Creating "Visiting Kits"
on a Small Budget
By Myrtle Klauer, ADC, CAP

As residents living in skilled nursing homes become frailer, the
Activity Professionals have to find new ways of involving the residents
in meaningful activities. Visiting kits are a good way to stimulate
conversation within a group or when visiting on a one-to-one basis. These kits are
simple to use and can help a family reconnect with a loved one living in long term care
or help a new volunteer get started as a friendly visitor for the facility.

These excellent reminiscing tools are simple to make and can be put together at little or
no cost. They can be as simple or extravagant as your facility chooses to make them.
The basic premise behind visiting kits is a box filled with articles based on a theme that
contains items from "yesterday" as well as today – a cloth diaper and a disposable
diaper; slate with chalk and pen with paper; medicine bottle with a cork and prescription
bottle with a child-proof cap; etc.

Collecting the items is half the fun. Sit down with your staff and discuss the themes you
would like to make into visiting kits. Make a list of the items that you would like to
include in each kit. Determine what the maximum amount you can pay for the items.
Brainstorm the best places to find such items. Make a “wish list” of things you are
looking for and what you propose to do with the items.

Let the residents, staff, families, and volunteers know what you are looking for by putting
an "ad" in the resident newsletter and posting your “wish list” around the facility. Make
flyers and distribute them to local churches, schools, Laundromats, and local stores.
Be on the lookout for items when going to garage sales and flea markets. Bring along
your business card and sometimes the individual will give you the item for the facility at
no cost or substantially reduce the cost of the item. Always send a thank you for
donated items; this simple gesture can lead to even more "goodies."

Don't forget to add to the types of containers you'll need for putting together the actual
kits to your flyers and wish list. Containers can cost more than you think and add up
quickly. The best container should be clear plastic with an attached lid. The clear plastic
lets everyone see what’s in the box without having to find the side of the box with the
label. Attached lids are important because lids can be laid down and forgotten after an
activity. In a pinch or to get you started, different sized shoe and boot boxes are an
excellent beginning. Sometimes a large basket makes a more appropriate container,
especially for a laundry day theme.

Look for pictures, short stories, and poems representative of the different themes in old
magazines and have the residents cut them out and mount them on cardboard. Cover
these with clear contact paper to preserve and protect them from "wear and tear" or
laminate them if your facility is fortunate enough to have a laminating machine. An
excellence source for this type of material is the Ideals magazine.
Even residents in assisted and supportive living facilities, as well as seniors going to
Senior Centers or enrolled in an Adult Day program enjoy reminiscing and love
exploring the contents of the visiting kits. Once you and your staff get started making
your own visiting kits, the more fun you and the residents will have, even when the
activity staff is not there.

Be sure to leave some visiting kits on the various floors or units for the residents, staff,
volunteers, and families to use when the activity staff is not present. Provide simple
instructions and place the instructions in the area where the visiting kits are kept.
Remember to rotate the kits at least once a month.

Use caution when placing the visiting kits on the various floors or units. You may have
to modify the contents of the kits to assure the safety of the residents living on a
particular floor or unit. For residents with dementia, be sure the kit does not contain
sharp objects, or liquids and small items the residents might ingest by mistake. You
may want to assemble specific visiting kits to be used with residents with dementia or
lack adequate cognition to determine what is safe.

Provide an in-service to the facility staff and volunteers on the subject of, “How to
Enhance Your Visits” through the visiting kits. Volunteer to speak to the Family Council
about the visiting kits. Explain why reminiscing is so important and/or how to use the
kits as conversation starters while visiting a loved one.

Included in this article are some ideas for creating your own visiting kits. Be creative
and expand these lists to make your visiting kits unique and representative of your
residents.

