10 Small, Inexpensive Gifts Help Parents Age Well in Various Ways
1. A wide-ish rubber band (often found around produce like broccoli) can be stretched around something that’s hard-to-unscrew–a little bottle cap, a jar lid of any size. (May be a problem for arthritic fingers.) Unlike the contraptions or rubber disks one buys, this costs nothing, takes up no room, is replaced when worn out or lost and gives the gripping power most older people, especially, are losing…or have basically lost.
2. A crystal nail file seems to be easier on nails than an emery board. I found one at an Arizona Walgreen’s for $.99. Don’t know the make; didn’t even know there were differences. My first ones were bought years ago at a small fair in the park in Republic, Washington (population around 1000). Think it was imported crystal, came in small and medium sizes. I bought one of each–$5 and $7 respectively. I’ve since Googled and guess there are differences (click for some ratings). Actually my $.99 one seems fine and after losing the first two, I’m glad to have this one.
3. Have you thought about Lottery tickets? Price: you decide. While hey always add a bit of excitement to life, but think of the excitement they can provide for bored elders.
4. Netflix. If Dad were alive I would order his favorite movie, School Ties. For my husband’s father we would begin with The Treasure of Sierra Madre. And we would attach a note inviting ourselves to watch the movies with them…and bring some snacks….or bring them to us for a meal and a movte. And then, of course, there’s always Casablanca.
5. Attractive FOREVER postage stamps are a handy time saver for older people who don’t have bills paid automatically and/or still write letters.
6. Panasonic’s Nose Hair Trimmer was older men’s most popular 2012 purchase according to Hammacher Schlemmer’s NYC store ($19.95). Check catalog: Trimmer may be a bit less expensive other places.
7. iPhone custom cases (with grandchildren’s photo?) Check Shutterfly
You can also order the Christmas Stocking, personalized from Shutterfly.
8. Socks in the stocking?! Yes! Non-slip with traction-treads to wear around the house. Check current report from NIH’s (Nat’l Institute of Health) library about them if falling is a worry for elders. Definitely check ratings, read reviews. (When socks are too thin and have little dots as treads, the dots can cause discomfort on bottom of feet.)
9. Mini-flashlight—MAGlite makes one of–it not the–best. The mini-MAGlite has impressive range. Click preceding link first, then click pictures of the first two. The keychain-size (Solitaire) size “can light up an object at the far end of a parking lot,” but may be a bit small for elders to easily manipulate. I prefer the next size (2-cell) because of the enlarged “head.“
10. TracFone cell phone (See reader’s suggestion in “Comments” below–as well as comments in Best Cell Phones for Seniors. Scroll way down for both.
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Note: For additional ideas–click 2014 Aging Parents’ Advent Calendar of 24 Small Gifts.
Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities and respected professionals, to help parents age well.
I might add one to your list that my daughter actually found (can’t take the credit for it) at Walmart by accident and sent to my mom this year for Christmas – a cell phone. We’d been debating over the last year getting her one, but I knew that affording the month to month bill as well as the activation and the phone itself might be too much for her with a few of these providers we researched. Instead, this brand my daughter found, SVC from a prepaid carrier called Tracfone, actually is $7 a month and the phone, I think, was under $20. Albeit, I don’t have any experience with the brand, it is great to see something affordable out there for seniors.
Comments on my “Best Cell Phones for Seniors” post confirm Tracfone’s SVC makes a good gift. I never thought about it, but its size makes it a wonderful stocking stuffer, Allie. Thanks for the great idea. And your daughter certainly “did good!”