A Father’s Day Round-Up of Gifts for Aging Dads-continues

NOTE: FOR MY MOST COMPREHENSIVE GIFT LIST FOR AGING FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS GO TO THE 2014 POSTS WITH 45 GIFT ITEMS (TWO BACK-TO-BACK POSTS).

New gift suggestion #1: **arranging regular appointments for pedicures for dads (you can make the gift certificate) who can no longer easily reach to cut their toenails. At a certain age this becomes difficult, which I didn’t realize until Dad, at 90, said he was going to Mom’s hairdresser’s and would be back shortly.  Since Mother had died, I was curious.  “Oh,” he said, “many of us now go there to have our toenails cut.  I can still hit a golf ball, but it’s really hard for me to bend and reach that far to cut my toenails.”  Who knew?

I am reminded once again, of the importance of “feet” for balance and fall prevention. You may recall my April post about the American Geriatrics and British Geriatrics Societies issuing new Fall Prevention Guidelines https://helpparentsagewell.com/2011/04/02/aging-parents-and-the-updated-american-geriatric-societybritish-geriatric-society-fall-prevention-guidelines-in-the-elderly/ this year. Assessing gait, balance, feet (their condition) and footwear have been added.

#2: **Should an appointment with a podiatrist be another gift idea? Yes, if deformed toenails, bunions or anything that could interfere with balance is an issue.

And while on the subject of balance, which can lead to falling, which is such a concern for older people….

#3: **an alert pendant or bracelet.  Check my two earlier posts containing research on specific brands: https://helpparentsagewell.com/2010/12/28/aging-parents-alert-pendants-researched-and-reviewed/ I think they are a necessity to help older parents who live alone age well.

This round-up concludes with the gift Fathers–and Mothers–want most (taken from last year’s Father’s Day Post on June 19, 2010).

Father’s Day and other major holidays signal family togetherness. Adult brothers and sisters and their families join aging parents to celebrate on these occasions. Their adult lives may be different from the life of their youth, their competencies may have changed,
but on these holidays the family members who come together fulfill most aging parents’ wishes.
“Time with family” is the gift
most older parents say “means the most.” 

A Father’s Day Round-Up of Gifts for Aging Dads-updated 2012, 2013

Father's Day Cake made by Esperanza

Father’s Day Cake made by Esperanza

NOTE: 2015 ROUND-UP OF GIFTS FOR FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS–PARTS 1 AND 2– IS THE MOST UP-TO-DATE GIFT LIST. READ NO FURTHER, JUST CLICK THIS LINK 

The cake should look familiar–from my last year’s Father’s Day post. Today I’m rounding up gift ideas from my past posts and adding some. Indeed I’m also adding some hidden agenda items that enhance aging parents’ quality of life, designated **. (You’ve probably thought about them but never had the courage to act.)  Since Father’s Day is Sunday, here’s the list–by categories–that should help us last-minute shoppers.

Accessories/Clothing:

  • Cane (measured correctly) or walking stick
  • Hat (to shade a bald/potentially balding head)
  • Sport shirt. (Dad liked long sleeve ones to protect his arms from skin cancer–a definite concern as he aged.)
  • Sleeveless cardigan (not over the head) sweater vest. Easier to get off and on if buttons aren’t a problem. Older people run cold. Dad wore it at home. It also looked good under a jacket when he went out. (This style is hard to find…know someone who knits?)
  • An easy-to-use umbrella–opens/closes with the push of a button. Note: there has been a lot of rain this spring. (Totes makes one.)

Computers–especially designed for seniors: Check the 6 options in my May post https://helpparentsagewell.com/2011/05/28/computers-especially-for-seniors/  .

