Buy, Buy Love: The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Aging Parents – Part III


by Joy Loverde

Continuing on with a few gift ideas that are sure to touch your loved ones hearts.

Turn up the volume. Satellite radio offers hundreds of stations and 24-hour continuous entertainment: music from the 1940’s, radio programs from the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s featuring Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, and other favorites, the Suspense series, the Lone Ranger, and much more. Satellite radio subscriptions are modestly priced. Spend time reminiscing and listening together.

Take it personally. Composing a personal letter will touch them on many levels. Perhaps a note of thanks is in order explaining why you are grateful for them and how they blessed your life. Perhaps the letter is one of forgiveness for long-standing disputes that can now be put to rest. Remind your elders to reread the letter often to remind them of how much they are loved and appreciated.

Invite art. Color-by-number, finger paint, stencil placemats – the ideas are endless when you visit your local arts and craft store. The fun continues when the final product is on display for all to admire.

Play ball. Taking an older baseball fan to the ball park can be a memorable outing. Senior citizen discount day is only one of many reasons why sitting in the stands, eating hot dogs, and cheering for the home team will put a smile on any elder’s face. They’re sure to start telling you stories of old-time players they used to watch. If you want to go the extra mile, inquire in advance about having a personalized message displayed on the scoreboard. Bring the camera and create a day-at-the-ballpark photo album.

Keep it green. Tending to plants and gardening is a real pastime for many older gardeners; don’t let physical impairments like arthritis put an end to tending to plants. Raised beds and window boxes are ideal for gardeners who find going outdoors difficult. A child's wagon or wheelbarrow makes an attractive movable garden. Purchase modified gardening tools that are especially designed to assist those who have difficulty with grasping, cutting, and digging motions. Place heavy container potted plants on wheeled wooden palates for easy mobility.

Spruce up. Offer to give the bathroom a safety makeover.  If you're handy, install grab bars for the bathtub and toilet, non-slip pads for the tub, door grippers, and a non-skid bath mat. For a special touch, purchase a decorative night-light that displays a photograph of family, friends, pets or a favorite place.

Feed the birds. Place bird feeders and birdbaths in visible locations around the yard, deck or patio or attached to the outside of a picture window to make it easy for them to enjoy from their favorite chair.  Spend time discussing the different types of birds you are most likely to see. Purchase a bird reference guide to help identify each species.

Stay in touch. Create a personalized telephone directory. Practical and caring, this is a gift that reminds them that family and friends are always nearby. Purchase a small three-ring binder. In large type, list the contact information for family, friends, and service providers such as the beauty operator and local movie theatre. Customize the cover of the binder and use colorful index tabs to separate the information. Display emergency contacts and telephone numbers in the front of the book.  Update the information as needed.