In this article we discuss all of the following topics:
- Gifts for the kitchen
- Reminder gifts
- Comfort gifts
- Mind games gifts
- health gifts
- Sentimental gifts
- Dot it yourself (DIY) gifts
- Practical gifts
As the seasons change, so do our interests. We mature and move away from the things we once held dear. But despite this trend, as we enter the twilight years, there is often a deep yearning for the past. This duality can make finding a gift for the elderly all the more difficult. In order to avoid the confusion that comes with finding a present for a loved one, here thus are a few things you should take into consideration.
- Is it practical?
- Does it make their life easier or provide them comforts?
- Will it bring a smile to their face?
- Do they live independently or in an assisted living facility?
Autonomy and Security:
Many older adults wish to maintain their autonomy. It’s a valuable part of acquiring more knowledge about oneself, and a point of pride. Understandably therefore, you may also want to consider their security. Where they value their security and autonomy most is in their home.
The Kitchen is the part of the house that is used most frequently, especially for family gatherings. But it is also where serious accidents commonly occur. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), adults over the age of 65 are more than twice more likely to die from a kitchen fire than the general population. So to mitigate these risks, the following gifts may prove useful:
- Stove tops and electrical issues are usually the culprits for fires. A smart gift could thus be an induction cooktop. These appliances are very practical in the kitchen because there are no open flames, and they are not gas-powered appliances, which greatly lowers the risks of fires. An induction cooktop immediately cools itself down and thes shuts itself off when it does not detect the placing of a pan or skillet on the unit. This greatly reduces the chances of fire and injury. The simplistic design makes the cooktop easy to use, and its light weight and portability make it effortless to clean. It also saves energy, time, and money. Who wouldn’t love a gift like that?
- The once simple job of opening a can may now be harder for someone with arthritis or Parkinson’s, so a great gift to lighten the burden would be a battery powered can opener. They are quite simple, and all that is required is to attach the can to the appliance, and then it propels the can on it’s own.
Older adults often find themselves forgetting things. This can range from simply misplacing keys, to not remembering to take their medication, a mistake that can have serious consequences. Here are some suggestions that can help them with this problem:
- A great gift idea that helps bring their independence back is The Reminder Rosie. This mechanism is used to remind adults to perform daily activities such as taking medications and keeping appointments. This product is voice activated, so it requires no touch, which is perfect for the visually impaired or arthritic seniors. It is also all recorded in a personal voice, which gives the person comfort and familiarity. You can record up to 25 daily or weekly reminders, plus it works during power outages and can be recorded in many languages.
- The Key Finder is another useful item that solves a common problem. It helps locate the lost keys within a 45 foot radius. It includes a base and two marked key fobs, so when the keys go missing, just push the button on the marker that corresponds to the lost set of keys and an alert-alarm goes off. It is an inexpensive stocking-stuffer gift.
- Remembering to take medications can be a mild nuisance for elders, especially when they have to take various pills for different ailments throughout the day. Pill organizers can be an essential way to establish order for oneself. This is also a great way to lower the chances for prescription drug misuse, which can cause a host of challenges. They come in a variety of styles and range from daily, weekly to monthly storage; they also vary in size. You should however consider ease of access: can they open the pill organizer with ease? Some pill organizers come with a reminder system and alarm clock, which is also helpful to those who have hearing issues or visual issues.
Keeping warm is a key way for avoiding sickness, and with a heated blanket, you are sure to keep them feeling warm. A heated blanket can be a cozy way for someone to curl up on a couch or in bed. These blankets range in size and are made of soft polyester microfiber. They feature an automatic shut-off device for safety, and a digital controller with different heat settings. The blanket comes in a array of contrasting colors, including blue, red, sage, or tan.
Studies have shown that using learning games such as puzzles helps slow the effects of memory loss and other cognitive impairments of the brain. They also help with socializing in a group setting, which produces a healthy outlook. A USA Today report found that people over the age of 65 that engaged in creative activities were healthier than those who did not engage in anything artistic. Here are some ideas for mind games:
- Puzzles and coloring books are fun ways to engage with the elderly; they also promote independence and aid in cognition.
