Gifts for Aging Grownups

The day after Thanksgiving signals the official start of the holiday shopping season. Time to think about gifts. According to my aging advisors, the gifts below will please older people. Why? Because they reinforce independence while adding pleasure.

For organization’s sake, they’re in two categories:
Category one, today’s post. Gift suggerstions for chronologically old, independent-living people. who may or may not be young at heart. Most of these gifts are practical and make life easier. Some are fun, add excitement and could be considered a luxury. Having most of them will, according to R (age 96)—”SAVE.” She says they’re “a time saver, an energy saver, and a money saver” because they save old people, who are more frail and don’t get out as readily or easily from having to go out and buy them.

Category two will be Saturday’s post. Gift suggestions for chronologically younger, independent-living older people who may or may not drive, but easily get out more often. They can include gifts from category one, but additional gifts join this list. Many gifts are not exclusive to one category, indeed some may work for everyone on your list.

CATEGORY ONE:
Practical, time saving, great to have on hand
Postage stamps
Mailer envelopes with “bubble” lining
Small note paper (for writing short notes, when long letters are unnecessary)
Selection of greeting cards (eg. birthday, sympathy)
Attractive note pads
Wrapping paper and ribbon (for holiday, birthday gifts etc.).
Nice soaps, small guest soaps–bars or liquid
Pen supply (know favorites kinds—fine point, felt tip etc.)

Good to have when needed
A good blood pressure monitor (if appropriate)
Nice pill box (a small one or the 7-day kind)
Magnifying mirror
Small magnifying glasses (for different reading areas)
Good, sturdy step stool with something strong to hold onto. We know falls are major health hazards and we may not be told about them. (Oct. 31 post) (Check Williams- Sonoma catalog)
Small alarm clock, that glows in the dark, for nightstand.
A good nail file (nails become more fragile with age). Check the double-sided crystal nail files http://www.supportplus.com/
Moisturizing creams and lotions
Favorite snack foods

Stylish dressing with ease. Criteria: does it slip on easily; is it attractive?
The challenge: finding clothing for the older person who takes pride in his/her looks—or for others who should take more pride in how they look. Mostly worn in the house, but still appropriate if unexpected guests arrive or if going to the mail box. Requirements: easy to put on–no difficult or small buttons–or hooks–in hard to reach places, no unreliable zippers.

Good-looking easy-to-slip-into slippers or sandals (non-skid soles)
Zip-front hostess coat, duster, caftan that doesn’t look bed-roomy. Check: http://www.carolwrightgifts.com/, the Carol Wright Catalog, or local stores. Older people often prefer models with two big pockets (eg. for Kleenex).
Sweaters, sweater vests, shawls, shrugs (provide warmth; enhance wardrobe)
A gift certificate for a dressmaker or tailor to do alterations (possibly come to the house) so favorite clothes fit well.

Gifts that lift the spirit
Lottery tickets
A written invitation to take parent(s) or older friend for light (errand) shopping.
A written invitation to take parent(s)/or older friend for lunch, movie, sporting event etc.
Food baskets
Attractive night light
Taxi script
New towels and washcloths, not too heavy and luxurious, so they dry out easily; don’t smell stale. One old-timer says the “Bar Mop Dish Cloth” at Williams-Sonoma is “soft and light weight–great for washing your face.” http://www.williams-sonoma.com/
* * * *
Saturday’s post will feature Category Two gift suggestions.

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