If you find yourself asking “what should I get Grandma for Christmas?” or “what could I possibly get for Dad? He already has everything!” you’re not alone. Many kids and grandkids have a tough time shopping for older adults – especially when those individuals insist that they don’t want anything. To help out, we’ve rounded up nine great gifts for the older individuals in your life.
Time together. If you don’t get to spend a lot of time together throughout the year, the gift of time is often the best thing you can offer. Rather than another necktie or bracelet, offer to take your loved one shopping, to dinner, or just spend some time together playing a board game.
- Services. It may be difficult or even dangerous for older individuals to complete chores such as mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, or dusting the house. Volunteer your time to complete these tasks, and set up a date or schedule of times when they will be completed. If you live far away or won’t be able to perform the duties yourself, consider hiring a landscaper or cleaning service to help out instead.
- Gift Certificates. Purchase a gift card for a massage, manicure, spa day, or restaurant. These may be luxuries that individuals would not typically purchase for themselves, but would appreciate the opportunity to enjoy the experience when presented with a voucher. Even better if you set a date to use the certificate together, ensuring that it will actually be used and adding in the bonus gift of extra time together!
- Technology (and tech help). Older individuals may be hesitant to branch out into new technology, but they are often the ones who can benefit the most from it! From a new Kindle or large display alarm clock to simply helping find and download some useful apps, there are a myriad of options in any price range. Just be sure to help set up the new tech and make sure they are completely comfortable using it, otherwise it may be a waste (and remember to be patient when you explain it! those who weren’t raised with iPads may take longer to understand and become comfortable with new technology).
- Home-cooked meals. For those who live alone or in assisted living facilities, home-cooked meals may be a rare treat. Prepare a few favorite meals in smaller portions and freeze them for an easy home-cooked meal anytime, hassle-free. This way, whenever they pull a portion out to eat, they will be reminded of your gift and feel comforted with the familiar dishes.
- Memory journals and scrapbooks. Grandparents love to brag about their kids and grandkids, so give them a hand by preparing a photo album. This can even be an ongoing gift, where you create a “year in review” album each year so that grandparents and parents can keep all of those memories in order. Inexpensively assemble one yourself, or use a service like shutterfly.com where you can upload, arrange, and print a professional-looking photo book.
- Bathroom Safety. Most seniors dread the idea of moving to an assisted living facility, and would much rather continue to live in their beloved homes. Help them out by making their homes safer, so they can fulfill this wish. The bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the home as wet tile can become extremely slippery. Products such as grab bars and toilet safety seats are great and inexpensive (and inconspicuous!) ways to improve bathroom safety – check out some more options here.
- Portable Ramps. If your loved one uses a ramp at his or her home, or has difficulty with steps, a portable ramp can be a great way to provide freedom. Portable ramps can be picked up and transported in a typical car, and placed down in a variety of areas. They are great to help grandma get up the steps into her friend’s house, or to help dad get down the steps to the sunken living room more safely. When steps aren’t a concern, sense of independence and adventurousness can increase.
- Lift Chairs. You know Grandpa’s favorite recliner – the one that he’s had for decades and spends every evening after dinner sitting in? Imagine how delighted he would be if you gave him one that was even more comfortable. Lift chairs look like standard recliners, but they can be customized with memory foam, heat, massage, and other features to increase the comfort factor. More importantly, they help grandpa get back out of his chair – with the push of a button on the remote control, the recliner tilts forward to place him securely back on his feet, saving the struggle of trying to pull himself out. Available in a variety of fabrics and colors, it’s no challenge to find a model that will match the rest of his furniture or provide a perfect substitute for his current recliner. The best part is that no one can tell the difference between a lift chair and a standard recliner just from looking at it, so you can reassure grandpa that the lift chair won’t make his living room look like “an old person’s home.”