What do CD players, travel pillows, cell phones and zany socks have in common? They're little ways you can have a big impact on a loved one who lives far away.
Easy Listening: Dad or Grandma in the hospital? Moving to a new living situation? Make a compilation CD of songs you have enjoyed together. Send or bring an easy-to-use CD player with it. Label the items you send clearly. If you have to, jazz up the CD player to make it easy to use. You can put a green sticker on the PLAY button and a red one on the STOP button to highlight them if vision is an issue. (You can even paint those buttons with nail polish). Send a CD of yourself or your kids reading or telling stories. Many churches will record their weekly sermons. Help make arrangements for those to be delivered. Not into CD's? Send a preloaded MP3 player - just check for ease of use and make sure the earphones are too difficult to manage- specially if hearing aids are involved!
Viewing Pleasure: Send a family DVD. Make a home movie of your well wishes. Have a bunch of old photos? Have them put on a DVD – or send a pre-loaded digital frame. (Again, label it and make sure it’s easy to use.) Send cards and photos - they are looked at over and over again.
Stay Connected: Send a phone. Many times during transitional care, phones are a problem. If you can send an inexpensive (and easy to use) phone with important numbers pre-programmed, you send more then the phone. You leave the message that you want to stay connected and you may relieve a concern for an on-site caregiver who is busy handling a hundred other details of care.
Caring for the Caregiver: With all these suggestions, make sure to run them past any on-site primary caregiver first to eliminate duplication. And while you’re at it, send that primary caregiver a thank you note and a gift card to his or her favorite coffee shop. It’s always great to feel appreciated!