So many people want to know what they should give their parents, their grandparents, or an aging friend. For as many questions as there are, there are also answers to that question.

As in any gift giving, think about the gift recipient:

• What is their relationship to you
• What do they like and enjoy
• What do they need in their life right now
• What do they NOT need in their life – don’t give that!
• What would make their life easier
• What would make them happy and bring them joy
• Would the gift be easy for them to use or would it be too difficult and frustrating

Along those lines you might think about their living situation – do they need help with housework, laundry, getting groceries, making meals, getting yard work or other household chores done that are just too difficult now? The answer might be to find them an agency that can provide the inside chores such as laundry, housework, shopping, and cooking. (Just make sure you’re getting services from an agency that does the proper background checks and pays the employees’ taxes) Ask for a reputable referral from Concierge Care Advisors if you don’t know where to start. We work with only vetted and approved agencies in most Seattle areas. You can pay for the time that fits into your budget and that would be helpful to your loved one.

How about a personally made gift card from you for lawn mowing, snow removal, gutter cleaning, or dinner out (or brought in) from their favorite restaurant would bring a smile or two to your senior’s face and warm their heart to know you care and are thinking about them.

Cooking for one is no fun, and most seniors start to neglect their nutrition and eat too much canned and prepared food high in salt and chemicals but may be an easy way to fill the immediate need at meal time. Make a nice container of cut up melon, berries, and some fresh muffins, scones, or cookies that aren’t out of a package, and see how they smile at your ingenuity and thoughtfulness. Take some fresh salad greens and shrimp or grilled chicken and make a nice dinner salad with hot bread or rolls. Don’t forget the wine!

Does your senior need someone to take them shopping for food, clothing, shoes, pet food? Do they need a ride to the doctor? Would they enjoy a day out visiting a museum, going to a movie, a concert, a ballet, going fishing, on a whale watch excursion, going to the zoo, visiting a nursery for a few new plants, having lunch at a fun new or old favorite spot? Even if your loved one still drives, it is always best to give them the gift of our time and attention. By the time we’re adults, most of us have the material things we need, but we often don’t have the time we would like to have doing something with our loved ones. Get creative and let your imagination roam over the years that you’ve know the person you’re trying to get a gift for and go with the ideas that feel like the right fit for your loved one. Once you start thinking about it you’ll have more ideas than you can do at any one time. Keep the list handy for the next occasion.

The giving and receiving is best for both sides if there is thought and care put into the process. Anyone can give a bottle of wine, but not everyone will think to pair that with a nice basket of crackers, bread, nuts, fruit and a picnic at the park on a beautiful day. Have fun with it and watch the joy your gift brings.

Here are some ideas I’ve either given or seen make a senior happy:

• Time with family. Family pictures and family meals.
• Photo books from family vacations (Shutterfly app to produce photo books)
• Movie DVDs. A dear friend bought her parents the Art Wolf Travel series that started their tradition of “movie matinee” every Sunday.
• Meditation /chair
• Yoga CD with headphones
• Chotchka hooks for keys, glasses, etc.
• Jitterbug cell phone (big numbers, really easy)
• TV remote: Flipper Big Button universal remote
• IPAD with pre-loaded games, puzzles Jigsaw puzzles custom made from family photos.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at