Gift Giving pt 1.: The Elderly

Good Morning Everyone,

First off, my grandmother, Doreatha Watkins, passed away last night. She was a woman of God with impeccable style and taste. She always had stories to tell about how she made my grandfather a ‘snazzy’ dresser, because when she met him all he had on was a “red button jacket and ugly shoes.” I am the only grandchild named after her (middle name); her life will be remembered with joy.

With this in mind, I thought I would start my gift giving series with an article that offers ten suggestions for senior gifts this holiday season. Don’t forget the senior citizens in your life. They are the main ones to pray for you and the easiest ones to forgive you when you do something irresponsible or stupid.

Senior Fast Food Holiday Basket: This basket contains food items that are quick and easy for the senior and also fast and nutritious: crackers, cheeses, single serve soups, single serve cereals, tuna, peanut butter, canned fruits, coffee, tea, sweeteners, and of course their favorite cookies.

Health and Beauty Basket: Gift certificates to their favorite barber or hairdresser, soaps, hand creams, shampoo, toothpaste and/or denture cleaner, toothbrush, denture brush, shower cap, tissues – items that they use all the time. This can be a significant savings for folks on a fixed income.

Pre-pay the telephone and/or cable bill for a few months: The payment will go as a credit on their bill. Again, a great savings for people with a fixed income.

Assortment of greeting cards, note paper and a roll of postage stamps: Many seniors don’t use computers but they are familiar with the art of writing a good letter. The letter they write could serve as an excellent memory for the receiver.

Large Print Items: Playing cards, subscription for large print magazines and publications, large print calendar with generous spaces for noting appointments and special occasions. Also, large face clocks or a telephone with over sized keypads and adjustable volume (pre-programmed of course by a family member with all the most frequently called numbers.)

Decorative cozy throw for sofa or bed: Many elderly people have poor circulation in the extremities and get cold often. So this would be a pretty and useful gift.

Memory Box: Fill it with pictures and mementos of significant events in the senior’s life. Their wedding pictures and military pictures, kid’s baby pictures, school pictures, and letters from children and grandchildren, a copy of their favorite book, are all great items to put in your box.

Home Safety Box – Batteries for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, night lights with built in sensors (remember a supply of replacement bulbs). New non-slip strips for bath tub, non-skid throw rugs, rubber bottle top grips, flash light with extra batteries or rechargeable flashlight that automatically comes on when power goes out, magnifying glass with or without a light attached, tote bag to attach to a walker or wheelchair for ease of carrying items, oven mitts and hot pads.

Video tapes of old TV shows: I Love Lucy, Carol Burnett, Golden Girls, Milton Berle or tapes of old movies. Lawrence Welk is always a big hit! Many of these are available as gift sets or available through the local library. Plan to spend an afternoon complete with a picnic lunch and enjoy the shows.
Make a “Family Memory” video: You might start with photos of your parents when they were young, school pictures, wedding pictures. If possible take shots of the neighborhoods where they grew up, the place where they were married, etc. Have each member of their immediate family (children, grandchildren and greats) record a message such as what the elder means to them. This is a wonderful gift that reminds the receiver how much they mean to the family and a chance to thank them for all they have contributed over the years.

Of course, the greatest gift we can give to our loved ones (and ourselves) is meaningful time spent together. It only takes a moment to create a lasting memory

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