2012 Holiday Gifts for Aging Fathers and Grandfathers–3

Why do gifts for older men seem to take more thought and ingenuity than gifts for women? Or is this a question basically asked by women–who, we might assume, purchase more gifts than men? Although tagged as aging mens’ gift ideas, this list is clearly appropriate for aging women.

5. Hearing:  Older people’s hearing loss is a problem for them and for us, so think about–

  • Assistive listening systems: for TV watchers who need very high volume (http://www.hsdcstore.com/FAQs/DigitalTV.htm) while others in the room don’t.  To educate yourself, scroll down on the link to “Assistive Listening Devices.”
  • Amplified Telephones=better conversations for all.  http://telephonesforhearingimpaired.com/  provides a quick education as does the  “Amplified Telephones” section of this U. of Calif at San Francisco Medical Center site:  http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/hearing enhancement_devices/ 
  • An appointment with an audiologist. (Possibly locate the audiologist, make appointment, go with parent to appointment.) To lessen any emotional overlay, this may be most effective with objective reporting of facts (eg. “I don’t know whether you noticed, Dad, but yesterday I told you John just phoned and you answered ‘But I just talked to Joan two minutes ago.’ You’ve been doing a lot of that lately, Do you think an appointment with an audiologist would be a good idea?”  I admit that’s not the kind of gift every parent wants, but something appealing can always be added from other categories.

If hearing is an issue check this NY Times link: http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/07/functions-to-make-phones-easier-for-the-elderly/ which mentions Clarity’s phones, http://shop.clarityproducts.com/.

I pay little attention to company’s emails sent to my blog’s gmail, but because of the NY Times article, this interested me. Click the amplified phones picture for Clarity’s offerings.  Some phones may meet an aging parent’s needs. Also Googling “telephones for hearing loss” provides additional phone options.

6. Pampering

  • Starbucks VIA ready brew individual instant coffee packets–regular or decaf in 3 or 12 packs for coffee lovers. Dad probably wouldn’t buy it for himself. Easy, microwaveable, no mess.. Pricey, however, COSTO carried it and may still.

  • A massage or a professional shave
  • Nice pajamas
  • Comfortable bathrobe

Vision: We know aging produces vision changes in many.

  • Large print books (for dads who still like the feel of a book); large print newspaper, large print crossword puzzle book.
  • The Kindle (which I hear many like best) or other electronic book, where the font can be enlarged–a Godsend I hear for people with vision issues.
  • The pocket-lighted-slide magnifying glass (Black & Silver Pocket LED) from Great Point Light offers magnification and light with a simple pull. Takes up little space, is light weight, not pricy ($9.95), remains lit without having to keep a finger on any button, great for reading (menus/bills) in dark restaurant. It was carried at the Container Store, Staples, and Office Max last year. Haven’t physically checked this year. This website offers more details, including how-to information for selecting a magnifier.

We’re into Chanukah, with two weeks left until Christmas. Here’s hoping that the last 4 posts have helped with your holiday shopping.


2012 Holiday Gifts for Aging Fathers and Grandfathers–2

  • Health and Hygiene continued from Dec. 4th, but I decided it deserves its own post….I’ll continue with gift categories 5-7, Hearing, Pampering, and Vision before week’s end.

Old Feet: are not gifts. But good, old feet are a gift.  Helping preserve them doesn’t seem to be at the top of most older people’s list of priorities—until problems arise. Now think gifts for aging feet.

  • 1. The first thing that comes to mind is a good toe nail clipper for those who have dexterity and don’t have diabetes. Dr. Pamela Karman, Diplomate/American Board of Foot Surgeons, adds that toenails soften when soaked in warm water for a few minutes–making them easier to cut. So a note about the warm water, accompanying with the clipper, would seem to be a good idea.
  • 2. Also consider Gifting (includes arranging for) regular pedicure appointments for those who have dexterity or diabetes problems or can no longer easily reach to cut their toenails. (You can make the gift certificate.) At a certain age cutting toe nails becomes difficult (for both men and women). I only realized this when 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 from the nearby golf course now go there to have our toenails trimmed.  I can still take the golf ball out of the cup, but it’s difficult for me to bend and reach that far to cut my toenails.”  Who knew?
  • 3. Is gifting an appointment with a podiatrist another gift idea? Yes, if deformed toenails, bunions or anything that could interfere with balance is an issue. While I’m not certain how to discretely detect these problems, beginning a discussion using some of the facts below can be a good starting place.