Wash Day:
•        Bushel basket
•        Piece of clothesline
•        Clothespins
•        Clothespin holder
•        Washboard
•        Box of starch
•        Small box of Tide or Cheer laundry detergent
•        Bar of lye soap
•        Small bottle liquid Tide or Cheer
•        Fabric soften sheets
•        Picture of washtub
•        Picture of wringer washer
•        Picture of clothes hanging on line to dry
•        Picture of a modern washer and dryer
School Days:
•        Slate
•        White and colored chalk
•        Tablet of penmanship paper
•        Globe
•        Vintage and modern world maps
•        Watercolors
•        Paintbrushes
•        Primary pencils
•        Old text books
•        Pencil sharpener
•        Cigar box
•        Wooden ruler
•        3-ring binder
•        Quill or fountain pen
•        Bottle of ink
•        Calculator
•        Picture of a computer
•        Flair pen
•        Slide-rule
•        Compass
•        Protractor
•        Art-gum eraser
•        Large crayons - primary colors
•        Blunt-nosed scissors
•        Picture of one-room schoolhouse
•        Picture of modern school
Gardening:
•        Garden gloves
•        Trowel & other hand tools
•        Watering can
•        Flower seeds
•        Vegetable seeds
•        Seed catalogs
•        Clay flowerpots
•        Basket with handle
•        Garden shears
•        Peat starter pots
•        Pictures of flower and vegetable gardens
•        Pictures of scarecrows
Travel:
•        Old/new post cards
•        Old maps
•        Road atlas
•        Old/new vacation brochures
•        Old/new souvenir brochures
•        Vacation pictures
•        Pictures of attractions
•        Pictures of old cars, trains, buses
•        "Treasures" purchased on trips
•        Posters from travel agencies
Baseball:
•        Baseball trading cards
•        Pictures of the "baseball greats"
•        Pictures of some of the old stadiums, e.g., Wrigley Field
•        Pictures of the old & new stadiums
•        Baseball caps from the local team(s)
•        Baseball Pennants
•        Vintage and new baseball programs/score sheets
•        Baseball
•        Bat
•        Catcher's mitt
•        Helmet
•        Umpire gear
Cooking/Baking:
•        Measuring spoons
•        Measuring cups
•        Mixing bowls
•        Beaters
•        Wooden spoon
•        Spatula
•        Rolling pin
•        Pastry-cloth
•        Wire-whip
•        Old Betty Crocker cookbook
•        Modern cookbook
•        Recipe box and cards
•        Small iron skillet
•        Pastry blender
•        Vegetable grater
•        Colander
•        Potato Peeler
•        Potato masher
•        Pictures of old-fashioned kitchens
•        Pictures of modern kitchens
•        Catalog of modern appliances
Sewing:
•        Needles
•        Thread (some on wooden spools)
•        Straight pins
•        Measuring tape
•        Thimble – Metal
•        Pincushion
•        Needle threader
•        Pinking Shears
•        Embroidery scissors
•        Ripper
•        Bias tape
•        Seam Binding
•        Scraps of fabric - all types
•        Lace trim
•        Buttons
•        Point Turner
•        Patterns - Vintage & Modern
•        Pictures of vintage and modern sewing machines
•        Ric-Rac braid
•        Zipper - metal and plastic teeth
•        Snaps
•        Hooks & eyes
•        Darning thread
•        Darning needle
•        Darning egg
•        Elastic
Toys:
•        Old "Tonka" trucks/cars
•        Jacks
•        Jump rope
•        Marbles
•        Rag doll
•        "Storybook" dolls
•        Raggedy Ann and Andy
•        Hand and finger puppets
•        Rubber ball
•        Top
•        Bubbles
•        Matchbox cars
•        Sand pail and shovel
Accountant:
•        Ledger book
•        Adding machine
•        Calculator
•        Mechanical pencil
•        Pocket Protector
•        Adding machine tape
•        Checkbook
•        Bank statements
•        Profit & Loss statement
•        Accounts Payable statement
•        Accounts Receivable statement
•        Budget worksheets
Military Service:
•        Canteen
•        Mess-kit
•        Medals/Ribbons
•        Recruitment posters
•        Caps/hats
•        Buttons/pins
•        Enlistment papers
•        Discharge papers
•        Newspaper articles
•        Pictures of military actions
•        Pictures of vintage and modern airplanes, subs, etc.
•        Pictures of vintage and modern uniforms
Babies:
•        Kimonos
•        Diaper pins
•        Cloth/disposable diapers
•        Talcum Powder
•        Baby Oil
•        Baby Lotion
•        Plastic pants
•        Old baby bottle
•        New baby bottle
•        Undershirt
•        Knit sleeper
•        Booties
•        Sweater/bonnet
•        Receiving blanket
•        Soaker
•        Rattle
•        Teething-ring
•        Feeding spoon
•        Training cup
•        Bibs
•        Feeding dish
•        Bottle warmer
•        Pictures of babies
•        Catalog of baby equipment
•        Stories/Poems about babies
Automobiles:
•        Pictures of vintage cars
•        Model cars - vintage & new
•        Brochures/posters from car dealers
•        Video about new cars
•        Stories/poems about cars
•        Songs about cars - In My Merry Oldsmobile, etc.

