Miss being able to just drop in on a dear friend or relative at the assisted living or nursing home? Odds are they miss us even more. Long-term healthcare facilities are not only on lockdown, but social distancing measures have even been implemented inside of them. Long stretches without family interactions or even a card game with friends can be a real challenge. Plenty of studies have directly linked a strong support system to mental wellness and a longer life. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.
The government is already drafting guidelines for reopening nursing homes — but in the meantime, a carefully chosen gift can comfort loved ones, stave off boredom and keep them connected despite the physical distance. We found some pretty great options, from clever keepsake journals and audiobook players to a pair of next-level lamps that communicate through LED light signals. Pick the one that fits their personality best and it’ll be the next best thing to being there.
Digital Photo Frame ($53.99; amazon.com)
Forget flipping through photo albums. Upgrade mom to a digital photo frame that loops through a slideshow of digital photos while sitting pretty on her bedside table like a 7-inch picture frame. She may not be able to see the family in person yet, but she can relive all her best memories with them all day long. This gadget can hold thousands of photos and can even be set to music. FIll it up before sending it to keep it simple.
Preserved Fresh Eternity Rose ($22.99; amazon.com)
This ‘eternal rose’ may not last forever, but it’ll certainly see loved ones through self-quarantine — and then some. The box holds one jumbo rose that will survive and thrive for up to three years with zero upkeep: not a single ounce of water or sunlight. The secret is a nontoxic preservation process that results in a seemingly magical, mood-enhancing bouquet that brightens a bland nursing home bedroom effortlessly.
Coloring And Classics Subscription Box ($14/month; cratejoy.com)
Combat boredom with a care package chock full of enough puzzle books, coloring books and hardcover novels to keep their imaginations active and problem-solving skills sharp. The company will ship out a starter pack, colored pencils included, within two business days. Curate reading selections based on genre and choose a one-time order or opt for monthly deliveries.
Tranquility 12-pound Weighted Blanket ($49; target.com)
Sleep patterns and circadian rhythms change as a natural part of the aging process, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Throw in the uneasiness of social distancing and it’s a recipe for shoddy shut-eye. A weighted blanket can be a game-changer. It’s known to alleviate anxiety and promote deep, restful sleep — and may be especially comforting for those who miss the feel of a hug. A 12-pound version suits anyone who weighs 100 to 150 pounds.
Caspari Secret Garden Large Type Playing Cards, 2 Decks Included ($16.50; amazon.com)
When social distancing is behind them, they’ll get to play bridge or poker — but in the meantime, there’s no shame in a game of solitaire. These playing cards bear watercolor flower designs on one side and large-sized font on the other. Two standard decks of 52 cards each will arrive in a gold gift box for safekeeping. We call that a pretty good deal.
Dreamy Positano 1000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle ($28.99; amazon.com)
They may be staying in, but that doesn’t mean they can’t transport themselves to a faraway place. This jigsaw puzzle scene features a photo of one of Italy’s most iconic coastal towns, Positano, and has 1,000 pieces so it will keep them busy for… a while. Added bonus: Jigsaw puzzles have also been proven to be good for visual and spatial cognition. For more jigsaw inspiration, see all of our favorite puzzles.