It can be particularly difficult to find appropriate and appreciated gifts for our elderly relatives, friends, or clients who are dealing with health issues or living in an assisted living or nursing environment. Here are some ideas that may help get you started as well as some online resources for gifts and sites geared toward seniors:
Gifts of Connection
- Photo albums, framed pictures (you may even consider “talking” frames which allow you to record a personalized greeting to be replayed or digital picture frames which allow you to send and update pictures electronically).
- “Photo” phone, allows you to program memory buttons and use a photo to indicate each number (see online resources).
- Connection via technology, by purchasing a computer and lessons for the less tech-savvy elder or setting up Skype or Facetime on a mobile phone. There are many senior-friendly programs, apps and devices, depending on your elder loved one’s level of comfort with technology.
- Phone cards or a mobile phone on a family plan/pre-paid.
- A divided box filled with greeting cards for various occasions (These can be purchased pre-packaged at card or large discount stores or homemade. Make sure to include birthday, thank you, sympathy, get-well, and blank cards and you may wish to enclose stamps.).
- Plants (check with facilities on space and safety regulations).
- Soaps and lotions.
- Tissues/decorative tissue holders.
- Homemade treats such as cookies or snack mix (check dietary restrictions).
- Holiday decorations to personalize the room.
- Bring in a nice meal or favorite family treats. Or, plan a time to get together to prepare an old family recipe together so your loved one can share their memories and provide input on the cooking/baking. For someone who lives at home whom you will not be able to see during the holidays, consider sending pre-made meals.
- Anything homemade, especially from grandchildren (pictures, poems, crafts).
- Consider a special visit or outing, especially with the grandchildren (i.e. a trip out to see the children’s holiday show at school or church). Does your loved one enjoy plays or museums? Make special arrangements and reconnect them with a favorite pastime.
- Large print books or books on tape. If they use a DVD player, purchase old movies or favorite shows to watch (or set up a Netflix or Apple TV account). Set up an iPad or iPod with music and podcasts from their church, covering favorite topics, etc.
- Games and puzzles. This automatic card shuffler is great for anyone suffering from arthritis and it’s just a cool gadget too! It includes a few decks of cards, so it makes a great gift for the card player in your life.
Make Life Comfy
- Bathrobe or housecoat, slippers (be aware of safety issues with slippers).
- Nice blankets or warm shawls/bed jackets. We love this wheelchair blanket and fleece shawl!
- “Good grips” products, including household tools like a jar/can opener or personal care tools such as the Mercer Rigid Sock Aid to make putting on socks super easy for people with limited flexibility (also great for those tricky compression socks!).
- Don’t forget the simple things or feel you must buy something more elaborate. Think of items like boxes of a preferred brand of tissues, lipstick, Vaseline, lotion, toiletries, household items, a nice new set of sheets or a holiday pin.
The Gift of Help
- Purchase companionship or extra help. If someone no longer drives, hire someone to take them on outings or set up a taxi account and put money in it for rides (check with your area about innovative programs that may allow you to purchase memberships and rides via some of your local aging agencies). Hire a cleaning service for a nice holiday cleaning or ongoing services. Offer help to a c
- Consider safety and health items, but know how your family member might react. Sometimes these items approached as a gift go over better than trying to convince the person to get these items in place themselves, but others may take offense. Two examples are personal emergency response systems (such as falls detection or monitoring systems) and medical/personal records systems (you can offer to help your loved one gather the information and set up an online system known as an EMR or PHR, organize records in a notebook or flash drive, or hire a professional care manager to assist). These are gifts for your loved ones that also give you peace of mind.
Reprinted from Agingwisely.com