Friday, February 23, 2007

Care facility gift shop suggestions

If I were to open a gift shop for family and friends visiting anyone at a medical care facility, some of my suggestions would include …

Artifical flower arrangements! ... Cut flowers soon to ‘die’ are not the best thought out gifts. Living plants aren’t much better. They demand ‘care’. Staff already has plenty to do with patients.

Toiletries are gifts! Facility or hospital provided toiletries are boring. Tasty brand name toothpaste, deodorant, a favorite or nostalgic after shave (Old Spice, Bay Rum), a fun scented body mist spray, hand lotion, and ‘real’ facial tissue, etc. are MORE than appreciated.

Socks ... are a fashion statement when you spend your day in a wheel chair, because pants' legs ride upwhen sitting all day. Patti likes her socks ‘loud’ and comfy. (TIP – Check the sock ribbing. Tight is bad, comfortable is what it is all about.)

Potpourri can create an oasis. Incontinence and health problems generate odors and facility air circulators take time to work. A basket of fresh potpourri in a room is marvelous. We stock up on ‘holiday’ potpourri at Christmas time and simply refresh Patti's basket regularly. 

Sleep machines with under pillow speakers are perfect for blocking out institutional noises or competing sounds of other patients. Radio Shack offers models in the $20 range or you can spend over $100 for designer type models. They all work exactly the same surrounding your head in choices of soothing sounds (falling rain, surf, rolling train, etc) assisting sleep.

Aromatherapy ‘sleep’ pillow spray takes the edge off institutional starched clean pillow cases and helps surround your loved one in a personal sleep atmosphere. A super comfortable personal pillow makes a great additional gift. Institutional pillows suck!

Febreeze or any fabric odor neutralizer is thoughtful. Unlike a chair in a home, a wheelchair is lived in and the chair and cushion can use daily freshening up while the occupant sleeps.

A Permanent Marker for labeling ALL personal items ‘prevents’ disputes.

An Oversized Wall Calendar is ideal for tracking visitors, outings, upcoming family and personal dates and easily viewed. Helpful both for visitors and the patient when memory is a challenge.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer


  1. Patrick,
    Those are also great suggestions for people who do not live  in a care factility, but can not shop for themselves! I always have problems finding the perfect gift sometimes....


  2. (((((((((((((((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU)))))))))))))))))))))))))Wow,you thought alot about this,great ideas.I would like to try the free breeze.I hope you have a nice weekend.

  3. Very well thought out Patrick.  People sometimes have so much on their minds they end up getting things the patient could never use.  I like the Sleep Machine, some of my brother's patients have ipods now, you should see all these old folks lying abed with their pods, listening to Glenn Miller.  Music/sound is so important for these souls.  Thanks for sharing.  CATHY

  4. Wonderful wonderful wonderful.  You should print these up and so they can give them to visitors and family members.


  5. These are quite practical suggestions... I hadn't thought about the potpourri... I remember my grandmother had incontinence, and I only know that in looking back. I only remember the odor of walking into her home. As a child, I never really knew why her house smelled like old urine. No one ever explained it to us kids. But now, having suffered an occasional bout with stress incontinence, I understand the problems associated with it, and remember my grandmother. How she could have used some of the convenient products we have today to make a person's life more comfortable and livable. No wonder she didn't like to go anywhere in public. If she had had potpourri or febreeze, how much nicer her home would have smelled. I'll keep these in mind when I go visiting someone in health care, or even someone homebound. Bea

  6. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,when my husband was in a care facility for three months, a friend brought him flowers in a container the size of the old film canisters.  It was tiny and would sit anywhere. Some facilities have so little space for flowers.  Everyone admired the tiny arrangements.  I found a rather attracive small crystal glass at a thrift shop and took a tiny arrangement to a friend who was ill, she told everyone about her tiny flower arrnagement and how nice to not have the big arrangements that covered so much space.

  7. ooooo--let's add cards that have funny sayings and don't say things like--you're in gods care or get well soon--even thinking of you is better than that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I also think post cards with pretty pictures would be nice--they could be hung up to brighten rooms.

    Coloring books and crayons would be a good one to keep little (and big) children from getting bored and would give the person something to hang up on the wall when they left!

  8. Wonderful, well thought out ideas! Thanks for sharing! (Hugs) Indigo


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