  • A-Plus Senior Computer
  • Big Screen Live
  • Eldy
  • GO computer
  • WOW computer
  • Pzee computer

  For the even less-technology-talented, check out 

Entertainment:

  • Magazine Subscription
  • Netflix
  • Subscription to newspaper–hometown, financial
  • Tickets to sporting events etc.–accompany Dad or for Dad and a friend.
  • A short outing with Dad (fishing trip, golf game, movie, zoo, his old neighborhood if it’s near–you might learn additional family history).
Health:
  • Membership to the YMCA
  • Membership to a gym
  • Membership to Silver Sneakers
  • A good blood pressure gauge may be a gift that helps parents age well, possibly recommended by doctor.
  • A great pair of shoes for walking
  • **This medication reminder was featured in a respected hospital’s magazine, sent to seniors in surrounding communities.  http://www.guardianmedicalmonitoring.com/medication-management.asp.  Good idea for forgetful fathers (and mothers)?

Hearing:  Hearing loss in older people is a problem for them and us.

I pay little attention to company’s emails sent to my blog’s gmail, but because of the Times article–this interested me.  Click the amplified phones picture for Clarity’s offerings. A few phones (may or may not meet your Dad’s needs) are on sale for Father’s Day.
 
Googling “telephones for hearing loss” provides additional phone options.

Pampering
  • Starbucks VIA ready brew individual instant coffee packets–regular or decaf in 3 or 12 packs for coffee lovers. Microwave in mug. Pricey. Dad probably wouldn’t buy it for himself.
  • A massage or a professional shave
Vision: We know aging produces vision changes in many.
  • Large print books (for dads who still like the feel of a book)
  • The Kindle or other electronic book, where the font can be enlarged–a Godsend I hear
  • The mini-maglite, small flashlights that give great light in dark places.
  • Pocket magnifying-glass takes up little space, is light weight, not pricey ($9.95 at Barnes & Noble), remains lit without having to keep a finger on any button, great for reading (menus/bills) in dark restaurant.

You can laugh with Dad if your “hidden agenda” gift is discovered. But he will know your heart’s in the right place.

……..additional ideas in next post.




 

More Little Things That Mean A Lot–on Father’s Day or Any Day

Are your parents fond of reminiscing? Do you hear about “the good ole days” or the “not-so-good old days” often enough that you know some of the stories by heart? Our connection to the past is, of course, part of our present–it contributed to shaping who we are.  As people age doesn’t it seem that they talk more about the past?

Introducing aging and old parents to this new site, http://www.vpike.com/, should have special appeal. A virtual drive through their old neighborhood and even zooming in on the home (if it’s still standing) they grew up in–or lived in while they were growing up–is something my parents, if still alive, would have loved. It would have been the catalyst for a string of memories and stories they would relish telling and no doubt I’d learn some new tidbits about our family history. (Also check out this You Tube presentation, highlighting the ease of use and variety of possibilities vPike offers.)

So that’s the “any day” little thing.  Additionally, for a Father’s Day gift, think about combining a link to vPike and You Tube with a subscription to Dad’s hometown newspaper or with an album of family photos…..perpetuating a connection to the past for dads who value this.
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PS.  If you haven’t shared the NY Times live-streaming link to the red-tailed hawk’s nest (on the ledge outside the window of the president of New York University’s office), with its recently-born hawk, it’s another “any-day” gift that should bring weeks of pleasure to nature-loving, computer-using older people. If the nest looks empty, the baby hawk (Pip) has walked out of camera range. She won’t be able to fly for several more weeks, but she does explore around the nest.

Aging Parents’ Computer Capabilities–2

A Heads-Up Before Buying an iPad for Aging Parents

At the Apple Store I asked for help selecting an iPad for an older person. If you’re thinking of gifting an aging parent with an iPad, keep the following (learned in response to my questions to the Apple person assigned to me) in mind. You need to have a compatible computer in order to install iPad updates or trouble-shoot problems, according to him.  Phone support is also available–$79 for 2 years. It doesn’t seem to me that the iPad can substitute for your parents’ computer.  In addition:

