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From the Neighborhood Press

Gift Ideas for Seniors

The holidays were just around the corner. But what to get Grandma? Ellen’s two granddaughters, Macy and Sierra, always did their Christmas shopping the first week of November. It was tradition. Cousins, they took turns traveling across the state to visit malls, shops and have dinner afterwards together. Their grandma was always first on their list. She lived in an assisted living community and couldn’t get out much anymore. It was so fun to pick out items for her and then pack them with colorful gift wrap. Every year the girls thought hard about what Grandma might like. The gifts were usually small but made all the difference in the world to Ellen. She felt so loved and cared for.

Do you have an elderly family member in senior care or an assisted living home? Or perhaps still living on their own? Seniors love to be remembered and often, the holidays are what they live for. Seeing family, being surrounded by love. These seniors are the ones that should be at the top of all of our holiday shopping lists! Gifts don’t have to be fancy or big. A few small but thoughtful gifts wrapped in cheerful colors can go a long ways. Here are some ideas to get you started!

Inspiration

Everyone is inspired by different things. If you visit your senior family members often, you will begin to find out what best brightens their day and is interesting for them. But even if you haven’t figured that out yet, there are gifts that will make almost anyone happy. Besides, they’ll know you thought of them.

Treats and sweets. Who doesn’t love a box of chocolates? Or even better yet, a freshly baked pumpkin loaf. Wrap the box of candy or baked goods in some holiday paper, add some ribbon and you’re set! It’s important to make sure the food items you choose are not too hard for an elderly person to chew. Peanut brittle can be hard on an elder person’s teeth, for example. Also make sure you know what food allergies or restrictions they may have before you bake all those wonderful cookies!

Activity books or puzzles. Mind stimulating activities are great for people of all ages – and especially seniors. Some people enjoy word puzzles or number games. Make sure they are fun and just the right level of challenge. If you know Grandpa is into sports, for example, you can try to find a crossword puzzle that is sports related. Some seniors struggle with memory and may need some extra thought in selecting the best activities or even games that would be the correct level of challenge. If your senior has dementia or Alzheimer’s and is in Memory Care or a nursing home, consider asking their caregivers for advice in this area. Coloring books for adults are becoming popular. Even if you aren’t an artist, it’s fun to pick out colors and watch pictures or patterns unfold on a page. It can be soothing and relaxing to work with a set of fun colored pencils or paints. Make sure to include any art items necessary!

Technology. If you are thinking of going all in this year, consider setting your senior up with the technology they need for video calls. These days with Covid-19, circumstances are constantly changing and your senior may be required to spend time away from the general public. In person visits may not be indicated. That’s when technology can make a big difference in keeping seniors connected with their family. IPads or other devices that can be easily turned on and managed are perfect choices. There are some devices that are even specially geared for seniors! Then download a FaceTime or Skype app and help them navigate through their first call. Make other family members aware of the new video visit possibility so they can get involved too! Grandparents love to keep in touch with their grandchildren or greatgrandchildren and experience all the milestones even if they can’t be there physically in person.

Books. Many elderly people love to read. You can find out what topics are inspiring to them. Perhaps Grandpa is into one of the World Wars. Even if Grandpa can’t read anymore, you can introduce him to audio books! A subscription to a program such as Audible is a great way to bring some joy into a senior’s life. Make sure they have the proper technology to use audio books such as a smart phone or iPad. If your senior lives in an assisted living community, take the time to check if there is a community library for further reading opportunity. Once Grandpa is inspired by your book, he may be interested in a visit to the library!

Something warm and practical. Small gifts can be the most useful. It’s the season to stay warm. Fuzzy socks and a new bathrobe can be just the thing to keep your senior comfortable. Or, a nice pair of gloves or a scarf with a box of tea can be the perfect gift. Make sure your senior has all the items they need to stay warm this fall and winter!

It can be fun to think of what to get family members and anticipate their eyes lighting up as you walk through the door with a special gift. If your senior has a specific hobby, it can help you out quite a bit in finding the perfect gift. Does grandma like to knit or crochet? Find some patterns or yarn at an arts and crafts store. Be sure to spend time with your senior family members throughout the year so you can explore what makes them inspired. In fact, this could be a great New Year’s resolution! It’s the season to enjoy each other and spend time with family!

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