By Nori Patnode, Certified Senior Concierge at Concierge Care Advisors
The holiday season is fast approaching as witnessed by walking into any retail store. Who do you feel are the most difficult people to shop for? In my opinion, our aging parents. They already have everything, right?
Here are some thoughts and ideas for what our senior parents may want for the holidays: How about something that makes their life easier, such as an electronic can opener? I know my Mom would appreciate such an appliance as her hands have become weak and painful and sometimes she is unable to open items such as cans, jars, etc.
Issues with decreased eyesight is also common and something that starts to happen to many of us around the age of 40. Many clients over the years have asked me for a magnifier or large print books. Let me warn you, it is difficult to find a good variety of large print books. Recently the owner of a small book store told me that a Kindle is the way to go because you can enlarge the text on any book. Plus, it is a gift that keeps on giving! You can buy gift cards to purchase books on their Kindle.
Numerous seniors are into travel now that they have the time. A travel magazine subscription or books on travel may be a wonderful and informative gift. Rick Steve’s has guide books and planning maps as well as Blu-rays and DVD’s on travel, and these could make wonderful gifts. Rick lives and works in Edmonds, Wash.
What activities do your parents enjoy? Do they like working on puzzles? Find a beautiful puzzle and when doing so think about their interests. Buy a puzzle with trains if they are or were into toy train sets. Maybe get a puzzle with beautiful flowers if they are into gardening. If needed there are large easy to assemble puzzles available. They may also enjoy Crossword, Sudoku or other type of “brain activity” books, which as we mentioned before are great activities for cognitive stimulation.
If your parent or parents are struggling with Dementia or Alzheimer’s they are likely even harder to buy for. Maybe they would enjoy memory or language card games. What about putting together memory albums with pictures and family stories to help them relive happy moments they can no longer remember.
Arts and crafts may be right up their alley. Art supplies may be a wonderful gift to help keep your parents interested in their favorite hobby. Paint supplies if they are a blooming artist. A tool they don’t have if they are into woodworking. Yarn for your favorite knitter.
One of my favorite things to do is put together a gift basket. It is fun to buy things periodically that you know your parents would like throughout the year and assemble a basket, box, or some other creative holder such as a gardening bucket or wash basin. Get creative and put together a theme basket. My husband and I put together an antique gardening gift box and it turned out to be fun. I found antique gardening tools and decorative items and my husband built a wooden box to put them in that can be used later as a planter box.
Have a conversation with your parents soon and try to figure out what they enjoy in order to come up with the perfect gift idea. I’m sure spending time with you is probably top on their list and the most inexpensive gift as well. Instead of something material maybe take them for a scenic drive and to lunch or dinner.
The gift of our time is likely the best gift of all.