Shopping for friends and family members who are older can be challenging. More than likely they have down-sized or are in the process of doing so. Space and storage are at a premium if they live in assisted-living apartments or receive skilled nursing care.
Don’t despair. Here are 10 fun and practical ideas that can make gift-giving at any time of year a little easier.
Despite the stereotypes, many seniors are comfortable using technology. Give a tablet or a smart phone so they can video-chat with family members and friends through Skype or Facetime. Upload favorite songs to an iPod or MP3 player. Subscribe your loved one to a podcast or two that they’ll enjoy. Don’t forget to include a wireless speaker.
If your friend or family member loves to read, invest in some large print books. For those whose sight is diminished or who prefer listening to reading, look for books on tape or consider giving them a subscription to a service like Audible.
Frosted sugar cookies, lefse, pecan pie … we all have a favorite treat that makes Christmas special. If your loved one no longer bakes or cooks, make sure she gets hers. If she has access to a kitchen or is able to visit you, invite her to make the treat with you.
If your friend or family member doesn’t drive anymore, invite him on a special outing. Drive around and look at the Christmas lights. Visit a popular bakery for pie and coffee. Purchase tickets to a concert, sporting event or theater attraction.
Everybody enjoys a good game, and it may be time for an upgrade. Consider purchasing large-print playing cards or a card holder for your favorite card-shark. Help keep minds sharp by giving Scrabble, crossword puzzles, find-a-word puzzles and Sudoku.
Sheets and towels among those items that everyone uses, but procrastinate to replace. Offer the gift of a nice set of sheets in a soft flannel or smooth cotton. Large bath towels that are actually big enough to wrap around the body can be an unexpected luxury item. Want to make it fancy? Get them monogrammed.
Whether it’s a one-time gift or monthly delivery, a flower arrangement brightens anyone’s day. Call a local floral shop for the best recommendations.
Basket of Toiletries
Put together a basket filled with your senior’s favorite toiletries: flavored lip balm, scent-free lotion, aftershave, and deodorant. Include some trial-sized items like wipes, facial tissues, and hand sanitizers that can be easily stored in a pocket or in a bag attached to a walker or wheelchair. Include a flashlight or nightlight.
Arthritis, loss of strength and dexterity can make it difficult for some older friends and family members to complete even simple tasks. Give assistive devices that make it easier to do everything from opening canned goods to gardening to fastening buttons.
For someone who doesn’t leave home often, letters and cards are a lifeline to loved ones all around the world. Give a box of all-occasion greeting cards. Add a roll of Forever stamps and an address book with updated postal and email addresses for family members and close friends.