Myrtle Klauer is the Secretary/Treasurer of NAAP. She works for the Illinois Council on
Long Term Care as the Director of Resident Services.
National Association of Activity Professionals
Founded by Activity Professionals for Activity Professionals...
Join Today!  You can download and mail in this application with your payment
ACTIVITY DIRECTOR
COMMUNITY
Join our Activity Director
Community message
board and network with
Activity Professionals
across the country. This
is a free service.
ACTIVITY DIRECTOR
TODAY
E-MAGAZINE
Be sure to subscribe to
Activity Director Today
E-magazine for the
latest news and more
about your profession.
Only $19.95/year
SHOPPING & MORE
At Resident Shopping &
More you will find
clothing and more for
your residents.  
Also, you
will  find Activity
Department supplies
.
ACTIVITY DIRECTOR
NOVELTIES
Activity Director
Novelties features
promotional materials
and gifts for you, your
residents, your facility
and your Department.
Be sure to visit.
Activity Director
Excellent Resources for
Activity Professionals
Featuring supplies for
parties, holiday
celebrations  and
special events
Click Here
About NAAP
Founded by Activity Professionals
for Activity Professionals...

NAAP is the only national group that
represents activity professionals in geriatric
settings exclusively. NAAP serves as a
catalyst for both professional and personal
growth and has come to be recognized by
government officials as the voice of the
activity profession on national issues
concerning long-term care facilities,
retirement living, assisted living, adult day
services, and senior citizen centers. NAAP
is nationwide in scope with a growing
membership in Canada and Bermuda.

The National Association of Activity
Professionals recognizes the following
values:

The quality of life of the
client/resident/participant/patient served is
the primary reason for our services.

The strength of NAAP lies in the diversity of
its members.  NAAP recognizes the rich
cultural, and educational backgrounds of its
members and values the variety of
resources represented.

The strength of NAAP also lies in the
development and promotion of scientific
research which further defines and supports
the activity profession.

NAAP values the development and
maintenance of coalitions with
organizations whose mission is similar to
that of NAAP's for the purposes of
advocacy, research, education, and
promotion of activity services and activity
professionals.

NAAP values members who become
involved at the state and national level to
promote professional standards as well as
encourage employers to recognize them as
professionals.

NAAP affords Activity Professionals across
the country the opportunity to speak with a
common voice...

NAAP successfully worked with members of
Congress to secure a change in the nursing
home reform title of the 1987 Omnibus
Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA).
Through our efforts, it became mandatory
that an activity program, directed by a
qualified professional, be provided in every
nursing home that receives Medicare
and/or Medicaid funds.

NAAP was the only professional activity
association to participate in HCFA's
workgroups that revised OBRA's interpretive
guidelines now in effect.

NAAP provides assistance at the state level
to promote certification of activity
professionals, working toward uniform
professional standards for activity practice.
NAAP Mission
Statement
To provide excellence
in support services to
activity professionals
through education,
advocacy, technical
assistance, promotion of
standards, fostering of
research, and peer and
industry relations.
MEMBERSHIP
WHY NOT JOIN NOW?
There are so many benefits when you
belong to NAAP!  Each member will
receive a newsletter which will give the
updated reports on Government Relations,
Special Interests, International Updates,
Professional Development, Nominations,
Standards of Practice, Financial Updates
and a Membership Report. Along with this
comes an update from our President, Susan
Rauch and Executive Director Irene Taylor.

Members will also receive a discounted rate
at the Annual Conference which is held in
March/April of each year.

Effective JAN 1, 2006 membership dues are:
  • Active Membership = $59 USD
  • Associate Membership = $65 USD
  • International Membership (outside
    US) = $65 USD
  • Student Membership = $49 USD
  • Supportive Membership = $99 USD

Email us for more information at
membership@thenaap.com.

Join Now!
Click Here to Download a
Membership Application
Professionals
P.O. Box 5530
Sevierville, TN 37864
phone (865) 429-0717        
fax (865) 453-9914        
email: TheNAAP@aol.com

DISCLAIMER

PLEASE NOTE: Any opinion, advice,
statements, offers or other information or
contents expressed or made herein by third
parties is neither endorsed nor adopted by
the National Association of Activity
Professionals unless otherwise stated. NAAP
is neither responsible for nor warrants the
accuracy or reliability of any such opinion,
advice, information or statement made or
offered by third parties in this publication
(website). NAAP has the right, but not the
obligation, to monitor and review the
content that it feels violates the terms of its
understanding with the third party: violates
the policies and purposes of NAAP; or is
defamatory or otherwise deemed
objectionable.

DISCLAIMER

PLEASE NOTE: The articles set forth in this
publication are for informational purposes
only. Nothing contained herein shall be
construed as legal advice. The statements
made herein are those of the respective
authors and are not necessarily an
expression of the views of NAAP.
ACTIVITY DIRECTOR TODAY
Providing Internet Resources
for Activity Professionals
in Long Term Care Settings
admin@theactivitydirectorsoffice.com

Copyright 2004-Present
The Activity Director's Office
All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer