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claire_de_luna

Holiday Gifts for ''Seniors''!

claire_de_luna
12 years ago

Now that we've determined that we are/are not seniors, I'm wondering what you think a good gift is?

My MIL, who is far more ''senior'' than I, is still driving in her eighties. We thought it would be nice to give her Taxi Service on those days when the weather is bad, she has a doctor's appointment, feels sickly or ''just because''. I was wishing for a card with a Taxi on it, and my husband went to the basement and brought up an old Fossil watch tin container in the shape of a TAXI! I took my labelmaker and put the name of the company, along with the phone number of the service, on four sides of that tin. Today I'm making up a coupon for the inside that says to REDEEM ANYTIME. I thought this might be a good segue from her driving days, to the point where she might not want to drive any longer. She lives in a small town, so no place she needs to go is very far. I'm glad we have the presentation covered, and hope she'll like and use this. What I like about it is it's something she can actually show to people, when she talks about it (and it's cute).

My mother liked the pair of compression socks I got her so much, I sent her two more pair, with a hand-washing kit of Woolite with some hook/clothespins to hang them to dry. She seemed thrilled with it. Her ankles had been swelling and after I suggested this, she realized her legs felt better when she wore these socks. The gift she gave me in return was telling me I was always good about figuring things like this out (which was unexpected and appreciated).

We can all use good ideas or inspirations, especially for people who sometimes seem hard to ''gift''. What are you doing for the ''seniors'' in your life?

Comments (39)

  • compumom
    12 years ago

    You're very creative! I'm stumped on my father, he's in a board & care facility and has some dementia. He won't remember nor will he really understand something clever. I guess a shirt or..but last year's shirt was still in the drawer with the price tag on it!
    For my mother, probably clothes, but I'd really like to give her something nicer. She's not spending on herself and I know if Dad was aware he'd be buying her something special. I just have no idea what! She's very fashionable, but not wearing her "good" clothes, very little reason to do so. What she needs is a companion-driver to take her to the theater or some other type of entertainment.

  • dedtired
    12 years ago

    I will be watching this thread with interst. My mom is 92 and it's so hard to buy for her. She is in very good healthy and quite active. She still drives and would scoff at the idea of hiring someone to drive her.

    Every year I get her a big bag of bird seed. She loves watching her bird feeder, so I know that is appreciated. I also get her a bunch of replacement filters for her Brita water pitcher. Howver, I think I have over done it since I discovered her stash of filters in the basement!

    She needs a new flashlight so I'll get that for her. She also mentioned that she likes a certain kind of potholder and if I can find them, I'll get those, too.

    I just wish I could get her a nice personal gift. There really isn't anything she needs and frankly, her financial situation is better than mine!

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  • doucanoe
    12 years ago

    Ellen, How about tickets to the theater or other event that she loves to do for her and yourself to spend some time together? You could pick her up and drop her back home, and maybe even stop for coffee and dessert afterward?

    I wish I could do something like that for my mom, but it's not something she would enjoy. She doesn't enjoy theater or concerts, or any kind of "event" really. She rarely eats out, and when she does she orders a cup of soup. Not much fun to take her to dinner!

    She quilts, and sews, but has every item she could possibly need for those hobbies. She is active in the American Legion Women's Auxilliary, but that doesn't lend itself to any gift ideas.

    I am stumped.

    Linda

  • triciae
    12 years ago

    On Christmas two years before my FIL passed, Jan. 31, 2007, I started in mid-summer gathering from various family members mementos & pictures that included a connection to Dad. Obvious things like pixs of DFIL & DMIL when they were young, pixs of their sons, grandchildren; but also stuff like old stubs from Bronco games they'd attended & special theater performances. There were also a couple ship passes from cruises and newspaper clippings chronicling their lives. I scrapebooked everything & gave it to him for Christmas.

    It was a huge hit & he looked through that book so much the edges were tattered. DMIL passed in 2002 & FIL was so lonely the last 5 years of his life. Whenever somebody was visiting he always grabbed his "This Is My Life" book to share.

    I gathered pixs of every house they'd ever lived in noting special events that had taken place in that house (kid's birth, 25th anniversary, job change/promotion, etc.). I also rummaged thru family pictures & put together shots of all the various cars they'd owned. When I couldn't find a picture I grabbed one off the Internet to fill in. I found pictures of all their pets. I included special events in their kid's lives like graduations, weddings, etc. but, to be honest, it was the older stuff of DFIL & DMIL that he loved to look at rather than kids/grandchildren.

    In some cases I had to get help from other family members so I could include pictures of their childhood homes when I couldn't find existing pixs. I wrote to living relatives asking if they had pictures & was able to snag shots of FIL's childhood home in Erie, CO & MIL's home in Farmer, ND. FIL moved to America in 1932 from Wales as a pre-schooler. I wrote several letters to Wales & hit the jackpot! Not only did I get a picture of the family homestead dating to the late 1890's, I also got one of the 2 century old stone tavern the family owned/operated. FIL didn't remember the buildings but seemed to love looking at those pictures & talking about what his parents had told him of the "old country".

    The project took several months & many hours but, for sure, was the most well received present I ever gave him.

    /tricia

  • lindac
    12 years ago

    I also was going to suggest pictures. In my MIL's last years looking through pictures was about the only way she became in touch with reality.
    Just a book with old pictures in it would be welcome....old pictures for the dementia patient, newer for those who still have a bit or reality about them.
    Linda c

  • dgkritch
    12 years ago

    My MIL is 85. No longer driving (won't go anywhere anyway), and is having balance and memory issues. Fixed income. Sweet tooth.

    So this year, she's getting a bottle of her favorite cologne (she wouldn't spend the money to buy for herself), a little desktop calendar with the flip pages to help her keep track of the days, and small size sweet snacks, cookies, etc. Luckily, she does not have a weight issue even though she does not exercise.

    I figure at 85, WTH! May as well smell pretty and eat what you want! :-)

    (by the way, that's pretty much HER attitude)!

    Deanna

  • claire_de_luna
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Tricia, that was a lovely gift. We did something similar for my parents 60th Anniversary. Unfortunately my mother can no longer see (Macular Degeneration) so it's not something she ever looks at any more. At the time however, she commented that anniversary party was one of the high points of her life. We added music cd's that were popular when they were married, which was also a hit.

    Deanna, good call! Smell pretty and eat what you want, indeed!

    Linda, does your mom read? Watch TV? Would Netflix be fun for her? One year when I was completely stumped, I outfitted my MIL's bed with new linens, bedspread and electric blanket. (She still likes to warm up the bed before she jumps in.) We've also given her a fuzzy robe, warm throw to put with her reading chair. I love my projection clock, as it puts the time on the ceiling in very big numbers when I'm not sleeping (wondering what time it is!) That one is such a hit with me, I got one for my guest room. (Everyone always comments on it.) MIL got a new electric kettle last year which she loved as she likes her daily cuppa'. We've also given big boxes of See's Chocolates, which have gone over well as both mothers have a sweet tooth. (Plenty to share, or look continue to forward to until the box was gone.) My mother also likes her bird feeder, and I've given her a wind spinner to put next to her window so she could see how windy the weather is. She's also an air sign, so she enjoys the ''spinning''. (She does a certain amount of ''spinning'' herself, so I don't wonder.) Those solar garden globes are very cool, as they're lit at night and it's something else to enjoy out the window when the sun goes down. My husband pays his mom's monthly cell phone bill, which would be a lovely thing to do. She doesn't talk much, so it's not a big deal. One year he gave her a Jitterbug, which is the perfect cell phone for someone who doesn't see as well, and needs a phone without bells and whistles. The numbers are big, backlit, and easy to manipulate. The screen is the biggest I've seen, so it's very readable.

    I started this because I've had so much trouble in the past trying to figure it out, and know that I'm not alone. It's a tough thing to figure out isn't it?

  • Gina_W
    12 years ago

    Senior sweet-tooth seems to be common. All my mom really likes to get anymore are chocolates (See's). My in-laws are all in their mid-80s, and man is it hard to buy gifts for them. My MIL was complaining that she can't find American books easily in Israel, and she would like to read the newspapers online now, but not on her desktop. So I'm thinking of what can make it easier for her in those regards.

    In the meantime, we have finally hooked up a camera/microphone combo on a computer at home so we can Skype each other and see each other. (We only had a microphone before). They love that. They don't use cell phones, so they use the free Skype to talk to all their children and grands around the world.

  • claire_de_luna
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Gina, would a Kindle work for her to read newspapers?

  • Gina_W
    12 years ago

    Yes it would, we discussed that option. But Kindle service isn't available in Israel. She could download books while she is here in the states and read them off the Kindle anywhere. But she wouldn't be able to download the daily paper.

    One of the small netbooks might work - if she could hold it comfortably on her lap on one of those cooling pads. She's not sure if she could read like that.

  • claire_de_luna
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    How about a reader's table? I think Levengers has one,and know there are other versions.

  • claire_de_luna
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Maybe something like this?

    Here is a link that might be useful: Laptop Stand

  • Gina_W
    12 years ago

    Good ideas Claire, thanks!

  • cotehele
    12 years ago

    This thread is like having our own personal shopper-I love all the ideas. Thanks for starting it, Claire.

    DF is 85, is diabetic, has heart disease, seldom wears his hearing aids, has little interest in doing things, and complains about everything. He no longer drives, falls asleep as soon as he sits down, doesn't read (never has). Movies aren't an option. They love Don Knotts, but they never watched the DVD of Apple Dumpling Gang I got for them. Dad is cold much of the time, so I thought about sweaters, long underwear, bath robe. Nope, he didn't want those. Ugh!

    My step-mother is 82. She still drives locally. She loves to cook. I've gotten her a really nice skillet and other kitchen utensils. At best she doesn't use them; at worst, I couldn't find them when I wanted to use them!

    They both like money. They always give us money because it's effortless. It is so pointless to pass $$ back and forth! I hate it. This year Dad is getting Godiva sugar free candy. (I remember yummy See's candy we had living in Loma Linda in the late 1970s.) SM is getting an have an Ovglove-she burns herself regularly. And, Penzeys hot chocolate, cinnamon, ginger and buttermilk dressing. I'd like something else for DF. Any ideas?

    Claire & Tricia, DMIL & DFIL are celebrating their 60th Anniversary this June. They reminisce fondly about their friends, family, past homes and experiences of their life. They would love a scrapbook and music. We kids will get started on that over Christmas. Thanks!!

  • saraemmasmom
    12 years ago

    Last year I gave my 85 yr old mom a cooler filled with individual frozen meals topped with a big red bow. Mom is still active but lives alone and I noticed she was starting to rely more and more on processed/canned foods. She said she just didn't feel like cooking much anymore. She relies on someone else to take her food shopping and doesn't like to bother them too often, so she would stock up on frozen stuff.

    For about a month prior to Christmas, whenever I would make soups, stews, casseroles, etc. for the family, I would just make extra for her. Packed it all in disposable plastic containers and froze. I added a frozen vaccuum packed kielbasa and some bread/rolls. I also included a box of boil in bag rice.

    She was thrilled. She would call me often throughout the next few months to let me know what item she had eaten. I also noticed that she made sure to save the containers and give them back to me. I'm sure for refills this year!!! LOL An added bonus - my kids had fun cooking for Grandma.

  • ruthanna_gw
    12 years ago

    My MIL passed away this year at age 98 so we had quite a few years of gift-giving quandries. One thing I didn't see mentioned that she really liked was a selection of get well, "thinking of you", birthday and sympathy cards with some books of pretty postage stamps. The dollar stores in our area had a better selection of those thinking of you cards than the card shops and she liked to send those to her friends to brighten up their days.

  • wizardnm
    12 years ago

    A couple of weeks ago I was visiting my DM, who has been in a nursing home, she asked me to go to Wallyworld. Her roommate had some cute, not too heavy, PJ's and had purchased them there. Off I went....

    I found a couple of PJ sets for her, they are the type of thing that is comfy and not to bedroom looking, I know she plans on wearing then in the daytime. But I also found a surprise for her.... a full length recliner chair pad. It has heat for your back, vibrates on your legs and back (EJ.might like this) and is made with a pretty thick foam for extra padding. The black cover is probably nylon and I thought it would be easy to move on. Anyway, I figured it was worth the $40. to give it a try. I put it on her chair, ready for her return to the apartment from the nursing home. She returned to her apartment last week and one of the first things she said was how she liked the chair pad. I'm glad I had it all set up for her, she might never have done it herself.

    So there's a couple of ideas for older folks (DM is now 89)....dare I say it? Jammys and vibrating things!

    Nancy

  • woodie
    12 years ago

    Wow - SaraEmmasMom! How are you????? How old are your girls now? Nice to hear from you :)

  • centralcacyclist
    12 years ago

    I find that food gifts of things most older people won't buy for themselves are usually well received. Gourmet cheeses, chocolates, shortbread cookies, small jars of special jams, interesting crackers, a nice bottle of port. My home canned items were well liked, the salsas especially. Last year I made tamales and froze them. My former in-laws loved them as a treat they don't encounter often. I like the idea of frozen entrees, too. Many folks have little interest in cooking for themselves but still like to eat something tasty.

  • claire_de_luna
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Cotehele, Regarding the 60th Anniversary...one thing we did was also send to friends and family a self-addressed stamped envelope asking them to share memories, photographs, good times. That helped fill out the scrapbook with things my parents remembered that we often knew nothing about. The pictures were particularly fun to look through, and the letters were priceless. My parents were able to remember how many friends they've had in their lifetime, which was an added benefit of the day.

    Ruthanna, Yes! I did that one year for my mom (and myself) and I know she depends on having a card for the right occasion. I know my box surely makes sending a card so easy. In a similar vein, we've also given rolls of quarters for the laundry, and a rolling cart to take the laundry down in.

    Nancy, love the vibrating things! Did it have a heater too?

    Eileen and saraemmasmom, that is a great idea. I used to take my Dad special meals when I would visit which I know he loved. My mom had almost quit cooking by then, and most of her cooking has no flavor. He really enjoyed those meals, especially the ones with home-made noodles. I would also make my grandmother's cinnamon rolls, which he Loved.

    While my MIL was here at Thanksgiving, I taped the Oprah episode that had Teddy Kennedy's wife on. That revealed how much she wanted to read his book, True Compass, as she likes autobiographies. Since it's a lengthy tome, we figured it would be good for the entire holiday season. She's already opened the book and started on it (as I thought she would). My Dad also used to enjoy reading as well. It's great as long as they can still see! One other thing I did for her while she was here, was use Mustangs fabulous idea of putting all her medications/vitamins in a flat divided tackle/craft box, labeled on the inside/outside. I organized them together (morning, mid-day, evening, bedtime) so all she'd have to do is go down the line to pick out what she needed. She realized (as I did when Cathy showed it to me) that opening one lid for all her meds is SO MUCH EASIER than opening each bottle individually, many times a day. The best part is when you go out of town, it's easy as the whole box goes. I gave her a neoprene lunch bag to put the box into for her suitcase and reminded her to make sure the lid is shut! In order to pull this together, it really helps to have a label maker; if you've always wanted one, its a great place to start.

  • annie1992
    12 years ago

    My mother is 74, we just bought her a digital camera, she's the family "paparazzi"! My stepmom is 76, I got her a gift card because she doesn't like anything as much as she likes to shop.

    Elery's Dad is 86. He has always been a clothes horse, so much that his nickname has always been "Dude". We got him a shirt and tie, just like always. Elery's stepmom is 84, she gets jewelry because she loves it.

    Included in their Christmas card is always a handful of McDonald's gift certificates, Elery's Dad just loves to have breakfast there, a bunch of "seniors" get together in the morning to solve the problems of the world, so you can find him daily at the local McDonald's. Plus, sometimes, he and his wife split a sundae. (grin)

    Annie

  • booberry85
    12 years ago

    I try and get my Mom practical gifts that she won't buy for herself. Last year she wanted a vacuum for upstairs so she didn't have to lug the one she has up & down stairs. This year I bought her a new wallet. I'm thinking of getting her a new TV too. The ones she has always seem to die on her.

    Food gifts are always welcomed. She gets snarky if I tell her I ran out of home canned spaghetti sauce.

    If she's still driving, how about an automatic car starter so she doesn't have to go outside on cold days to start the car? My mother-in-law has one & loves it.

  • Gina_W
    12 years ago

    Becky, this last trip to see MIL and stepFIL, they enlisted my help in getting a DVD player hooked up to their old TV. They had to buy a "modulator" also for the old TV. We went to Best Buy to see if they could help - turns out the TV was just too old. So DH and I bought them a small flat screen TV with built-in DVD player - unbelievably cheap and easy. They can afford anything they want but they are extremely frugal. They felt forced to get the DVD player because they get books and movies from the library, and the library is phasing out videotapes of course.

    We hooked up the new TV and watched South Pacific!

  • pkramer60
    12 years ago

    I have the same problem. Dad is 82, very active and healthy, but always says he doesn't need anything. Mention clothing and he wil tell you he has plenty.

    So this year I ordered the RoadID bracelet for him. Every morning he takes the dog for a long walk, carrying only his cell phone. If heaven forbid, something were to happen, no id on him. This velco closure bracelet has his name, phone and emergency contact info on it. In addition to my numbers, I added a neighbor who is retired and always home to it. You can customize it to suit. A gift for both of us.

