Games/Recreation Gifts Nursing Home

Holders for Playing Cards

Image of a Blue Plastic Playing Card HolderPlaying cards is a favorite pastime for many people, and a fine way to spend time companionably during a nursing home or sick room visit when conversation lags. Depending on the game, even very young children and adults of all abilities can join in.

Everyday Gear Gifts

Pin Holders to Keep Reading Glasses Close

Image of Hat-Shaped Glasses HolderThose of us who have worn eyeglasses forever — say from early elementary school — don’t have to worry much about where we set them down. If your uncorrected sight is as limited as mine is, you learn very quickly to put those babies in the same place every night.

At Home Books DIY Everyday Gear Gifts Nursing Home

Handmade Helps for Disabled Living

Image of Cover of Handmade Helps BookThe other night when my husband was searching our bookshelves for a copy of Eros and Magic in the Renaissance (don’t ask), he found a copy of a marvelous book I’d picked up years ago. Handmade Helps for Disabled Living (by Stuart Grainger) is a compendium of ideas and projects designed to make living with various disabilities easier.

At Home Games/Recreation Gifts Nursing Home

Stimulating Imagination – Storytelling Images

Image of Endless Landscape Laid OutVisits to a nursing home are a critical component of caring for a resident, and rewarding for everyone involved. There’s no denying, though, that they can be difficult as well. If the visits are daily, the difficulties compound — how do you make the time interesting rather than dull and repetitious? Conversation can falter, imagination fail. How do you make interactions mentally stimulating?

At Home DIY Games/Recreation Gifts Nursing Home

Marble Run for Dexterity and Better Hand Coordination

Image of Wooden Marble Run GamesWhen coordination is difficult, whether from age, injury, surgery or a disability, playing can be the best medicine. These marble run sets are made of wooden blocks with grooves or holes. You stack and arrange the blocks so that marbles roll through them, practicing dexterity all the while.

At Home Everyday Gear Gifts

Shoehorn With a Sense of Humor

IKEA Omsgorg ShoehornAh, IKEA, how did we ever manage without you? On our last visit we picked up another one of those basic essentials for good living — a long-handled shoehorn. No household is complete without one — but IKEA, as ever, carries the idea one (dare I say it?) step better: This shoehorn is a serpent. Turn it so that the hook faces you and you’ll be looking directly into the snakely visage. A shoehorn with a sense of humor — it’s what the world needs now.

Omsorg Shoehorn at IKEA (it’s on the Singapore site, but in stock, this week at least, in Plymouth Meeting in the good old US of A).

At Home Gifts Good Stuff Kids Nursing Home

Love, Imagination, and Human Interaction

Bella a Golden Retriever PuppyBlondie, my dad’s loyal companion, got a Christmas present herself this year: Oscar, a Golden Retriever puppy from the same company that made Blondie. Oscar (that’s the name Dad chose — on the website, the Douglas Company shows the same puppy named ‘Bella’) is full of spunk and personality. His arrival has sparked a lot of conversation — Blondie was clearly nonplussed when this little upstart showed up. But she’s learned to defer to the obstreperous youngster, and they’re fast pals now.

At Home Everyday Gear Gifts Nursing Home

Golden Retriever — Reacher/Grabber with a Different Grip

After years of faithful service, my dad’s old reaching tool finally bit the dust when the grabbing blades somehow got twisted sideways, probably in an encounter between a power chair and the wall.

Golden Retriever ReacherA couple of weeks ago, I picked this one up as a replacement. The central rod is gold-colored metal — yes, it’s a “Golden Retriever.” On the face of it, this was a natural for Dad — just the phrase ‘Golden Retriever’ pleases him immensely. On a more practical note, though, Dad prefers this grabber’s handle to the pistol-style of the old one. The Golden Retriever handle is kind of U-shaped — you put your hand into the U, with your thumb around a bar across the top. You pull a lower bar with your fingers to close the grabber. Very little pressure is required.

The flat grip, as opposed to the pistol-style grip, seems to give my dad a greater sense of control. (Although I’m not sure he’d feel the same way if he were reaching for cans on an overhead shelf — I think most people might prefer the pistol grip in that case.) The packaging says that you can pick up a dime with it. I haven’t tried that, but it does pick up a nickel from industrial carpeting, which I thought was a pretty neat trick.

Whether it can stand up to less-than-delicate use by dad remains to be seen, but I’m betting it will. The construction is solid, and the gripper arms look carefully designed, with sturdy fittings. Because it’s flat (the grabbers aren’t at right angles to the handle, as they are in the pistol-grip style), it’s easier to store, too, and, as a result, might be less likely to be squashed by an errant wheelchair.

Golden Retriever at (I kid you not!)

Dad also has a different Golden Retriever companion at his nursing home — read about her here

Gifts Good Stuff Wheelchairs

Spoke Guards for Wheelchairs

flames spokesguardsyinyang spokesguardsThey’re not cheap, but wah-hoo, are they fun! Is your wheelchair looking ho-hum? Does someone you love need a really original gift? Spokeguard Art may be the answer.

If not, you’ll still have a blast checking out all these wheelchair spoke guards — categories include designs for children’s wheelchairs, animal-lovers, space-fiends, former flower children, sports fanatics and more.

dolphin spokeguardsgarden spokesDon’t let the home page scare you — the rest of the site’s much better designed. It’s also friendly, but a little amateurish — and there’s no indication of shipping costs. You might want to email or call before making a commitment.

At Home Games/Recreation Gifts Nursing Home


When medicine and my dad first collided, it was a shock to him. His attitude toward his medical problems was, well, consumerist. He’d buy surgical services, and the surgeons would fix everything. End of story.