The holidays are almost here! Most of us will soon begin to feel a spirit of giving and may think about how to make someone’s Christmas a little merrier. Please don’t forget, there are many nursing home residents who receive very few visitors if any at all. In fact, statistics prove that 60% of nursing home residents never have a personal visitor. So why not take an hour during this holiday season and go visit your local nursing home. Visitors do not have to know a resident to be able to brighten someone’s day and the joy you will receive, by getting to know some of the most amazing people, will bless you for years to come.

A visit from you is all the gift necessary. However, if you want to provide a physical gift some suggestions for residents might include, house shoes, slipper socks, large print books, lap blankets, puzzles, pictures for their walls, sweat suits, robes, gowns or pajamas, night lights, large calendars, clocks or stuffed animals. Residents may also enjoy a prepaid shopping card to the local discount store, or an invitation to a meal at a restaurant or the visitor’s home. Just giving a little bit of your time, could be the greatest Christmas gift that residents will receive. So as you are marking your calendars for family events, please don’t forget there are approximately two million residents living in nursing homes and the holiday season is often the loneliest time for them.

If you want to become a regular visitor, consider becoming an Ombudsman volunteer. Having a weekly visitor in the facility can decrease neglect and abuse and increase resident empowerment. Training is free, flexible and available in your area. To learn more about becoming an Ombudsman Volunteer contact the Ombudsman Supervisors Shelly Ferris, 1-800-482-4594, ext. 226, or Lahona Young 1-800-482-4594, ext. 220