Ideas for Choosing Gifts for Elderly People
What gifts do you buy for elderly loved ones or elderly neighbors who might have everything they want or can use?
It is difficult to buy for the elderly. They do not ask for much, and many do not care about more gee-gaws to place on the shelf to dust.
Sure, they love when you come to visit and give them the magnate with your child's school picture to place on the fridge, especially if it is a child they are close to and visits often. That picture is a sweet reminder that they are still loved, but does it help them physically or practically?
I am not suggesting you not give these sweet, meaningful gifts to your elderly loved one. I am just suggesting you look around and understand the situation the elderly person is actually in, so your gift can help the person beyond a sentimental thought.
You must think about what they truly need.
The elderly sometimes have special needs that we do not think about because we are not experiencing those age-related needs, yet.
Gifts for the Elderly on a Limited Income
There are so many elderly people on a limited income. They budget every dime because they have constant medical and pharmacy bills. Find out what they really need. The best way to do this is through observation.
- A grocery gift card. A grocery gift card helps them buy food, which they need and want. It allows them to keep more of their money for other needs in their lives. You might also want to check out the grocery stores who will deliver groceries to the elderly person’s home. Be sure to give the elderly person the grocery store’s number so they can place their order. The grocery gift card is a great idea for a group of people to go together as a group gift for the elderly person or elderly people in their lives—the more the merrier.
- A fleece blanket. Many elderly feel colder as their circulation slows down. A fleece blanket that matches their favorite chair is a great gift. They can just reach back and grab the blanket while they are watching TV.
- A hobby gift card. Many elderly have hobbies to keep their minds sharp. A gift card to a hardware store or a hobby store will bring them enjoyment that they can choose on their own.
Miscellaneous Gifts for the Elderly
- Puzzle books. As mentioned before, the elderly find activities that will keep their minds sharp. Sudoku, word searches, crosswords, and maze books are enjoyable.
- Find out what their hobbies are and buy gifts they will enjoy. For instance, if your grandmother likes to do cross stitching and quilting, buy her quilt blocks that need needlepoint. Don’t forget to look at the package for the colors of thread needed for the cross-stitching.
- Many elderly are learning the computer. First, buy them the most basic book about how to use the operating system on their computer. Some do not understand how to open up Word or My Documents, let alone how to use them. Going through the book and highlighting through the “gobble-dee-gook” so they have a clear list of directions will help them.
- Buy them CDs or DVDs with music and movies from their youth. They will enjoy the memories. Also, many elderly love Hallmark Channel movies. The Hallmark Channel has great storylines and are G rated.
- Magazine subscriptions. Many elderly love magazines that concentrate on stories, recipes, hobbies, etc. Find out their interests and get them a subscription to a magazine they will enjoy reading.
Gifts for the Elderly With Health Issues
- A shower or bath chair. Some elderly find it hard to get into the bathtub or to stand long enough for a shower. A shower or bath chair will help them be more independent. If it is a bath chair, you might also want to get them a shower head with a hose so they can use it while sitting.
- If the elderly person has arthritis, an electric can opener and an electric jar opener are "must haves" for them. Handheld can openers can be difficult without arthritis, and opening a jar that seems like Hercules tightened is enough to frustrate all of us who have been caught pounding the jar on the countertop, hoping we don't crack it or break the jar first. These two items would be very much appreciated.
- If you can afford it, a medic alert button they can wear around their necks or stick in their pocket. Sometimes if the elderly fall, they do not have the upper body strength to get up or to drag themselves to the phone. These buttons are lifesavers. You can find some of these medic alert buttons for as little as $15 a month. Do a little research and make sure the service ties into whatever phone service or 911 service the elderly have.
Be Sensitive to the Elderly
Do not forget that the elderly people in your life used to be young with lives filled with many interests. They were not always “old” or dependent on others. They may feel sensitive about the issues they are currently faced with. Approach your gift-giving with sensitivity to their feelings. Many of them are still of sound mind, but their bodies do not work like they used to when they were younger. Many of them were used to being self-sufficient, but now they have a limited income and pride that will not allow them to ask for anything.
Meaningful, Free Gifts for the Elderly
Sad but true, it is easy to forget about our elderly while we are living our busy lives. They become lonely and feel forgotten and unappreciated. The rate of depression in the elderly is high. A visit, a phone call, or a card may be just the way you can lift their spirits. During the year, help them shop for others or help them bake or create something they want to give or display. Most of all, remember your presence and time are gifts you should share with them all year round.
Dedicated to the memory of my mother. I miss you, Mom! You meant so much to me and are forever in my heart.
© 2011 Susan Holland