A NY Times column cites Dr. Richard Scher, head of the Nail Section at Weil Cornell Medical College, explaining that finger and toe nails’ growth rate rapidly decreases with age; thus both kinds of nails thicken due to the piling up of cells, although fingernails don’t thicken as much. (Finger nails have a slower growth rate, the result of filing and buffing which thins them).

Additionally, long-term trauma and poor circulation take their toll on toe nails, as do injuries, stubbing, wearing ill-fitting shoes, nail-bed injuries and nail fungus.

I discussed the above with Dr. Karman. She suggests having pedicures once a month after age 55-60, reiterating “this especially holds true for people with diabetes or unsteady hands.”

Since balance can be involved, and poor balance can lead to falls, make certain bedroom slippers have nonskid soles and favorite shoes have heels and soles that are in good shape.

  • 4.  A good pair of bedroom slippers with nonskid soles–a good gift idea!
  • 5.  Arranging shoe repair and perhaps a shoe shine for favorite, worn out shoes–another idea. I know Dad hated to give up his favorite shoes, but it was important they ensured good balance, which meant nonskid soles and no worn-down heels.
  • 6. Balance is a major concern for most older people and gifting the alert pendant or bracelet can be a lifesaver for a living-alone aging parent….if they’ll accept it and don’t leave it in a drawer! Check this 12/28/10, post and the 1/2011 part-2 post that follows re: alert pendants reviewed.
  • 7.  What about new socks? Check out the sock supply. Do socks compliment clothing? Is aging vision creating confusion between black and navy? If treatment for toe nail fungus takes place, socks must be throughly disinfected in washing machine or purchase new socks….otherwise fungus will come back, according to Dr. Karman.
  • 8.  Would a small flashlight to keep in the sock drawer be helpful in distinguishing colors? Check out the Maglite. It’s a quality little flashlight that is carried by many stores (a store locator is on this site) and on line.






Gifts for Aging Fathers and Grandfathers–1 (2013)

NOTE:  FOR 2014 UPDATES AND 45 GIFT IDEAS PLEASE GO TO     https://helpparentsagewell.com/2014/05/31/aging-parents-gifts-for-fathers-and-grandfathers-part-1

More gifts ideas for aging fathers and grandfathers–than I think a man could possibly want–filled my Father’s Day gifts posts last year: 8 categories, arranged alphabetically, from “Accessories and Clothing” to “Vision.” I reread them, remembering the time and outside-the-box thinking that went into compiling the list.

Not needing to reinvent the wheel, I’ve updated the list and added a bit. I’ll post it in 2 parts so it’s not overwhelming. Hoping that your shopping is made easier and that the aging men in your life will have smiles on their faces as they open their presents.

1.  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 sweater vest (not over the head). 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 collapsible–opens and closes with the push of a button. (Totes makes a good one.)

2.  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

3.  Entertainment:

  • Subscription to a Favorite Magazine
  • Netflix
  • Subscription to newspaper–financial, current local or hometown they grew up in
  • Tickets to sporting events etc.–accompany Dad or have Dad take 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).
  • Add a premium TV channel
4.  Health/Hygiene:
  • Membership to the YMCA or a gym
  • Membership to Silver Sneakers
  • Toe Nail Clippers: for elders with still-steady hands who don’t have diabetes.
  • Panosonic’s Nose and Facial Hair Trimmer is older men’s most popular 2012 purchase according to the NYC Hammacher Schlemmer store  or catalogue–($19.95)
  • Does a good blood pressure gauge help old, older, and very old men age well? Recently an easy-to-use OMRON intellisense wrist blood pressure gauge, like the one pictured, was used on a patient in one of the doctor’s offices located in one of NYC’s top hospitals. (I phoned to double-check it out.) Check it out with your dad’s/granddad’s doctor.Product Details
    Omron Bp652 7 Series Blood Pressure Wrist Unit.  double-check on this UTube Video.
  • A great pair of shoes for walking
  • Hammacher Schlemmer’s (catalog: 800-543-3366) full screen pedometer (2 5/8 Hx 1 1/2 Wx 1/2 D). Steps walked, distance travelled, calories burned, time elapsed, average pace–all seen at once, on one screen operated by one button.
  • 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)?