- Websites, like Pastimes.com and many more, offer a vast number of puzzles for seniors who enjoy solving games. They also help arthritic hands and those who are visually impaired.
- For seniors who wish to learn how to crochet, a crochet book can be a great way for them to hone in their skills. These books show different styles of stitching, and they also provide step-by-step guides with photographs and helpful tips.
A healthy lifestyle is important for all people, and particularly for seniors. To attain good health, the elderly need to partake in activities and healthy nutrients that help mitigate against problems that compromise their well-being. Good sleep and vitamin D are essential in this context, but if an aging person does not get adequate sleep or enough sunlight, certain parts of their health may suffer. Here are a few helpful items:
- To help deal with sleeping disorders, a good investment would be a sleep machine. It plays calming sounds of nature that help one fall asleep. It is also relaxing, and it can block out distracting sounds. A machine that presents these qualities and more is the Ecotones Sleep Therapy Machine. It has 10 sound profiles, three richness settings to control sounds, two operational settings, an alarm clock, and adaptive sound technology. This adaptive sound technology refers to the machine’s ability to continuously listen and adapt to the sounds in said room. To better understand this, if an elderly person lives near a busy street where cars drive by all through the night, the machine will notice this and adjust the volume of the sound, thus drowning out the distraction. It’s also lightweight and portable, so that they can take it when they go on trips.
- Some seniors face mobility issues and may not get the adequate amount of sunlight and vitamin D, thus often causing deficiencies in calcium. Calcium is a necessary ingredient that supports the body’s bone structure, heart health, and a strong immune system. “Vitamin D Light” would thus be a great gift. These lamps provide light indoors regardless of what the weather is like on the outdoors. They are also FDA-approved.
- Humidifiers are a great way to keep a measured amount of moisture and humidity in the air. Humidifiers can thus help relieve respiratory issues such as allergies, sinus congestion, runny nose and asthma. Many humidifiers can last up to eight hours and more before shutting off.
Everyone loves to think back to a moment that was special. It could have been a historical event, such as where they were when JFK was assassinated, or a childhood memory that perhaps involved close friends or family members, the day they got married, and the like. Whatever the reminiscence, there are quite a few ideas that will help them recall nostalgic occasions like that:
- A scrapbook or memory book is great gift since these promote creativity of the mind. Visuals can immediately bring a moment back, so adding pictures and knick-knacks makes for a pleasant pastime and gift. Maybe the older person had a favorite television show, so printing pictures from their favorite episodes and writing quotes underneath may also be pleasurable. Personalizing a scrapbook lets them know that effort and time were taken into making the gift, which will be greatly appreciated.
- Memory journals can offer tools to help jog their memory. These journals have in-depth questions that aid in record keeping. Some of the topics include family events, life lessons, historical events, religious beliefs and more. Upon completion, these books can be nicely personalized and handed down.
- Another gift that is sure to please seniors would be a recording tape, video or book from their grandchildren. The grandkids can record a simple story and then send it to their grandparent. They can also be personalized with pictures and words.
In addition to some of these creative ideas, we must not forget the DIY gift. With a little ingenuity, you can make a present that will warm an elderly person’s heart.
- Homemade gift certificates are great for silly tasks and/or more practical ones. This will be a labor of love that won’t go overlooked.
- An inventive idea for handymen would be an altoid toolbox. This project will require two altoid tins, a couple of blunt-ended sheet metal screws, 20 gauge beading wire, and spray paint for metal. With a little patience and forethought, you’ll be on your way to a giving an unforgettable gift.
- The monogrammed mug is a very inexpensive gift that only requires scissors, a pen, tape, graphite transfer paper, a black porcelain pen in fine point, and a printout with his or her initials.