    Here is a link that might be useful: RoadID

  • centralcacyclist
    12 years ago

    Cell phones are a good gift idea. I think a lot of older people still don't have them and they are certainly useful in case of a fall or other emergency when they can't reach the land line.

  • beanthere_dunthat
    12 years ago

    My grandmother was easy to buy for because she was on a very limited income and was also very practical. She was happy with things like a box with various gift cards and stamps, hand lotions, etc., but what really thrilled her was when we gave her services. For example, one year I shampooed her carpets, my brother had her windows washed. She was over the moon. Then, for her birthday, my sister one-upped us (in the best way) by making a standing date with her for three hours every Thursday afternoon to do whatever she wanted to do, whether it was run errands, go to dinner, or visit a friend.

    My MIL isn't so easy. She doesn't have any hobbies, none of us have ever seen her use anything we've given her (including food items -- she hoards them for a "later" that never comes), won't let us take her to dinner or an event, and she is in far better financial shape than any of us are. We finally gave up and just donate to her favorite charity.

  • sheesh
    12 years ago

    Maybe it's just my mom, but family pictures actually made her sad for what used to be! We thought it was such a good idea and would help with her short-term memory loss if she could have pictures of all of us while we were growing up, plus recent pics of her great-grands, but all it did was make her cry...every time she saw the album! We've put it away.

    I didn't mean to rain on the suggestion, I just thought I'd mention another aspect.

    Sherry

  • dedtired
    12 years ago

    Peppi you should be sure your Dad's cell phone has an emergency contact in his cell phone. ON the Contacts list put ICE [in case of emergency]then the name and number of the person to call in an emergency. Put a sticker on the outside of the phone to remind rescuers to look there.

    Actually, we all should do it. My cell phone already has the words In Case of Emergency as the first number in the contacts list. Most cell phones have that now.

    Here is a link that might be useful: ICE your cell phone

  • pkramer60
    12 years ago

    Dedtired, both of our phones have that and EMT's will also dial the "Home" listing in contacts. I do like the idea of a sticker on the phone though.

    One note for senoirs and cell phones. Many find them confusing and the buttons are so tiny for arthritic hands. I don't know the details of the Jitterbug phone but I like the larger buttons, no camera, no extras on it. It is just a phone.

  • party_music50
    12 years ago

    Speaking of larger buttons, my father found one of these "jumbo remote control" units for himself and he LOVES his. He says it's SO much easier to use with his eyes and fingers.

    This is just a random one I found with a quick search, but I think it's a great idea for a gift for seniors who like to watch television:
    http://www.amazon.com/Really-Universal-Jumbo-Remote-Control/dp/B000R7NBIO

  • claire_de_luna
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Here is what the Jitterbug looks like. My MIL has had her phone quite a while, but got it out to show it to me the last time she was here. I take that to mean she really likes it!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Jitterbug

  • beanthere_dunthat
    12 years ago

    I looked at the Jitterbug for myself and would have gone with it except I was told it the reception where we are is "iffy". Probably just as well since with DH and me on the same service, we get free cell-to-cell.

    But the numbers are nice and large, the buttons are high contrast, and it's very easy to use since there isn't all that cra...um...other stuff to contend with. I really wish our cell provider offered something even remotely like it.

  • kathleenca
    12 years ago

    cotehele, one year I found battery-operated house socks for my FIL. Mukluks help cold feet too.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Mukluk slippers

  • cotehele
    12 years ago

    Kathleen, thanks! I had not thought about socks. My dad asked for slippers a few years ago. He picked out some, I ordered them, and he sent them back. I think he returns as much as he keeps. Surely he would keep socks.

  • claire_de_luna
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Well my MIL got her Christmas gift, and loved it. My DH generously gave me credit for coming up with the idea; she told me she loved me before, and if possible, loved me even more now! She also said she couldn't wait to take it around the entire building and show it to everyone. I thought you might like to see how the ''presentation turned out''.

  • beanthere_dunthat
    12 years ago

    Claire, it's adorable!
    How did you manage the payment part? Do they bill you, or ???

  • claire_de_luna
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Yes, we set it up so all she'd have to do is identify herself and we will be billed. I had no idea she'd be so thrilled with this, but I'm so glad it turned out well for all of us.

  • claire_de_luna
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    This one would also work really well, along the same lines.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Tin Taxi