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Aging parents–in spite of the fact that most don’t want to accumulate more things–love gifts, (see last post) and appreciate things that can–in most cases–be “used up.”
Mothers who drive or have convenient access to transportation, easily purchase whatever they want, if money isn’t an issue. Yet for many aging mothers living alone, on–or not on–a fixed income, insecurity (necessary or unnecessary) exists.
With this in mind, some gift ideas below may be better afforded if siblings chip in. Indeed one mother asked that her children chip in because she wanted a splurge on something special.
Gifts that leave no clutter
1. Taking over the bill-paying for something a mother wouldn’t want to afford, but she’d love. Example: Direct TV or HBO bill–you get the idea.
2. Arrange to be billed (or purchase a gift certificate) for grooming and beauty services (hair, manicure, massage, facial, pedicure–at a certain age it’s hard to bend to cut toenails). They help a woman feel special. Old skin can be very delicate, so check that the preceding are OK for your mother.
3. Favorite cosmetics are always appreciated, especially when it saves a non-driving mother from having to go out and buy them.
4. A book/sheet of attractive “forever” postage stamps are much appreciated by elders who lack transportation to a post office, still write notes and pay bills by mail.
Things: usable/needed gifts
Older people often feel cold, even when we feel warm. Stories about children of aging parents sneaking to turn down the thermostat when they’re visiting parents are common. Think about sweaters, jackets (could pull together or update an outfit), shawls, an easy-to-get-into robe.
A new nightgown, pajamas, or slippers may be welcome. One adviser (who’s careful about falls and balance) says that Dear Foams make a very soft, easy to put on, slipper that feels “wonderful” and isn’t heavy.
Vision enhancers: additional light can help older people with age-related vision changes. In addition to recommended night-lights (click Falling and Fall Prevention post) check the mini-maglite, small flashlights provide great light in dark places.
Lastly, the tried and true: a bouquet of flowers, candy… or what about a pretty box of cookies from the bakery?
And speaking of flowers: When mothers love plants and flowers and have a terrace, patio, or small yard, what about planting flowers as a Mother’s Day gift? Plant them yourself or contact a landscape nursery to check the cost of having them planted–in a large container or several smaller containers. Being a far-away living child, I did the latter for my mother one May. She was delighted with this lasting gift (and the perennials have rebloomed for decades).
Flowering plants are living, they change, they brighten up an outdoor space or an indoor space near a sunny window. (Sun is necessary for most plants to flower.) Geraniums are a good option: easy care, many colors, indoors or outdoors.
When our goal is to help our parents age well, don’t special occasions like Mother’s Day give us a great opportunity to add pleasure and practicality to their lives!
For thoughtful/indulgent/ practical/exciting/ gifts that don’t need dusting and can be “used up” go to Mother’s Day 2013 gift post.