It’s official. We’re 6 days into December, and holiday shopping is in full force with people buzzing around town looking for that perfect gift for those they love. While the world is filled with gadgets, candy canes, and Barbie doll houses, shopping for a grandparent may be a little more difficult. Seniors present a unique challenge because many at this point in their lives don’t want and/or need more trinkets, home decor, or clothes. And you want to give them something they can benefit from and will help maintain their quality of life. But fear not; we have compiled a Top 10 Holiday Gift Guide for seniors!
TOP 10 SENIOR HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
1) L I T T L E T H I N G S :
Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a big difference. For example, my grandmother has 3 children, 9 grandchildren (plus 7 significant others), and 15 great-grandchildren. That’s a lot of birthdays to remember, cards to send, and calls to make. So this year, I’m making her a calendar with all of the birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays marked, a book of stamps, and a huge variety pack of cards for her to choose from as each special date approaches. Thoughtful, helpful gifts come in all shapes and sizes, so think of little ways you can help. Mow her lawn in the summertime. Add family names and numbers to his cell phone contact list. Maybe make a homemade coupon book with little tasks for them to redeem throughout the year.
2) I N D E P E N D E N C E :
Independent living aides make wonderful stocking stuffers and help your loved one perform everyday tasks. Pill cutters, reachers, jar openers, long-handled shoe horns, and long-handled bathing sponges promote enable one to easily perform activities of daily living. Do they read the newspaper? Consider a magnifying glass to make it easier on their eyes. Those with limited dexterity or hand quivers may benefit from food processors and/or food choppers to help with meal preparation.
3) S A F E T Y :
Give your loved one the gift of safety and security in their home. A medical bracelet would alert others of any medical conditions and/or medications that would affect treatment options, and you can always find cute charms to decorate it at any department store. Medical alert systems, such as Freedom Alert by LogicMark or Lifeline offer 24-hour assistance should one fall or need help. Even thoughtful little gifts like slip-resistant socks can help minimize the risk of falling and keep your loved one safe.
4) A C T I V E :
You know that it’s important for seniors to maintain an active lifestyle from our earlier Homecare Advocate blog posts. What about enrolling your loved one in a senior group fitness class at your local gym? A popular home electronics game that is being used by people of all ages is Wii Fit for the Wii console, available at any electronics store. Other home exercises could include the stationary bike pedal or lightweight hand weights along with an exercise video designed for seniors.
5) H O M E :
Evaluate your loved one’s home environment. Can she/he rise out of the chair without straining or becoming unstable? Are there throw-rugs that pose as tripping hazards? You have a huge opportunity to make a difference by addressing these issues and more. Consider a 3-position seat lift chair to sit, recline, and rise with ease. Hire a cleaning service to come in and do the scrubbing and cleaning that is difficult to reach or manually intensive. Buy floor rug gripper pads to prevent rugs from sliding. A grab bar may be needed in the bathroom to provide support and stability–how about also having someone install it for them? Prioritize the areas used most often.
6) S O C I A L :
Who doesn’t like quality time with others? Consider taking your loved one to his/her favorite restaurant or hosting a ladies’ luncheon so her friends can visit (or gentlemen’s gathering) where you provide the food and set the table. Seniors are the fastest growing demographic for Internet and social media usage. Perhaps get an inexpensive computer and teach him/her how to get online, send and receive e-mail, join Facebook, and connect with friends and family across the country.
7) M O B I L I T Y :
Help them get out and about over the holidays and throughout the year with mobility-related items. The beautiful color and pattern options for canes, walkers, rollators, and wheelchairs provide needed stability and support while looking beautiful, too. There are a variety of cloth and leather accessory bags as well, perfect for carrying gifts! Other mobility-related gift choices may include a swivel seat to assist getting in and out of the car or even a portable wheeled cart for toting goodies.
8 ) S H A R P :
Stimulate their brain this Christmas with a holiday-themed puzzle, a family game of Scrabble, or even a book on local birds for them to learn about and watch for. You can pick up brain-teaser books at most bookstores filled with puzzles, word hunts, cross-word games, and more. Or perhaps your loved one would be interested in picking up a new hobby or taking a class at the senior center, craft store, or local company. New activities help keep them engaged and learning!
9) F I N A N C I A L :
For the value-minded senior, coupon books are great ways for them to save year-round on the items they need. Many of these books are sold as fundraisers to benefit local schools and charities, so you’re helping all involved! Alternatively, consider gift cards to grocery stores, gas stations, or medical supply stores where he/she frequently shops.
10) LO V E :
Above all else, show that you love and care about them. Seniors often struggle with depression, and the holidays can be a particularly tricky time for them. Make a point of calling them often, checking in, and seeing how their day went. Buy them a grandparents legacy book to record personal memories and answer questions about their past, preferences, and thoughts. It will show that you care, but it also helps keep them engaged, cognitively thinking, and recollecting fond memories. Write a letter or poem expressing all that person means to you. Donate to that person’s favorite charity in his/her honor. Help them see how they matter and reinforce how their life has meaning and purpose.
When you think of the special senior in your life, consider ways big and small that you can help make it easier for the to do the things they enjoy doing, live in the house they’ve grown to love, and take care of themselves. They’re the foundation of our families, and it’s so nice to be able to give back to the generation who gave so much.
Seniors, what gifts have you received that you were particularly grateful for?