1.  A compatible HP printer is necessary to be able to print something from the iPad.  The Apple Store sells the HP compatible models (least expensive is about $150).
2.  Since the iPad is wireless it’s necessary to bring wireless to the house/apartment if it isn’t already there (and of course there’s a monthly charge). If cable has already been installed “it’s probably OK.”
3.  The iPad comes in several models. The 3G model has the capability of being used anywhere (but requires an independent contract with Verizon or AT&T, thus becomes more expensive).  If the iPad will be used primarily at home where there’s wireless, no need for the 3G model.
4. A $69 keyboard is available for people who touch type and find the smooth surface of the iPad a difficult adjustment.
5.  Because, as I understand it, it’s necessary to have a compatible computer in order to install updates or trouble-shoot problems on the iPad, it may mean buying a new computer for your parents–probably a Mac.
6.  Anyone who has changed from pc to Mac, knows it’s an adjustment. Older people usually find change more difficult.  I know it took me a while to feel comfortable when I made the change (even the vocabulary changes–ie. “favorites” become “bookmarks”) so being available to answer aging parents’ questions and being supportive during the transition makes sense.
7.  Purchasing the One to One year’s worth of help ($99) at an Apple store is an option although a short period of free help at an Apple Store comes, I believe, free.

If you’re considering an iPad for an older person’s gift, you might double-check the questions I asked the Apple person who was assigned to me with the Apple person who will be assigned to you.  And if you should get different information, please let me know.  After all– we want to help aging parents, not give them more problems

Tomorrow I’m visiting my 89-year-old friend. Our goal: to make her a more comfortable, knowledgeable iPad user. (Check my last post–Aging Parents’ Computer Capabilities–1.  She inspired it.)

Related: Why an iPad for Seniors

Internet Enrichment for Seniors who are Capable of Using Computers (but don’t)

There is no one answer to why some capable, aging parents don’t use a computer–another resource that can help parents age well.  A few reasons were offered in the last post. More recent questioning of older people elicited:

Comfort Level Reasons

1.  Older people are satisfied with things the way they are. Why make problems if they’re happy with the status quo?
2.  They aren’t interested in learning anything new.
3.  Any initial interest in learning to use a computer is ultimately overruled by the necessity of disrupting one’s comfort level (which includes concerns about being able to learn and about internet security).
4.  When it involves “home,” they don’t want it “torn up.” Thoughts of making a hole in the wall for internet access is unnerving, whether in a home or in an apartment lacking internet accessibility.

Financial Reasons

1.  While the price of computers has clearly come down, they do cost money.
2.  Installing internet access costs money.
3.  Then there’s the monthly charge for internet access.

The above bears keeping in mind if you decide to plunge in and discuss getting a computer with your parents; as does the “keep it simple, stupid” rule. If it’s complicated, forget it. Which brings us to computers recommended in past posts, but with a different twist.
1.  Paw Paw http://pawpawmail.com/ The simplest technology-just email. But it does connect seniors to the outside world. A baby step towards the internet’s capabilities.
2.  A computer: Regardless of make or model, start simple.  Instruct how to E-mail, Google, Forward an e-mail, and Click on a forward, for example Live-Streaming (eg. the previously suggested link:http://www.livestream.com/nytnestcam , where viewing the baby red-tailed hawk and its parents is addictive and educational),  or YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jca_p_3FcWA&feature=related, where Susan Boyle’s 1st audition is thrilling. The latter two forwards highlight examples of the educational and musical potential.
3. The iPad: small, light-weight. Teaching parents the basics above, and selecting a few appropriate apps, gets parents started.  Once again check out Marti Weston’s blog and her 80-something-year-old dad’s experience after she gifted him with an iPad:http://asourparentsage.net/2010/12/03/holiday-gift-buying-an-ipad-for-your-senior-parent/#more-5951.

Father’s Day is June 19th.  Yet there are other excuses to gift capable parents with a computer, internet access, and some of your time to teach some basics. If siblings and others want to chip in, so much the better. Once aging parents get the hang of it, won’t they be entertained, connected, and possibly forever grateful?

Aging Parents’ Appearance: Helping Fathers and Grandfathers Look Their Best

Ever wonder why Dad doesn’t look as good as you think he should?

