BY KIM HUGHES –
Selecting gifts for senior citizens can be a real challenge, especially if they live in a residential or nursing center. The key is to talk to the person about what they could use and ask other family members for ideas and suggestions. This may also help to avoid several people giving the same item.
For many elderly people, the best gift you can give is a visit or a phone call. For a person who is hard of hearing, a telephone amplifier could make their phone calls more pleasurable.
Find out what magazines or newspapers they subscribe to and extend the subscription another year. Check to see if the subscription is available in large-print, which will be easier on their eyes.
For the person who likes to read, find out what kind of books they enjoy and give a large-print or book-on-tape as a gift.
A thoughtful gift might be a calendar featuring a theme of interest to the person, such as lakes and shores for the fisherman or flowers for the gardener. Write pre-scheduled family events, such as vacations, birthdays, holidays, business trips, school/athletic activities, etc., in the calendar before wrapping it. This will help the older person have a better idea of what others are doing and they will feel more a part of family activities.
A box of assorted occasion cards is always a welcome gift. If the person has trouble writing, pre-address a few of the cards. Of course, don’t forget to include stamps in the box.
Grandparents love to brag about their grandchildren! A fun way to do this is to make a scrapbook of various activities, examples of school papers, and pictures of such special events as birthday parties. Grandparents can share this with others and brag about their family. Don’t forget to label the pictures and other mementos in large lettering.
Another scrapbook idea is to make one with special events of the person’s own life. Find pictures, articles and other items that hold fond memories for them. Because elderly like to reminisce, this gives them tangible things they can use to remember events and share with others.
If you want to give a food item, first check to see if there are any diet restrictions for the individual. If food is okay, make sure it’s in a container with a tight lid and will keep safely. Many seniors prefer individually wrapped crackers, candy, or other shelf-safe snacks that they can offer to their visitors when they are entertaining.
By checking ahead to find out the needs of the individual, and then selecting suitable items, you’ll know the gift you give that special elderly person this year truly will be enjoyed.