The seniors we love are always at the top of our holiday gift lists. So why are they so often the last people we buy for? It could be because older adults are among the most difficult gift puzzles to solve.
Do we get them something practical or personal? Functional or decorative?
Let’s face it: Most elderly Americans already have all the “stuff” they need. So what do they truly want?
Our in-home caregivers see the holidays every year through the eyes of the seniors we serve. They’ve seen the tears of joy as well as the eye-rolls when Grandma and Grandpa discuss the gifts they’ve received from their children and grandchildren. So what’s the secret?
Good and Bad Gifts for Elderly Loved Ones
Some gifts just scream, “I have no idea what you’ll like. Have a scented candle!” Others can unintentionally say that you don’t think Grandpa is all that productive anymore. Yet another bathrobe or a third pair of ironic furry slippers may fit into this category. Also, gifts that are practical but impersonal — say, a daily pill reminder or a lotion dispenser — may not always leave the warm impression we’d hoped for.
Mostly, it’s an individual thing. If your loved one is technologically savvy, by all means consider upgrading their computer or mobile device. But if they’re not, a gift they’ll find useless or even frustrating probably isn’t in the best spirit of the holidays. Still, if you’re the kind of family that enjoys a little humor with your eggnog, you might find something like this appropriate:
*We found a more recent model here.
On the other hand, some gifts can be both practical and sentimental. A couple of our caregivers last Christmas noted that the remote picture frame was a hit with the seniors they serve. It works like other electronic frames except that it has its own email address so friends and family can send images directly to the frame, ensuring that all the latest adventures are shared.
Gift cards to local restaurants are a popular choice, but if your parents or grandparents like to go out from time to time, why not consider tickets to an entertainment or cultural event, too? Better yet, get tickets to something you can do together that you know they’d enjoy. A trip to the zoo, a ballgame or a community theater production can be an opportunity to share a good time and create new memories for the entire family.
Lessons Learned From Providing Senior Home Care
The saying is true: It’s the thought that counts. If providing senior home care services over the holidays has taught us anything about gift giving, it’s that the gift older adults appreciate most is the one that demonstrates it was selected specifically for them, inspired by what they enjoy. And as in any relationship, the most precious gift we can share is the gift of time — time together and time for sharing new experiences or old memories.
I’d love to hear your recommendations for holiday gifts for seniors. We’ll collect some of the most popular suggestions and share them with our other elder care resources on Pinterest, so be sure to follow the “Gifts for the Golden Years” board.
Meanwhile, happy hunting and the best of health and happiness to all of your families in the New Year.