More people than ever need help and support in their day-to-day lives. The elderly in our society are particularly vulnerable and susceptible to various hardships and struggles.
Making blessing bags for seniors and elderly loved ones can go a long way in making them feel cherished and remembered by those close to them.
This guide will share tips on making blessing bags for seniors and what items to include. Plus, I’ll give you some ideas on how you can package or wrap a blessing bag for presentation purposes and some of the best places to distribute blessing bags.
What is a Blessing Bag?
Blessing bags, also referred to as Care Kits or Necessity Bags, are types of gift bags that include helpful and thoughtful items for people who require assistance or support, such as seniors and elderly people.
You can give blessing bags to seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities during regular visits, charity events, or special occasions such as birthdays and holidays.
What Items Can You Include in a Blessing Bag?
If you have a bunch of unused essential items like soap, tissues, deodorant, and tissues, don’t keep them hidden in a drawer or on a shelf gathering dust.
Why not give them to an elderly person in your community who needs them?
If you don’t have any surplus items, you can easily buy items in bulk at places like Amazon, Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, or Dollar Tree. Some of the key things you should consider including in a blessing bag for an elderly person are:
1. Cold Weather Essentials
It’s bound to get cold at one point. When the cold season sets in, elderly people are vulnerable to flu and coughs. So, items that help them stay warm and cozy are beneficial.
Cold weather essentials like gloves, scarves, socks, and hand warmers are extremely valuable when freezing temperatures occur. Your elderly loved one will definitely be pleased to find one of these items in their blessing bag.
2. Personal Items and Toiletries
This includes items like slippers, lotion, body spray, body wash, shaving cream, shampoo, soap, razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, tissues, deodorant, and other products.
These items are perfect for a blessing bag because everyone uses them daily. Although these items may seem trivial or basic, some elderly people don’t have the ability, time, or energy to go shopping for these essential items.
3. General Food Items and Snacks
Some general food items and snacks you can choose to include in a blessing bag include beef jerky, trail mix, granola bars, Gatorade, coffee, cookies, pre-popped popcorn, and many others.
Vegetable and fruit snacks with a reasonable shelf life are also great items to include in a senior’s blessing bag. Some examples include dried veggies, fruit leather, dried fruits, applesauce, and many others.
4. Protein Treats
Eating healthy is very important for people in their golden years. To help elderly people keep their diets healthy, you can include protein treats such as peanut butter, nuts, canned meats, tuna packets, and protein bars.
It’s important to consider whether a person is allergic to any of these food items before including them in your blessing bag.
Including one or more individual beverage options is not a bad idea. Some popular drinks you can include in a blessing bag include:
- Healthy vegetable juice mixes that have a reasonable shelf-life and are easy to open.
- Fruit juices that are not too sweet and are easy to open.
- Bottled water is excellent because everyone drinks water, and has a long shelf life.
Everyone loves to have a treat now and then. You’d be surprised how many elderly people love to chew on sweet treats like candy and lollipops. Treats can help a person to freshen their breath.
Some candy is also good for sore throats. You should include individually wrapped treats because they are easier to consume and share with others.
7. Games and Puzzles
How about including some games and puzzles in your next blessing bag giveaway? Games like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, decks of cards, and many others would be excellent addition to any blessing bag for seniors.
You can also choose to include other fun entertainment items, like senior-friendly craft projects, adult coloring books, colored pencils, watercolor supplies, and craft paper.
8. Books and DVDs
If your elderly loved one loves to read, they will definitely appreciate you including a couple of books in the blessing bag you offer them.
You don’t have to get them the most popular or best-selling books on the market. You can get them some travel or nature picture books or even a few fiction novels that were popular during their heyday.
DVDs of their favorite movies or travel/animal/nature documentaries are also highly appreciated.
9. Gift Cards or Cash
You can add a gift card or some cash to your blessing bag. The amount of money you offer doesn’t have to be a lot. A $5, $10, or $20 gift is wonderful, or the equivalent in cash.
A gift card or some cash is recommended for various reasons:
- An elderly person in need can use the cash or gift to access bathroom and washroom facilities in public places. It’s often difficult for homeless seniors to find bathrooms to use without having to buy something at a restaurant or store.
- A senior can use the money or gift card to pay for services at a local store or establishment.
- Offering cash allows the recipient to cater to various personal needs you may not be aware of.
10. Encouragement Cards
It’s also nice to include a note of encouragement in your blessing bag. The card can include whatever type of message you want, as long as it brings joy and comfort to the care package recipient.
Some of the most common messages people put on their encouragement cards include bible verses, famous quotes, and personal notes of encouragement.
How Can You Package or Wrap a Blessing Bag?
There are certain things that you should put into consideration when packing or wrapping a blessing bag for seniors. First, you should always put smaller items in zip lock bags and use ribbons to tie them off.
Alternatively, you can look for an affordable basket at the “dollar store” to make larger blessing bags.
Some other considerations include:
- Put all items in a zippered plastic bag. This ensures everything remains clean and hygienic, and they can reuse the bag once the contents are gone.
- Add a personal note inside the bag to show that you really care.
- Include some cleaning wipes or napkins if your blessing bag includes food items or snacks.
- Choose colorful packaging to brighten up the recipient’s day.
- Choose resealable items, if possible.
- Choose easy-to-open items that don’t need bottle openers or can openers.
- Single-serving or individually wrapped items are highly recommended.
Places to Distribute Blessing Bags
1. Senior Care Facilities
Blessing bags are great for donating to a local nursing home or elderly care facility. Many organizations work with seniors and elderly persons in society who collect blessing bags to distribute to various institutions and assisted living facilities all over the country.
Elderly persons admitted to hospitals go through many struggles with their physical and emotional health. And blessing bags are a simple act of kindness that goes a long way in helping an elderly person feel loved and cared for.
Hospitals are excellent places to distribute blessing bags to elderly patients with no one to look after them. These gifts not only make them feel good but also give them hope that they will get better soon.
3. Social Gatherings
You can also distribute blessing bags at social gatherings for the elderly such as charity events, thanksgiving ceremonies, galas, school reunions, family gatherings, and many others.
4. Homeless Shelters
Many elderly people live in homeless shelters that would appreciate any form of help and support that improves the quality of their lives. Keep a small stock of blessing bags in your car and hand them out to needy seniors when you encounter them.
The goal of making a blessing bag is to care for an elderly person in your community – to bless them. Remembering those who paved the way for you and many others in society is an act of kindness and generosity.
You’ll find that you and your loved ones are also blessed by making these blessing and care bags for seniors and elderly persons.
Making blessing bags is, therefore, easy and very affordable. It is also extremely fun when you do it with other people like your kids, friends, or family members.
You can easily team up with a bunch of people to buy various items in bulk to reduce the overall cost of making the care bags. You can find most items listed above in local stores or online platforms like Amazon.