by Joy Loverde
“If we take care of the moments,
the years will take care of themselves.”
Maria Edgeworth, “O Magazine,” April 2004
With decades of birthdays and holidays gone by, who isn’t stumped when it comes to knowing what gifts to buy aging parents and other elderly loved ones? By now, they’ve received their fair share of neckties and slippers, and there’s a good chance they already have everything they want and need.
Time is a precious commodity; few of us can afford to spend hours of shopping for the perfect gift, and overspending on unwanted and unneeded items. Besides, what is treasured by older adults is spending quality time together and gifts that relay loving messages that they are special and thought of and cared about each day.
As a way to touch the heart and soul of the people who mean so much to you, here are a few gift ideas that are sure to make that happen:
Go back to school. Learning something new is twice the fun when you do it together. Adult education classes offer a variety of learning opportunities -- from exploring ancient history and learning the computer or a new language, to arts and crafts. Spend time together taking a class.
Picture this. Offer to organize their photograph collection. Buy new photo albums and photo boxes, and spend a few afternoons looking at the photos together as you put them in order.
Write on. Give a small decorative box of stationary cards and stamped envelopes, and offer to be their personal secretary. Let them dictate letters to friends and family as you write down their thoughts and mail the letters in their behalf.
Sing-a-long. Attend sing-along events at movie theaters, community events and college musical venues. Singing and harmony is always fun. If they have trouble leaving the house, buy or rent a karaoke system.
Lead the way. Offer to chauffer your elders down memory lane by driving them around neighborhood streets and familiar places that hold special meaning for them. Pack a healthy picnic basket and enjoy the sights as you munch away.
Plug them in. Watch their faces light up when they receive their first email. Presto™ sends e-mails without a computer. Plug the printing mailbox into any electric outlet to receive e-mail, digital photos, subscriptions to newsletters and more. The Presto mailbox makes a wonderful and unique gift (www.presto.com). The presto looks like a fax machine and sits on a kitchen counter or a desk. Keyboard not necessary since it is a one-way communication device. Emails are instantly printed on sheets of paper. Check out the website!