Gift Giving to Older Loved Ones

It’s that time of year again when gift giving is front of mind. The question now is what to get our older loved ones who may be in retirement residences, nursing homes or still in their own home or condo. What kind of gift will they really be able to use and enjoy when their closets and cabinets are already full of sweaters, trinkets and figurines?

When thinking about gifts for older people, take a moment to look at their lifestyle and how they spend their time. Think about gifts that will make their life more comfortable and enjoyable. Most are long past accumulation of “stuff, and are now concerned about “rightsizing” and organizing for the lifestyle they live today.

Your time is the greatest gift you can offer, but you can’t always be around as much as you would like or your loved one wants. If you are looking for more relevant gifts, here are some wonderful ideas that are sure to be appreciated:

  • Membership to a local senior centre that offers social meal programs, fitness classes, skill classes and other services
  • Gift membership for tai chi, swimming and aqua-fit classes that are fun and provide ways to remain active
  • Taxi coupons or gift cards to help get around safely
  • Gift certificates to local restaurants  with healthy options or home-cooked meals that help them remain well-nourished and more physically and mentally alert
  • Gift certificate for de-cluttering or move organizing services
  • Gift certificates for in-home haircuts and caregiving services

Pedicures and home visits from a trained foot nurse are very good for both men and women because our feet become more troublesome as we age. Treat them to a therapeutic massage right in their home. Think of all the challenges your loved one may face and what you can do to help. When enriching their lives with books and music, be sure to check the print size and the weight of the book and take the time to teach them how to use that new iPod or E-reader.

Email and internet are good ways to learn and stay in touch with family and friends, but some may be nervous of the new technology. If they are struggling with their home computer or need an unbiased confidence boost, consider a gift certificate for in-home lessons.

Telephones are important tools for seniors. The ability to have handsets in every room is a practical gift for not only their peace of mind but ours too. Just remember that your help to install and program the equipment is a must.

Many older folks are concerned about spending and worry about how long their money will last. There’s nothing wrong with cash discreetly tucked into a card either. This option provides opportunity to choose something on their own or help with the cost of medication or daily living.

Giving a gift at any time is a way to say we care, but to acknowledge the importance that person holds in our life is the greatest gift that we can ever offer. If we can somehow find a way to step back from our hectic lives to appreciate a little time with our loved ones, the lessons we will learn will be their greatest legacy and gift to all.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season.