Are you searching for just the right gift for your parents, grandparents, or other senior relatives? Even though they might be at a stage in life where they don’t really need any material goods, being able to bless our loved ones with a gift is a blessing to us. It’s fun to give! So listed below are 12 gift ideas in a range of prices that can be an ongoing blessing to both giver and receiver:
1. Large-print versions of books they would enjoy. Or even a Kindle or iPad, which allows readers to enlarge the size of the text they’re reading on-screen.
2. DVDs of family movies you’ve made throughout the year. Your elder might be computer-confident enough to navigate YouTube, but sometimes a DVD is simply easier to use and share with friends.
3. A night out. Even when the food at a retirement community is excellent — our chef at Village Woods, for example, is a gold-medal champion! — a change of scenery, menu, and dining company can be a treat.
4. Extravagances they might not buy for themselves. Sure, maybe Dad doesn’t need cologne at this stage in his life, but is there a brand he always used to buy for himself? Perhaps he’s given it up as “unnecessary,” but wearing it again could make him feel good.
5. Photo books. A number of online services allow you to upload photos into a template, and then have them printed as a coffee table book. You could make it a tradition to give your parents a photo book each Christmas that shows birthdays, vacations, pets, and ordinary life events throughout the year. Have one printed for yourself at the same time, and you’ll end up with a nice chronicle of your family life.
6. Repairs and upgrades. If your parents or grandparents still live in their own home, check to see if they need handrails installed, or furniture replaced, or electronics set up for easy use. If they live in a Providence community, see if they would prefer a cell phone over a landline, or a TV with a simpler remote, or a clock that is easy to read from across the room.
7. Travel-sized games. A Providence staff member whose mom lived in the Holland Home got her mom some travel-sized Milton-Bradley games. She explained, “They’re compact, so they don’t take up much space in her closet or drawers. They also fit into her walker pouch, and she can take them to other friends’ rooms or down to the café. Many have the pieces attached so they can’t be lost.” Classic games like Monopoly, Sequence, Rummikub, Battleship, Skip-bo, Dominoes, and more are all available in a travel-sized version.
8. Music. Burn a CD of your own favorite songs, perhaps in a personally-designed jewel case that explains why this music is special to you.
9. Planning. Hang a giant dry-erase calendar or buy a large desk calendar for tracking upcoming activities. Providence Life Services communities all provide a monthly “Life Enrichment” calendar that outlines group activities, scheduled entertainment, and social outings. Most people don’t choose to attend everything, so Mom might appreciate having a place to write the things she actually plans to do, including her personal schedule of doctor appointments and family visits.
10. Memories. Have a family group photo or an old wedding photo enlarged and framed.
11. Family. Put together an album or scrapbook that includes childhood photos, photos of significant events, and current memorabilia, arranged in chronological order. (Arranging them in chronological order can be a help for people with memory issues.) In fact, this scrapbook might even be something you work on with your loved one.
12. Time. Many retirement communities have special events going on throughout the year, and these are often open to guests. If your loved one is at a Providence community, you can ask for the monthly calendar of activities and make plans to attend an event together. If Mom and Dad don’t usually participate in activities, this is a way to encourage involvement. And if they do, they will be proud to show you off to their friends!
Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to bless others and receive blessings in return. Use any of the ideas above to show how much you care, or let them inspire you to come up with your own meaningful gift!