Gifts, What Should Santa Bring the Elderly?
Gifts for aging parents
Gift-giving for elderly parents is tough. If your’s are like mine, there isn’t much they need but who wants them empty-handed on Christmas? It’s just not done. My parents anticipate Christmas morning as much as any kid. Well, being honest, one of my parents is really a big kid in a 93-year-old body.
Taking Their Deficits Into Account
My mom can’t see, can’t hear and is often confused. What gift do I get her? My dad loves gadgets, but I think he owns every gadget ever made, including headlights for his walker. As I see it, I need to consider what they can actually use and enjoy. What are their interests? Do I want to get something useful or something fun?
My mom needs something that she can use without seeing. Something that doesn’t have a learning curve. She still enjoys a sense of touch and smell. She likes goodies to eat but they make her sick. Costco had some super-soft socks in four-packs this year. Pastel pink, blue, gray and black come in one pack. Mom’s feet are always cold so I snagged those. (OK, I got a pack for myself too.) She enjoys good smells. There is a body butter at Bath and Body Works she likes. Her skin gets dry and she enjoys hand and foot rubs with it. It’s a two-for-one because she can feel it and smell it.
Personalities and Gift Giving
Dad hinted, not very subtly, he wants a new blue polo shirt. He wants short-sleeved shirts, then complains he’s cold. We have to twist his arm (literally and figuratively) to get a long-sleeved shirt or sweater on him. He insists he has no sweaters. When we pull them out of his closet and show him his sweaters, he contends he’s never seen them before. His favorite blue shirt is now a rag.
This shirt is less than a year old. Both sleeves look like this and the collar is just as bad. I refuse to spend $35.00 plus shipping to buy him a duplicate (LL Bean, what happened to your quality?). Now he insists a shirt he’s had for fifteen years is what he needs, only in blue. The problem is, they don’t make them like they did fifteen years ago. Guess what? The shirt he wants is only available on eBay and not in blue. I found the closest thing I could in a nearby store. It will have to do. Who would expect a 93-year-old could be that picky about clothing?
Ideas For Seniors
Most seniors have trouble keeping warm. Any warm and snuggly gift, especially if it’s personalized, is a great choice. Other ideas for seniors include a nostalgic gift. Candies and games from days past, are one option. Places like Vermont County Store carry them.
They have some sugar-free varieties too. Soft peppermints were popular with my in-laws but they lived near Bob’s Candy Store in Albany, Georgia so they had better access than we did. My dad likes old-fashioned black licorice buttons but he’s supposed to diet, per his doctor.
Amazon has “Retro Candy” gift packs but they consider the ’70’s retro. My parent’s heyday was the ’40’s and ’50’s If your parent likes puzzles, there are jigsaw puzzles with old cars, old airplanes, kitchens, cabins from the 1950’s. My dad enjoyed puzzles with WWII planes and old cars until his eyesight became too poor to see the pieces.
Online photo stores will turn a favorite family photo into a coffee mug or even make a calendar featuring the grandchildren. We used Shtterfly.com to make a gift mug for my dad. We used another view of the photo on the right, with the letters L-O-V-E on the side. He loved the mug, again, until his vision got so bad he can’t see the image. His younger grandson, who is a great gift giver, gave him another mug he loves because it fits his huge hands..
Upper price range gifts include headphones for TV watching, gadgets that control the lights or emergency safety buttons. Gift-giving for the elderly is a lot like gift-giving in general. It requires you to observe, listen, consider and remember what the person likes. For elders, also consider their special needs and changing circumstances.
This site has lots of ideas. https://www.caring.com/articles/holiday-gift-guide-seniors
You Are The Best Gift
No matter what gift you buy or make, the one gift seniors want most, is your time. They want to see you, visit with you and be included in your life. My parents enjoy videos of their great-grandchildren’s piano pieces, phone calls or video chats. Anything that helps them know you care about them and value them as people. Thank them for the contribution they’ve made in your life. Give them a specific example of a fond memory you have of them. You’ll not only make their day, you’ll make their Christmas.
Merry Christmas and Happy Caregiving,