Assisted living facilities will likely be one of the last places to lift COVID-19 restrictions due to the age of residents and their vulnerability to the virus. Residents must abide by social distancing guidelines and cannot have visitors but there are ways to stay connected, from window visits to care packages.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Care Package Ideas for Your Older Mother or Aunt
- Care Package Ideas for Your Older Father or Uncle
- Care Package Ideas for an Older Friend
If you choose to send a care package, that’s great! First, make sure you learn the policies of your loved one’s facility. The virus can live on packages and the facility might need to hold your care package a few days before your loved one can have it. Avoid anything that may go bad or need refrigeration!
Even so, you can still have fun with the items you include and it will make a fun quarantine care package surprise for your loved one.
Care Package Ideas for Your Mother or Aunt
Be a great long-distance caregiver with these care package ideas for your mom or aunt!
It might sound boring, but the bookworm in your life will always accept a new book.
Pro tip: Choose a book you can read at the same time and have a virtual book club over video chat.
2. Medication and supplements
It might be your job as your mom or aunt’s caregiver to get your loved one her medication, and in that case, this will need to be a part of your box. You can also throw in other important and similar items she may need, such as:
- Cough drops
Pro tip: Stock up on hand sanitizer and other hygiene items to help your mom or aunt stay clear of the virus!
Chances are, your loved one is spending a lot of time in her room at assisted living and one way to keep that a nice place is to have a soothing candle burning.
Pro tip: Got a forgetful loved one? No worries, she can still enjoy the scent of a candle with wax warmers that plug in instead of a traditional candle flame.
COVID-19 has interfered with many events and get-togethers. Many events have been changed or limited in size. If your loved one couldn’t come to a drive-by birthday celebration or another get-together, take photos and send them on!
Pro tip: Think of your loved one before the event to ensure enough photos are taken. You might also have people hold up signs saying “We miss you!” for a photo!
Be sure to keep your loved one connected with the appropriate technology. If your loved one doesn't have a tablet or phone, now is the time to include that in your care package. There are many affordable tablets and phones that do the trick!
Pro tip: Technology can be confusing, especially to older adults who didn’t grow up with it. Open up any technology, set it up and add any needed apps to it before sending it to them. Alternatively, you can let the activities coordinator at the facility know and they can assist with set up!
6. Home decor
Similar to gifting a candle, nice home decor can help the struggle your loved one might feel in staying confined for so long. With the changing seasons and coming holidays, decor can vary and be a fun way to bring new life to your loved one’s rooms.
Pro tip: Do you have some bored kiddos at home? Create some DIY decor with paintings and other crafts for your loved one to hang on her walls!
Care Package Ideas for Your Father or Uncle
You might have a stir-crazy father or uncle in your life who would benefit from some change and excitement during the boring days of staying inside. Think about what he would be doing if he could get out and about and bring it to him!
If your loved one is used to getting out for a drink with friends or is dying for that outdoor barbeque with a beer in hand, consider giving him some alcoholic beverages. Of course, it’s important to check that your loved one can have alcohol in the facility. If he can, you’re in the clear.
Pro tip: Choose drinks your loved one has never tasted before or opt for a variety pack.
8. Grooming supplies
When your loved one isn’t doing his normal activities, he might let his appearance go a little more than usual. Include new razors, shaving cream, and other grooming items to him keep it under control until he can see a professional again!
9. Snack foods
What’s your loved one’s favorite snack? Whatever it is, keep him stocked up when he’s unable to purchase these things themselves.
One simple way to breathe life into a space is with a plant. There are all kinds of plants that need varying amounts of TLC but taking care of a plant can also be therapeutic.
Pro tip: If your loved one isn’t big on gardening or caring for a plant, there are tons of fake plants that are beautiful and contain symbolism without the hassle.
11. Exercise equipment
If your loved one isn’t able to continue his normal exercise schedule due to COVID-19 restrictions, he can benefit from exercise equipment in his own space, such as:
- Yoga mat
- Ankle weights
- Exercise ball
- Resistance bands
Pro tip: You can go a step further and have a weekly virtual workout with him using these items.
Care Package Ideas for a Friend
Your friend will feel the love when receiving a care package full of items.
If your friend is a bit bored, a puzzle can burn some time. Similarly, you might include a puzzle book with word searches, crosswords, and Sudoku! You can also upload your photo to a website and it will be made into a puzzle!
Fun idea: Consider finding a photo of you and your friend to make into a puzzle. Bonus points for including puzzle glue so it can be kept and framed.
13. Themed box
There are plenty of ways to go above and beyond with your care package. One idea is to create a box with items that revolve around one theme.
These ideas include:
- Warm weather box with a sun hat, sunscreen, and flip flops
- Sweet tooth box with favorite candies
- Coffee box with a nice mug and some coffee packages
14. Punny box
Similar to the themed box, a punny box can be the theme where you use one or more punny phrases for the items you include.
Some phrases you can use are:
- “Blue Missing You” with all blue items
- “Nuts About You” with all kinds of nuts
- “This Blows” with Blow Pop suckers
15. Out-of-town items
Do you live out of town? If so, include items they wouldn’t be able to find nearby. This might include drinks or snacks from your area. If the out-of-towner has visited your town before, you can include favorite pieces of the city.
Encourage journaling, which can relieve stress and become a fun hobby. You can buy blank journals and journals that include prompts to help with writer's block and guide meaningful writing.
17. Digital gift
You can find a great digital gift for just about anyone. It can be included in a care package or instead of a physical box. Through email, text message, or another messenger, these can be sent immediately.
Some ideas of digital gifts are:
- Streaming subscription for TV shows, movies or music
- Gift cards for online shopping retail therapy
- Subscription for meals, teas, wine, books, or clothes
18. Art and craft supplies
Whether your friend is the artsy kind or not, many people turn to creativity in times like this. From adult coloring books and colored pencils to molding clay, there are so many options for a fun and different activity.
Pro tip: Make it virtual! Do a wine and paint night with your friend on a video call.
19. Something to look forward to
Above all, your loved one is likely hoping to get past COVID-19 as soon as possible. One great gift is to give your friend something to look forward to! This might be tickets to an upcoming event or DIY coupons good for a day together.
Send Your Care Package
Keep connected with your loved ones throughout social distancing. Make your loved one a care package every few weeks with new items. It doesn’t have to break the bank and you can even DIY many things. Remember, the thought means more than anything — even within a care package for people in assisted living during COVID!
If you're looking for more on how to support loved ones during the pandemic, read our guide on dealing with loss and grief during the COVID-19 pandemic.