Neckties are the most popular Father’s Day gift purchased, according to the US Census Bureau.
We often think “traditional gifts” when pondering gifts for aging fathers. What follows is a mix of gift ideas for older fathers who are relatively healthy and independent– all designed to help parents age well.
Think technology! Gifts that contribute to social connections definitely help parents age well. Social connectedness is one of the three most important factors in successful aging, according to every major study. Non-tech-savvy elders can use and should love: technology that simplifies email–plus an oldie.
- The Presto Printing Mailbox provides one-way computer communication for older people who don’t use a computer. It receives and prints (but doesn’t send) emails and photos and can be programmed to receive email at times the recipient chooses. It must be connected to a telephone jack, but doesn’t interfere with phone service.
- PawPawMail calls itself “easy email for seniors. And it is!
- The fax machine: an oldie but goodie. Its original purpose was to transmit important documents (still best for sending information to doctors and for reviewing bills parents question, for example). It also enables children to put something on paper and fax it to parents, who then have a hard copy to read, reread and show to others if it contains something they’re proud of (could be a grandchild’s artistic effort). Easy technology for anyone who has ever placed paper in a typewriter and used a telephone.
Not the usual clothing gifts for old fathers: my father had two clothing requests that I think elderly fathers who–if they’re like my father and want to be protected from sun outdoors and warm indoors–would like.
- A long-sleeve sport shirt. Why? His 90+ years in the sun made him (and his arms of course) susceptible to those skin cancers that need to be removed before they turn into harmful skin cancers. Short-sleeve shirts prevail in stores in June. But I found long-sleeve ones on sale and also learned to buy ahead in the winter, especially if I happened to be in a warm weather climate (where there was usually a good selection).
- A sleeveless cardigan (not over the head) sweater vest. Older people “run” cold, and Dad liked–no loved–to wear his sweater vest with any and every shirt. It looked great; easy to get off and on and no problem for him (but possibly for some) to button or unbutton. He wore it at home. It also looked good under a jacket when he went out. His problem: he only had one. I had to really search to find another one, which was his Father’s Day request when he was 93. Wish I’d known how to knit!
Vision Enhancers: (We know aging produces vision changes in many.)
The following, from the Mother’s Day Post, are equally good gifts for dads:
- The mini-maglite, small flashlights that give great light in dark places.
- Great Point Light’s small (Black & Silver LED) pocket magnifying-glass lights up when pulled out, takes up little space, is light weight, costs $9.95 . A Godsend for old eyes reading menus in dark restaurants, it provides enlarged, lit-up print–that stays lit without having to keep a finger on any button (unlike the popular thin credit card style).
Various gifts for the right dad–
- A library card
- Large print books
- Newspaper subscription (some have large print editions); possibly one from his hometown
- Magazine subscriptions (older people like getting something in the mail)
- A membership to the YMCA
- A paper map of the world for traveling or well-traveled Dads, plus colored pins so they can mark where they’ve been and where they’re going if they still travel.
- A good blood pressure gauge can be a gift that helps parents age well and may be recommended by doctors in some cases. Recently an easy-to-use wrist blood pressure gauge (looked like the one below) was used on a patient at the doctor’s office. Check it out with your dad’s/grandad’s doctor.
- Starbucks new VIA ready brew individual instant coffee packets–regular or decaf. According to discerning-coffee-drinking friends, the Columbia Medium coffee is excellent (they don’t like the other roast). Available in 3 or 12 packs. No mess–just add the packet to the water in a mug, microwave for 1 minute,15 seconds. Because it’s pricey, coffee-loving dads may resist buying it. Samples may be available.
- Tickets to a ballgame on Father’s Day with a family member–brings us full-circle to the fact that being with family is the best gift for an aging parent. And for one Yankee’s fan father–nothing could top being at the game with his son on Father’s Day.
Changing often: “Of Current Interest” (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities, plus some fun stuff–to help parents age well.