Do you have a senior friend or loved one who is in the hospital or recovering from injury or illness at home? In these situations, people often feel isolated and alone because they can’t get out and do the things they enjoy. One way to send a little extra cheer your friend’s way is to put together a care package with things that will help pass the time, make them more comfortable, or bring a smile to their face. Care packages say “I’m thinking of you,” and they can be a great way to let someone know they are loved.
If you need ideas about what to include or how to deliver your package, the list below will help you get started.
Senior Care Package Ideas
Start by asking some basic questions: Does the person live near you or will you have to mail the package? Would you like to deliver a one-time gift or do something on a monthly basis? How can you package your items so they arrive intact? Consider the following options:
- Shipped Boxes. If you will be shipping your care package in the mail, choose a sturdy cardboard box or pick up a mailing box from the post office. Use plenty of packing material to keep items safe during their journey, and choose items that aren’t fragile. For example, a batch of your famous homemade snickerdoodles may turn into crumbs by the time they reach your friend through the mail.
- Decorative Baskets or Containers. If your friend lives near you, you can create a beautiful basket or box filled with all their favorite things (this would be a perfect time to include those homemade snickerdoodles!).
- Care Package Subscription. There are many subscription box options available online these days. Some are designed especially with seniors in mind, and others follow a theme such as beauty box, a tea subscription, or even a fun pair of socks each month.
What Should You Include In Your Care Package?
Care packages should reflect the interests and tastes of the recipient. As you choose what to include, consider what the person enjoys doing, what special treats they love, or what hobbies and interests they have.
What does the person enjoy doing? If they are confined to a bed or chair, what activities can you send to help relieve boredom and keep them occupied?
- Crossword puzzles and pens
- Sudoku puzzles
- Adult coloring books and colored pencils or markers
- A cross-stitch pattern
- Books or magazines
- A deck of cards or a favorite game
- A Netflix or Amazon movie subscription
Food or Special Treats
What dietary needs does the person have? Do they have any dietary restrictions? What favorite snacks or treats could you include that support those guidelines?
- Fruit basket
- Specialty tea
- Freezer meals
- Homemade cookies or bread
- Favorite candy or snacks
- Gift cards to favorite takeout restaurant
Personal Care Items
What personal care items or toiletries does the person need? What could you give that would make them feel pampered? Have there been any physical changes that may create a need for new or different personal care products?
- Lotion (Medicated or favorite fragrance)
- Dry shampoo
- Travel size items for the hospital (before a surgery or in the event of a long hospital stay)
- Foot scrub
What things could help the person feel comfortable and cozy? What do they enjoy? What would bring a smile to their face?
- Lap blanket or throw
- Fuzzy socks or slippers
- Journal and special pens
- Knitted scarf
- Playlist of favorite songs burned onto a CD
- Himalayan salt lamp
- Decorative plant or flowers
A Personal Touch
As you fill your care package with fun surprises, remember that the most meaningful gift is often something personal or sentimental. Add a personal touch to your care package with one of these ideas:
- Framed photograph of the two of you or a family photograph
- Handwritten card expressing your care and concern
- Something handmade
- “Coupons” for things you can do (housecleaning, making a meal, grocery shopping, walking the dog, etc.)
- Get well cards drawn by your children or grandchildren
Perhaps the most important way you can make a difference is to be sure your friend or loved one has enough help at home while they recover. When you stop by, take note of how the house looks and how well the person is able to get around. If you are concerned, ask how they are doing and consider whether you could gently suggest additional care. Knowing you care may be just the support they need to reach out for help.