendly Manicure Kits
Many older adults have nails that are hard to cut or reach. Donating a nail kit that works well for clipping for thick toenails, or is easy to use with hands that may not exert a strong grip can be particularly useful.
Fresh Fruit, snacks, or non-perishable food items
Healthy snacks are a great way to show you care and give seniors an item they need. Be sure to check on dietary restrictions prior to donating these items.