We often forget that for those people living in Long term care, visits from their relatives and friends can sometimes be an infrequent and rare occurrence whether because of time pressures or travel costs. It is at times like these when the idea of a Comfort Package can be a simple way of providing well-being for a loved one who you are unable to visit regularly. In this article, we have looked at some of the simple examples of potential ideas for such a package
Personal items of comfort
Some of the items suggested are items that one might have if they were living at home, simple personal items such as lip balm, aftershave, deodorant, perfume. Remember you will best know your loved one’s preferred scent and often it is these familiar aromas that often bring the greatest comfort. Other personal items such as soft socks, bath-robe or a soft fluffy blanket can be very comforting for the Resident to hold.
Essential oils can be of huge benefit with the relaxing aromas they permeate, again a favourite scent can provide great comfort.
Items to provide entertainment
A day in the life of your family member in a Care facility can be varied. Often there will be entertainment, but for the quieter days here are some ideas to enhance interaction. Simple puzzles and jigsaws are always a favourite or a pack of playing cards or crossword books. If the size of the print is an issue there are many selections out there for the visually impaired which can aid the Resident with poor vision. Downloading books to a screen can be very beneficial for the readers as you can adjust the size of the print to suit the individual.
We have some residents in Beech tree who are already set up with their own tablet or I-pad so they have access to skype. This is a great way for them to speak with and see their families and friends whether at home or abroad.
If you have younger family members, they may enjoy making a scrapbook for your relative to look through, with pictures and items that are personal to them. This can bring great joy to the Resident and hours of fun while they peruse through the pages.
Board games are a great way for grandchildren to interact with their elders and a nice way to spend quality time without any need for conversation if they so wish.
Fidget blankets or even a soft ball can be so beneficial for our dementia residents, they help keep the hands moving freeing up the joints and preventing any contractures or contorted fingers. The blankets are also wonderful to look at with stimulating bright colours and soft textures to provide tactile comfort. They can be simply made by sewing buttons, Velcro and other different textures onto a colourful piece of material, however it is important to ensure each item is securely sewn on.
A lot of our residents really enjoy music and by setting up a CD player or downloading tunes to a tablet, this can bring music into their lives. A radio is also an item that a lot of our elders grew up listening to every day. It can provide many hours of news, sport and general reminiscence taking them back in time to their youth and helping them connect to the goings on of day to day life.
There can be some foods and snacks that may bring great comfort to your loved one, please feel free to check with the Nurse in charge and if the food poses no risk these can brought in on visits. It is often nice to bring in fruit baskets or a selection of snacks that you know your loved one would have desired when at home.
Children & Pets
Sometimes the greatest joy an elderly person can feel is their interaction with small children and animals, so if they have grandchildren or a favourite pet, we encourage you to bring them along when you visit. It is so important to keep these relationships alive. Children should be encouraged to interact as much as possible with colouring, board games or card games and pets are welcome in Beechtree anytime. After all, it is the Resident’s home.
Wishing you all the very best of visits.