Think of your favorite room at home. What’s in it? Comfortable things? Beautiful things? Colorful things? Are there things to do, to see, smell, taste, feel, and hear? There are probably sentimental treasures. More than likely there are things that might tell someone what you like, where you’ve been, and a little of who you are. And all the things in your favorite room at home are familiar.
These are the things we want for nursing home residents. In their rooms, they should be surrounded by all the things they love.
If you have a family member or friend in a nursing home here are 11 ideas for helping your loved one individualize his or her room.
- Photos-Adding photos of family and friends may be comforting and familiar. Add framed photographs to walls or sit on a nightstand. Photographs can also be arranged in photo albums and brought out when visiting or anytime your loved one wants to look at them. Staff members can also assist a resident in looking at an album when visiting.
- Favorite colors-These can be added to bedspreads, pillows, throws, lap blankets, clothes, purses, or bags for walkers or wheelchairs.
- Furniture-Many homes allow residents to bring in a favorite chair or other pieces of furniture. Check with individual homes on what can be brought in.
- Favorite/sentimental things-This could be special knick-knacks, a teddy bear, a doll, or an autographed picture. This could also be a memento from a vacation such as a basket of seashells.
- Things to do-This depends on interests. Reading materials such as favorite books and/or magazines, crafts, games, cards, puzzles, mazes, coloring, painting, etc…These are activities they may do on their own or can be done when someone visits with them.
- Hand-made items from children. Seniors are always so delighted to receive hand-made gifts of all kinds to display and brag about.
- Things to help loved ones stay connected-This could mean a telephone for some, writing materials (greeting cards, notecards, with envelopes and stamps) for others. For some, staying connected may simply mean receiving greeting cards and displaying them on a nightstand or saving them in a scrapbook to look at. Still for others who are technologically savvy this may mean a tablet or a computer. Staying connected means different things for different people.
- TV and music-If either of these are an interest. Make a list of favorite TV shows and times and share with staff as needed. Likewise make a list of favorite radio stations and music. Favorite music can also be listened to on cd players, IPODS, and MP3 players if this is something your loved one would be comfortable using.
- Living Things-Plants, dogs, cats, fish, or birds may have been a part of a residents household in the past. Although plants are usually never an issue, check with individual homes regarding their policies on pets. Many homes have pets that already live there or have therapy pets that visit regularly. Ask staff to make sure your older family member gets visited if this is something he or she would enjoy.
- Snacks they love-Talk to staff members about bringing in snacks for your loved one.
- PEOPLE!-Family members, children, friends, staff members, and volunteers can be invited to be visitors to your family members room. When you cannot visit ask that a clergy person (if this is an interest) or volunteer visit with your loved one. See 15 Things to Bring When Visiting