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.






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


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.


  • 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 


  • 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).
  • 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.

  • 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.