Appearance is usually the first thing people notice, isn’t it? Conveniently it’s one area–in our efforts to help parents age well–where we can make a significant contribution. By focusing on men’s grooming and clothing we not only do something thoughtful which brings immediate pleasure, but there’s that old saying,”Look Good, Feel Better,” and that feeling can last.

Grooming and clothing: they make such a difference. A clean-shaven man makes a good first impression. Stubble and that unshaven look tend to be vagrant-looking on most old/older/elderly men… unless of course your dad or grandfather has the looks (and wardrobe) of a Brad Pitt, Justin Timberlake.

Some older men (especially lacking a woman in their life), seem to let themselves go appearance-wise. Perhaps it’s laziness. Or they may find it difficult to shave or put clothes together so they match, due to dexterity or vision limitations. Do they have difficulty getting to laundry facilities in a basement or elsewhere?  Or if they can access laundry facilities, are they clueless as to how to operate the machinery. So many factors.

Yet many are correctable once noticed. We can obviously help older men get to a barber shop if they don’t drive, and arrange for their laundry to be done–even if we decide to do it ourselves. Teaching a willing aging father how to use a washing machine and dryer or gifting a new, easier-to-use razor, an article of clothing and/or an appointment with a good barber may be options.

Perhaps a professional shave is a luxurious gift idea. When Dad was 94 and in his final months I remember his delight when the caregiver gave him a shave in the morning, complete with a warm, damp towel. Dad looked forward to this morning ritual which made him feel pampered in spite of his failing kidneys.

While thoughtful overtures–in and of themselves– bring pleasure, helping an aging father look better offers 2 additional benefits: improving strangers’ reactions to him–be it at the grocery store or wherever; and generating compliments from people who notice the change. All enhance self-esteem.

Hair loss, an issue for men, leads to some strange/creative hair styles 

which a good barber should be able to restyle more suitably. Dad solved this problem with a hat to protect his balding head and avoid more skin cancer. Here, at 91, he’s at my oldest, best friend’s beach house. We stayed overnight reminiscing, with the priceless warmth countless years of friendship provide.

While older men don’t need fashionista clothing, it needs to be neat, clean, color coordinated and appropriate for the occasion. This 72-year-old, recuperating from major illness, had just come from physical therapy and was waiting for his wife. “She’d kill me,” he said, “if she thought I was having my picture taken looking like this.” But he’s clean-shaven, his hair looks fine on this windy summer day, and his clothes are in order.

Many elderly fathers have favorite clothing combinations that they wear again and again–like a uniform. Before everything wears out, what about taking dad shopping? Visit stores or websites with dad–or surprise him with a gift of clothing that enhances his wardrobe. 

Be it Father’s Day–or any day …we can help aging fathers/grandfathers in more ways than one with a single gesture.

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.
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3/26/14 Help! Aging Parents was just nominated again for the Seniorhomes.com Best Senior Living Awards 2014, “Best Blogs by Individuals” category. It was a finalist in 2013. I appreciated your votes last year and would very much appreciate them again this year by clicking http://www.seniorhomes.com/d/help-aging-parents/2014-best-senior-living-awards/ if you’re on Facebook. Deadline 4/28/14 Thanks so much!

 




Aging Parents: Father’s Day and Neckties

If neckties are indeed the most popular Father’s Day gift, I guess I need to include them–with a twist.

But I must admit, I wouldn’t have done it had I not received an email from Matt at http://www.tiepedia.com/tie-blog/49-crafts/155-tie-cake. It’s a cool site with posts about real ties…plus! Obviously Matt’s in the Father’s day spirit.

Check out the photos of 16 cakes, the creative work of Esperanaza above and others. Below is one I just have to include; one I would have tried to make for my Dad when he was alive–the sweater vest with buttons down the front. However, my dad was more traditional…..his sweater vests: one entirely gray, one all navy. And my husband would vouch for the fact I’m not much of a baker.

But possibly you are. So if you are doing the Father’s Day barbecue–or any meal that calls for dessert this coming Sunday, check out a dessert site with an assortment of simpler dessert recipes for Father’s Day, including a cake that resembles Esperanza’s creation. Of course, there’s still time to buy a tie.