Aging Parents: Gifts for Fathers and Grandfathers Part 2 2015 Update

Cake by Esperanza

Round-up of 50 Gifts for Fathers and Grandfathers
continued

A tie!? When men “dressed” to go out ties were a most popular Father’s Day gift. While still a popular gift, today’s more casual dress code makes me wonder about the future of ties…they aren’t listed under “Accessories/Clothing” in part 1.
However, this Father’s Day Cake, complete with tie, could be a creative answer for those who bake and like using marzipan. Can anything top making this cake as a loving tribute to a great Dad or Grandad? For those who don’t bake, my round-up continues…..

Hearing: Hearing loss is a problem for older people and for those who communicate with them.

  • Assistive listening systems: products for TV watchers who need very high volume to hear well (while others don’t). Click the preceding link then scroll down to “Assistive Listening Systems” if you wish to educate yourself.
  • Amplified Telephones=better conversation for all. This link provides a quick education as does the “Amplified Telephones” section of this U. of Calif at San Francisco Medical Center site.
  • A good audiologist’s contact information. Do the research to up the odds that the hearing loss will be diagnosed and corrected. Put the information in a gift box with the appropriate note and offer transportation to and from the appointment if you wish.
  • This  2011 NY Times article, mentions/praises Clarity phones, you might want to  click the pictures (amplified phones, mobile phones) for more info.
  • Googling “telephones for hearing loss” provides additional phone options.

Pampering

  • Starbucks’s VIA ready brew individual instant coffee packets–regular or decaf in 3, 12. or 50 packs for coffee lovers. My Dad would find them pricey–Probably wouldn’t buy them for himself. (Costco used to carry them.)
  • Keurig Coffee Maker and coffee pods–a year-round, expensive–a gift my dad would never have bought for himself–a family-get-together-to-give gift perhaps. Coffee lovers, young and old love it and the coffee pods that can be delivered monthly.
  • A mug (perhaps with a family photo?) to microwave the coffee in.
  • Good bottle of wine
  • Wine refrigerator 
  • His favorite microbrew beer (a case?)
  • Massage
  • Professional shave
  • Manicure/Pedicure
  • An easy-care plant–decorative and life-affirming
  • What about that Father’s Day cake?

Visionwe know vision changes with age; these gifts can enhance

  • Large print books (for those who still like the feel of a book)
  • An electronic book. Because the font can be enlarged–I hear it’s a Godsend. The background color can also make a difference so check this out with someone knowledgeable.
  • A Verilux lamp can be especially helpful for those with vision issues. Two people I know (one with advanced macular degeneration) have the “Original Natural Spectrum” floor model. They say the light bulb adds clarity and the gooseneck directs the light where it does the most good for reading or doing desk work.
  • The mini-maglite, small flashlights that give great light in dark places.                             
  • Pocket magnifying glasses great for reading small print (think menus and the check) in dark restaurants. Pocket 3X strength magnifying-glass takes up little space, is light weight, not pricey (around $10 at Barnes & Noble), remains lit without having to keep a finger on any button.  Amazon”s Lightwedge magnifier gets same rating, looks similar.Also check out the 5X strength ($9.99) from another mfg. Note: This guide for buying magnifying glasses for those with low vision can be helpful.
  • White dishes make it easier for macular-vision affected people to distinguish their food on a plate, for example. Read: Contrast makes the difference
Here’s to successful shopping!
Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely tips, information and research from top universities and respected professionals–to help parents age well.

Aging Parents: Gifts for Fathers and Grandfathers Part 2 2015

Cake by Esperanza

Round-up of 50 Gifts for Fathers and Grandfathers
A tie!? When men “dressed” to go out ties were a most popular Father’s Day gift. While still a popular gift, today’s more casual dress code makes me wonder about the future of ties…they aren’t listed under “Accessories/Clothing” in part 1.
However, this Father’s Day Cake, complete with tie, could be a creative answer for those who bake and like using marzipan. Can anything top making this cake as a loving tribute to a great Dad or Grandad? For those who don’t bake, my round-up continues…..

Hearing: Hearing loss is a problem for older people and for those who communicate with them.

  • Assistive listening systems: products for TV watchers who need very high volume to hear well (while others don’t). Click the preceding link then scroll down to “Assistive Listening Systems” if you wish to educate yourself.
  • Amplified Telephones=better conversation for all. This link provides a quick education as does the “Amplified Telephones” section of this U. of Calif at San Francisco Medical Center site.
  • A good audiologist’s contact information. Do the research to up the odds that the hearing loss will be diagnosed and corrected. Put the information in a gift box with the appropriate note and offer transportation to and from the appointment if you wish.
  • This  2011 NY Times article, mentions/praises Clarity phones, you might want to  click the pictures (amplified phones, mobile phones) for more info.
  • Googling “telephones for hearing loss” provides additional phone options.

Pampering

  • Starbucks’s VIA ready brew individual instant coffee packets–regular or decaf in 3, 12. or 50 packs for coffee lovers. My Dad would find them pricey–Probably wouldn’t buy them for himself. (Costco used to carry them.)
  • Keurig Coffee Maker and coffee pods–a year-round, expensive–a gift my dad would never have bought for himself–a family-get-together-to-give gift perhaps. Coffee lovers, young and old love it and the coffee pods that can be delivered monthly.
  • A mug (perhaps with a family photo?) to microwave the coffee in.
  • Good bottle of wine
  • Wine refrigerator 
  • His favorite microbrew beer (a case?)
  • Massage
  • Professional shave
  • Manicure/Pedicure
  • An easy-care plant–decorative and life-affirming
  • What about that Father’s Day cake?

Visionwe know vision changes with age; these gifts can enhance

  • Large print books (for those who still like the feel of a book)
  • An electronic book. Because the font can be enlarged–I hear it’s a Godsend. The background color can also make a difference so check this out with someone knowledgeable.
  • A Verilux lamp can be especially helpful for those with vision issues. Two people I know (one with advanced macular degeneration) have the “Original Natural Spectrum” floor model. They say the light bulb adds clarity and the gooseneck directs the light where it does the most good for reading or doing desk work.
  • The mini-maglite, small flashlights that give great light in dark places.                             
  • Pocket magnifying glasses great for reading small print (think menus and the check) in dark restaurants. Pocket 3X strength magnifying-glass takes up little space, is light weight, not pricey (around $10 at Barnes & Noble), remains lit without having to keep a finger on any button.  Amazon”s Lightwedge magnifier gets same rating, looks similar.Also check out the 5X strength ($9.99) from another mfg. Note: This guide for buying magnifying glasses for those with low vision can be helpful.
  • White dishes make it easier for macular-vision affected people to distinguish their food on a plate, for example. Read: Contrast makes the difference
Here’s to successful shopping!
Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely tips, information and research from top universities and respected professionals–to help parents age well.

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

Computer

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!