Looking for the perfect gifts for older parents, grandparents, or other special seniors in your life?
Many of the latest gizmos and gadgets dominating holiday advertisements don't make most seniors’ wish lists.
“Be mindful about what works for the seniors within their abilities – not whether or not it’s a cool idea from a caregiver’s point of view or from a friend’s or family member’s point of view,” says Lisa Klima, founder and president of SeniorStore. “If you buy them a gadget, is it something they’re really going to use, or is it going to sit in a drawer? It’s really important to consider practicality.”
How we can do a better job of choosing gifts for seniors this holiday season? By considering their:
Mobility & Dexterity. Seniors with limited mobility or manual dexterity probably won’t enjoy gifts that require them to move a lot (like an exercise bike desk or a walking tour) or require a lot of hands-on work (like a pottery class or jigsaw puzzle). If increased activity is part of their care goals, consult their physician for gift ideas that require the right amount of movement.
Visual Acuity/Impairment. Gifts that are easy to read and see are crucial for seniors with limited sight. Consider gifts such as large-face playing cards, large print books and games, and appliances or handheld games with larger-than-average screens and simple buttons.
Comfort with Technology. If cognitive impairment and technophobia aren’t issues, you’ve got many options. E-readers that enable users to adjust type size are practical and enjoyable gifts for the avid reader on your list. Digital picture frames with simple, easy-to-reach on/off button and preloaded with family photos are always nice. Apps also are great gifts for older men and women. Consider ones that enable them to enjoy favorite hobbies in the digital realm, like photography, painting, calligraphy or crossword puzzles.
Cognitive Ability. There are a lot of products designed specifically for people with cognitive impairment that are perfect gifts for Alzheimer’s patients and people with dementia. Presents that help them remember things like magnet note pads or electronic reminder apps can be very useful. Home automation technology that you can set up for them to turn on and off lights, etc., is also a helpful idea. Examples include puzzles made for adults that have very few pieces. Gifts that stimulate the senses are also great, such as scented soaps and lotions or music for relaxation or by their favorite artists. The Alzheimer’s Association has a full list of gift ideas for people with cognitive impairment.
Independence and Safety. The best gift for seniors may be independence. Sometimes we worry about our parents’ and grandparents’ ability to live alone safely. Products like Philips Lifeline’s medical alert systems and medication dispensing service to support seniors’ independence with increased safety and peace of mind for the whole family.
Take these factors into account when making your holiday shopping list and you’ll choose the best gifts for older parents and seniors.