The Holiday Season

The holidays are a special time for families and friends to come together and celebrate lifelong traditions

For many of us, gift giving is one of those traditions. It is important to try to adapt the gifts we give to our loved ones as they get older and have certain needs. Think about safe and useful gifts as well as fun gifts. Consider the your loved one’s condition and abilities. Diminishing capacity may make some gifts unusable or even dangerous.

Comfortable clothing may be useful. Audiotapes of favorite music and books, videos of movies or TV series are fun and entertaining especially when shared with you. A gift certificate for house cleaning or household chore or maybe a home cooked meal would be useful and very much appreciated. A fun gift for some older adults may be word games like Scrabble or Boggle; fun for all generations — and they’re great exercise for the brain and encourage family time. What about a special outing? An invitation to a special event like the symphony, or a visit to a museum can be very meaningful to a senior loved one. Remember, quality time is a gift in itself. A thoughtful gesture means more than how much something costs.

Holiday gift giving can be especially challenging if you’re loved one is in an assisted-living environment, where personal storage space is a luxury. Here are some inexpensive gift ideas for someone living in more confined quarters:

  • Framed piece of a grandchild’s artwork
  • Knitted hat, gloves, and scarf
  • Teacup with box of herbal tea
  • Memory book of special photos
  • Small bottle of real maple syrup
  • Pens, assorted greeting cards, postal cards, stationery, and stamps
  • Desk-quality address book or guest book
  • Shower tote filled with bath gels and moisturizers
  • Decorative napkins and small matching plates
  • Assortment of current magazines tied together with a colorful ribbon
  • Jigsaw puzzle (500 pieces or more)
  • Low-vision, large-print deck of cards
  • Blank journal
  • Pencil box with pens, paper clips, and colorful post-it notes
  • Decorative glass jar filled with old-fashioned penny candy
  • Scented soap-on-a-rope and a flannel nightshirt
  • Prepaid long-distance phone cards
  • Desk clock with big numbers
  • Decorated box for keepsakes
  • Desktop Christmas tree
  • Sewing box with supplies
  • Colorful knitting or crocheting yarns
  • Flashlight for a nightstand
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Soft makeup brush and some face powder
  • Warm, colorful socks

And don’t forget the family caregivers.  An offer to provide respite care, or something that provides a caregiver with a bit of rest and relaxation is sometimes overlooked but is critical for their well being.

Happy Holidays!

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