Are you struggling to find the perfect gift for that special senior citizen in your life? I can relate; when my children ask me, it's challenging to think of something within their budget – a lavish trip to Australia might be over their budget. Even when I search online, it's tough to pinpoint something I truly want. To assist you, I've compiled a list of thoughtful gift ideas from working with seniors for over 15 years. Last year, people found my suggestions helpful, so I'm hopeful that this year's recommendations will be just as appreciated…
1. Granny Jo Products
As my mom faced various health challenges, she encountered increasing difficulty maneuvering sleeves, which became even more pronounced as she transitioned to using a wheelchair. Granny Jo's collection of capes and blankets emerged as a valuable solution, not only ensuring her warmth and comfort but also adding a stylish touch to her appearance. What's noteworthy is that the website extends beyond just clothing options, offering a range of accessories tailored to facilitate day-to-day activities. This approach not only enhances practicality but also contributes to an enthusiasm for staying active and engaged.
2. Vehicle Support Handle
Getting in and out of cars can be especially difficult as we age. My wife recently got rid of her Alfa Romeo, which was so low to the ground that I sometimes felt falling out of it and getting off the ground might be easier than standing up from the seat. I’ve also had knee replacements and during the recovery phase, it can be a challenge getting out of some cars. I found this interesting device that helps a great deal–and you can just stick it in a pocket so it’s pretty stealthy if you want to be! Be sure if you buy it as a gift that the person is strong and steady enough to use it safely.
Throughout the years, many of our clients have shared the sentiment that aging isn't for the faint of heart, echoing a similar line attributed to Betty Davis. Nevertheless, an interesting commonality among many is the role humor plays in brightening their days. If you have a senior in your life who appreciates a good laugh, introducing some humor might be just the thing. This is certainly a gift area where you should know your audience–for instance, I chuckle at the senility prayer even though I have Alzheimer’s in my family. I guess I am just strange that way, but I use humor to start up conversations–maybe with someone I have never met before.
4. Dining Scarves
If mom or dad are in a facility or dine out often, these reversible Dignified Dining Scarves might be a great gift option. There are many more choices on Etsy, but generally, they allow you to carry along some of the things you might need when away from your home–keeping it easily accessible and your clothes clean.
5. Simplified Remote Control
I’m guilty of having 5 remote controls and not knowing exactly how to use each of them to their fullest capability. I know one I can use with voice control, but when I yell at it–it responds much like the deaf dog we used to have. I recently found this dementia-friendly TV remote for a relative. My relative and his family love it because it does not do anything else! You can set up favorites and lock them down so mistakes are almost impossible to make. It can be very relaxing and empowering for someone with cognitive impairment to be able to turn on their television and watch a much-loved TV show.
Cameras are everywhere these days–especially on our smartphones. My wife turned her camera hobby into a bit of a second career after she retired. Believe me–If you need to spend big money on the holidays–you can spend a lot on cameras. One of the things that older photographers find difficult sometimes is stabilizing their camera–camera shake. One reason can be a senior can find it difficult to hold a camera steady for a long period for that much-anticipated photo. There are technical ways to reduce the blur caused by shake, but you can also purchase mounts that can help. Mounts come in a large variety and you need to consider the type of camera and planned usage–heck getting that right might be the fun part–maybe. You can also get camera stabilizers which generally are more for “on the go” types of photos.
Lumosity has been around for several years and is an online gaming platform primarily for seniors. There are over 50 games that help any user strengthen cognitive and motor skills. The games help you with useful features like asking if you want to work on your “worst set of skills” rather than just playing the ones you like, and showing you graphs on how you are doing. I’ve learned not to play younger people at some of these games–I think they have gaming embedded in their DNA now–they are hard to beat. You can try it for 14 days free and if you like it the cost is about $50 annually. The program is driven by science that’s trying to help with cognition–games may help with cognitive decline.
8. Household Mobility Upgrades (walker, cane, grab bars)
Safe mobility is a key concern for seniors living at home—independently or with you in your house. Buy your loved one a new walker, shower chair, or cane to help prevent falls, or have grab bars installed so they can more confidently and safely get to where they want to go. Many seniors will feel overjoyed to feel safer walking around the house or showering–a bit of freedom restored! Locally Corner Home Medical has a good variety of senior-friendly devices. Potentially a great place if you are the ultimate procrastinator--as they have their local stock.
I hope these ideas either sparked some of your thoughts or provided some last-minute gift ideas for your favorite seniors–get out there or online and pick up something they will love--or maybe just be useful!