As we age, everyday tasks such as grabbing a can out of the pantry, or squatting to open a cabinet become less easy to perform. And with perhaps recent surgeries or other health-related problems, figuring out how to acquire certain items can be a matter of concern. In addition, maintaining cognitive abilities and faculties is a common theme among our elders; studies have shown that continuous learning as we age may help slow down the processes of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Here are a few specific ideas towards that:
- More often than not, seniors show little interest in today’s electronics, opting for example for the traditional button-dialing phone. Big Button Phones are a great option. They have large tabs for visually impaired individuals, as well as speakers and redial functions. Certain phones may include speed-dialing settings. The phone can be wall mounted or set on the table at the convenience of the person you are gifting.
- Wrap up a Reacher/Grabber; it’s quick and at the ready for their individual needs.
- Another helpful gift for those in their golden years would be a Gift Certificate to a cleaning service. Allow them the option of relaxing while the service gives their home a professional cleaning. If you can use some help finding a cleaning service near you, visit MollyMaid.com.
- Give them the gift of learning by enrolling them in learning classes. Many are offered at local community centers and colleges.
- As previously stated, visual impairments have a significant impact on one’s quality of life in their prime. If no proper measure is taken, there is a greater chance for a variety of mishaps to occur . Many consider a light hand-held magnifying glass a saving grace since it enlarges and shines light on words they otherwise would have trouble seeing.
- Audio impairment can be quite irritating, and replaying a scene or raising the volume can also be a bit of a nuisance for others nearby. A wireless headphone can offer help. This device helps the senior understand the television and dialogue. They also drown out background noise, eliminating distractions. It also lowers audio spikes that come for example with commercials.
- If the older adult in your life enjoys books but has difficulties holding them, a book rest is the gift that will put a smile on their face. Depending on where you shop, these come in a variety of sizes and colors, with pockets and bookmarks.
- Dexterity Kits can be useful tools to help navigate the everyday living chores. These kits include a key turner, zipper and button puller, pen and pencil cushions, spoon and fork holder, and lamp switch holders.
- Many seniors have mobility challenges, so giving them a handybar for vehicles is a great way for them to gain confidence and independence. Simply slide the tool in the door latch. Some of these come with window breakers and/or seatbelt-cutters for emergencies.
Older adults love being entertained as much as the next person. Here are few ideas that you can personalize for them:
- A fun gift that they are sure to enjoy are tickets to concerts or plays or to view their favorite performers in action. These may be pricey but will bring them such joys.
- Audio books offer great convenience for those with visual impairments. Audible.com and other websites offer thousands of books and, typically, the first month’s subscription is free and is reasonable thereafter. Audiobooks can also be purchased at book stores.
- For those that prefer a more hands-on approach to reading, a monthly magazine subscription is a great option. There are tons to pick from, so make sure you get a magazine that will be enjoyed by your special person. Examples include Reader’s Digest and Guide Post which offers some awe-inspiring articles.
- Game books are often some of the most fun and thought-provoking gifts for seniors. These promote cognition. They come in large print and typically include a crossword puzzle, word search, sudoku, and other mixed games.
- Music plays a big part in life for most people, but for seniors, listening to music has been found to lower anxiety and depression. MP3 players are great for their portability and storage space. They are also very easy to use: all you need to do is pre-download their favorite music. If by chance they show little interest in the mp3, another option would be a portable radio. There are no tiny buttons, hard to read electronic displays or other confusing items. This high-quality gift offers easy listening to their favorite AM/FM stations.
Seniors work hard at preserving their self-esteem and often desire as much of an autonomous lifestyle as is possible, no matter how dependent they may be. Thus facilitating activities and reducing the chances of injury is most valuable in your selection of gifts. With all of the information that has been provided, you ought to be well on your way to finding the senior in your life a great gift for each occasion.
And while it’s nice to receive a present every now and then, many of our seniors appreciate time with loved ones far more than any trinket or device. If you really cannot think of any worthwhile gift, perhaps spending an afternoon watching their favorite show or cooking their favorite meal will brighten their day. Some of the best gifts can consist of only your time, love, and caring.