To Be Completed Next Post……Until then, happy shopping

May 2014 Help! Aging Parents was again a finalist. Check all finalists’ blogs out by clicking the 2014 finalist badge at rightAnd many thanks again for your vote.

2012 Holiday Gifts for Aging Mothers-2 (updated 11/26/12)

Fashionable, Appropriate Clothing and Accessories continued…

If we subscribe to “look good, feel better,” a new outfit or an addition to an older person’s wardrobe that pulls an outfit together (and meets the criteria discussed in last Saturday’s post) just has to play a part in helping parents age well. And who knows, maybe an aging father will look twice at his bride of many years and give her a compliment!

Draper’s & Damon’s www.drapers.com (800-843-1174) advertises a “full selection of misses, petites, and women’s” clothing.  They also have: flat-front pull-on pants as well as those with all-around elastic waist bands, Alfred Dunner, Da Rue (more pricey, mother loved their “blouson tops,”) additional unnamed manufacturers, and many separates shown with color-coordinated jewelry.

This takes the guesswork out of coordinating a stylish outfit. Skirts (both long and a bit below-the-knee styles) and coordinated sporty jackets and pants in velour and other fabrics round out their offerings. They also have stores in 5 states.

Eileen Fisher http://www.eileenfisher.com has shops throughout the US (scroll down to the store locator on her homepage).  Her knits are well- made, washable and pack easily– basically wrinkle-free. Perfect for traveling.

I always thought of them for the more full-figured woman, but The Lab (her outlet) is nearby and I’ve loved wearing her small sizes.  Styles are “today”–smart and stylish–some styles are perfect for older women. And for me, at least, they have lasted a long time–retaining their shape and fit. Many of her knit slacks have elastic waist bands. The ones I’ve seen fit the body well–don’t look “bunchy” around the hips.

Eileen Fisher is carried by many of the “better” department stores and is somewhat pricey. Lord & Taylor usually has some of her clothing on sale (on website, in catalog). So check out the sale clothing also. Many of her clothing is such that “flabby arms” won’t be an issue.

Serengeti’s catalog  (http://www.serengeticatalog.com/) comes regularly to 99-year-old R’s home. Clothing prices are mostly moderate. Serengeti carries Alfred Dunner, plus everything from pants suits, to pull-on pants, tops, jackets, skirts, sleepware, jewelry, accessories. There’s a lot to choose from!

Finally the Tog Shop, www.togshop.com, especially Alfred Dunner and Koret, two manufacturers whose clothes aging mothers can easily wear and look well-put-together.

  • Alfred Dunner’s pull-on pants coordinate with tops.  The all-around elastic waist bands, while easy to pull up, can be an issue for certain figures; but not necessarily, when hidden under coordinated tops.
  • Koret eliminates all-around elastic on some clothes, manufacturing flat front pants and skirts with elastic in the back or has “hidden elastic” in the waist that expands up to two inches on each side.

Also Google manufacturers–both Alfred Dunner and Koret, for example, have on-line outlets.

Allie Clark says:

As a former caregiver, geriatric manager and all around good daughter, I smiled about your blog post regarding clothes for senior ladies and would like to add my two cents: It would be incredibly thoughtful and probably well received to make sure that the elderly and/or disabled lady in your life has a comfortable new outfit to wear for the holidays. Don’t wait til Christmas or Chanukah or gift-giving celebration night to give it to her!

