Helpful Ideas on Angeling
I wrote down all of my patient's likes on the back of a business card and put it in my wallet. That way when I'm out shopping and can't quite remember what her favorites are I always have it with me.
I got into the habit of picking up something for my patient every time I am at the market or drug store... something small, a box of his favorite tea, or his favorite candy bar, or a card, book, or crossword puzzle magazine. Something to brighten his day!
I bought mailing envelopes in bulk on eBay. I went to the eBay site, punched "mailing envelopes" into the search engine, and auctions popped up for every size and shape of mailing envelope imaginable! I got a great deal, much cheaper than the post office or stationery stores!
Regarding silent patients- What I have come to realize is that we are angeling to brighten our patients lives, not to provide emotional support. In a way, what we do does provide emotional support. But what I am trying to say is that I have found that I write my notes and letters as if I were writing in a travelogue or diary. I send a lot of postcards, which allows me to throw in ideas and impressions of the things on the cards. At first it was hard to find my voice with my patient, but now it feels much more normal. I talk about what I am feeling and thinking, I send comics that strike my fancy that I clip out of the newspaper, and anything else amusing that I can find. I remember how sick I was when I was going through chemo Being able to focus on someone and something other than myself, even for a little while, was like being alive again; while on chemo I always felt half-dead. It was good to be able to laugh with joy over something amusing in someone elses life.
My first patient was overseas in Germany. Since sending packages overseas "First Class" is expensive, and sending them any other class can take up to 10 weeks, I came up with this idea! I bought a whole bunch of gifts and cards for her at once. I wrapped them individually, then marked each one "Open on such and such a day". I put them all in a big box and sent it to her. She loved knowing that there were surprises awaiting her on certain days!
This is a gift idea that you could modify it for different ages. I have a toddler who has two brothers, so this will work for all three. I am doing a fun in the sun pack. It includes bubbles, sunscreen (very important), sun hats if I can find them in the boy's sizes, frisbees, and I'll probably also throw in some packets of lemonade. I think I even bought squirt guns. You could also do water balloons for older kids.
I order free Priority Mail envelopes, boxes, labels and tape online from the US Postal Service. They are delivered right to my house. Go tohttps://store.usps.com/store/
and click on "get mailing and shipping supplies".
When I write letters to my preschool aged buddy, I insert clip art pictures throughout the letter. That way, while mom or dad read the letter to her, she can follow along and look at the pictures! For example, I may talk about my dog (insert dog picture), vacation (insert pictures of swimming, boat, airplane), my kids activities (insert baseball, violin pictures), etc. My patient's mom said that she loves the letters I send!
"If the person that you are angeling is elderly or has a vision impairment: This idea came to me today as I was reading a special assignment message about a 5 year old who had lost her vision to cancer. I worked with blind and visually impaired individuals for many years so I thought that I would pass these suggestions on...
For elders (80% of those over 75 years of age have some form of visual impairment due to age) write with a sharpie pen/marker. It is much easier to read, and it is also water proof. If your patient is totally blind use a scented marker - it gives some sensory stimulation even if they can not read your cards and letters themselves. You can also add a spray of your signature fragrance or perfume so they being to know who the letter is from before it is read to them! There are many very inexpensive "talking" items that you can purchase under $10 these days. Try getting a talking picture frame, you can write a note in the frame, but also record a personal 30 second message so your patient can independently get your message. I bought one of these for an elderly friend who gets my recording on the picture frame, then he records a message and sends it back to me in a self-addressed and stamped envelope that I include in his package. And back and forth we send it, each time with a new recorded message for the recipient. He loves this kind of independent interaction. This means a great deal to individuals who have lost their vision, because they can listen to your messages, without the assistance of another person. For children you can use puffy paint to outline the pictures on greeting cards, or make your own creations with puffy paint. You can also use Elmer's glue to outline or create a picture. It dries in a raised line that is clear, but you can easily trace the line!
My patient is a child. When I was about to send off my first card to her, I began thinking - if I was the
mother of a child who was going to be getting cards, letters and small gifts from a stranger I would want to know something about that person. So I wrote a short letter to my patient's mother introducing myself and telling her a little about me. I figure my patient's mother has enough to think about right now without worrying about what kind of a person I might be.
My patient is a young boy with a sister, so I made up a "Slumber Party" box with snacks, paper hats, and an age-appropriate movie that they could watch together. (I checked with Mom beforehand regarding what movie they would enjoy.) The "Slumber Party" box was a huge hit!
Gift certificates can be an easy, fun, creative way to give gifts you KNOW people will use. First you need to research the area in which your patient lives. Just go to Yahoo Maps and enter your patients address. You can then easily find out what shops, restaurants, fast food places, etc... are in their area. Consider gift certificates for fast food places, movie theaters, chain restaurants, book or music stores, video rental places, garden centers, ... be creative! Here are some idea's I've come up with in the past.
For a person with a green thumb, I put a nursery gift certificate in a terra cotta pot along with a pair of gardening gloves. For someone who likes to read, a bookstore certificate in a nice coffee cup with a couple of packets of tea, cocoa, etc & a small package of cookies is a great gift. I went to Blockbuster & got a gift cert to cover a couple of movie rentals, got the popcorn bucket they sell in their store that has a packet of microwave popcorn in it, taped a card to the inside of the bucket, added a
few candy bars & put a big bow on it.
I thought a cassette tape would be a great way to communicate with my patient. I bought her a cassette player and I make nice, chatty tapes to send to her.
I went to Toys R Us and got a baby-size Bear and some inexpensive baby clothes for it. Now I take the bear with me everywhere I go and take snapshots of it to put in a scrapbook. I will send my little patient a picture of the bear with a note saying that He is visiting Oklahoma right now but hope to come visit her soon. Then I will send her a few post cards from the bear, then the scrap book and after I have sent her plenty of pictures to put in the scrap book the Bear and his suitcase of baby clothes will show up for a visit with her. I will also send one of those disposable cameras and a return addressed envelope so that her family can take pictures of her and the bear and send it back to me.
I just wanted to share what I did for my little buddy & his family for the 4th of July! I went to a fabric store and picked up a lined picnic basket for only $8.00 then I headed to the 99 cent Store!!! I picked up flag paper plates, bowls, napkins plastic tablecloth, and cups. I put in red white & blue straws for the kids and bubbles for each of the kids....I found red white and blue confetti poppers & streamers, a kite, & small American flags for each of them. I put in juice boxes, pudding cups, and a gift certificate to KFC and told them to have a picnic on me even if it was just in their back yard!!!!!!