Your suggestion of the line of clothes by Alfred Dunner is spot on. They are stylish, color coordinated, modest, stretch coordinates in washable fabrics that are warmer knits in the winter and light in the summer. My mother, in her later years, would have loved to have picked out her own Alfred Dunner ensemble on the internet without having to go shopping, but I wanted to add that both Macy’s and JC Penney’s also carry this brand and had fantastic deals and discounts at the mall today and again, with free shipping right now, on line.

As for my dad, who told me several times in his later years that he did NOT want any new clothes, I just made sure that a choice of a nice maroon L.L. Bean sweater vest, a hunter green cardigan and a burberry plaid scarf were dry cleaned and on the ready, and then no matter what else he wanted to wear, he always looked nice and felt fantastic in pictures and in person.

Happy holidays to seniors everywhere and all best wishes for the new year ahead!


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


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.” 

Aging Parents:Technology Gifts for Non-Tech-Savvy Seniors–2011 update


Living far from my parents, I thought gifting Dad with a computer–just like mine so I could help him if he had problems–was a great idea on many levels–including our staying in touch.  Dad had a logical mind and could take apart and fix anything. Therefore I deduced, he would find using a computer relatively easy.  Wrong!

While his hands were steady at 85 and a mouse was no problem, he seemed eager to try but there was no natural instinct (as there is with today’s children.) He was fine when I was sitting next to him; but when I left he couldn’t do it. I’m an educator as well as a counselor and know how to effectively teach.  But I failed.  That said–

6 Gift Ideas for Non-Tech-Savvy Seniors (updated 11/2011)

1.  A computer? Nancy M., a computer educator who successfully taught octogenarians, among others, for over a decade says: “If people are mentally sound and have the dexterity, they can successfully use a computer.”

To start out right, she advises, find a teacher or someone who understands how people learn.  An older person should be taught at home on his/her own computer.  Arranging the computer desktop so that only needed icons are there is a must…reduces confusion, she says. She also makes a folder for the desktop, containing an individual file with simple instructions for each procedure. Instructions are there if someone forgets. (Knowing the the last 2 suggestions when helping Dad would, I think, have given him the confidence he lacked when I wasn’t there.)

2.  PawPaw http://pawpawmail.com/ easy e-mail for nontech seniors and grandparents. The NY Times New Old Age blog had a post about it in the spring of 2010. There’s a 10-day free trial period.

3.  Presto Printing Mailboxhttp://www.presto.com/ E-mail comes to the recipient as a printed-out letter; photos can also be sent. One-way communication from you to noncomputer users. There’s a monthly fee.

4.  Fax: Most aging parents are comfortable with this old technology. Its original purpose was to transmit letters and documents. Excellent for: making copies; communication to/from doctors’ offices; obtaining copies of records or lost bills; enlisting your help with confusing letters or bills. When mother was recovering from her stroke, it gave her incentive to exercise her hand and fingers by writing me–then faxing (or have Dad fax) it to me. Short notes grew into letters–good, meaningful fine motor practice.

5.  An iPad: a touch screen is easier than a mouse or keyboard for many older people. Marti Weston provides excellent information as she shares her experience with the iPad she bought for her dad.  http://asourparentsage.net/2010/12/03/holiday-gift-buying-an-ipad-for-your-senior-parent/#more-5951

As readers know, major studies confirm social connectedness is one of the three most important factors in successful aging. The above gifts support connections with others who have differing abilities where tech is concerned.

While the last gift doesn’t promote social connectedness, it does promote pleasure….

6.  The iPod Shuffle— “tailor-made for seniors,” according to Phil Moeller’s 2010 article “Best Holiday gifts for Seniors” in US News&World Report.” Once it’s set up, to operate it all one has to do is click-on and click-off. Someone else who is already familiar with iTunes needs to learn what their favorite music is, obtain it, set up the playlist, and load it. If the senior knows how to operate a TV remote, they’ll be able to handle this single-button operation.”

With hopes one of the above gifts will be an enriching, meaningful addition to a non-tech savy-senior’s life.

Changing weekly: “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!