What are good gifts for senior citizens?
I have been a senior citizen for quite a while (octogenarian here) and I have a few gift ideas that won’t cost my loved ones any money. I remember, when I was younger, how difficult it was to come up with gift ideas for the older adults in my life. It seemed they already had everything they wanted. My attempts to bring them a bit of joy with a shiny trinket or pretty scarf usually felt vaguely inadequate, regardless of the price.
Now, though, almost every day I think of things I could use: strength, greater mobility, and stamina, to name a few. Slowly these precious gifts of youth have waned for me and I find myself wishing for help with some basic tasks. While I do take advantage of resources to aid older adults in their daily living tasks, there are some gifts that are priceless.
Last night as I began to make dinner, I wondered why I ever arranged my cabinets the way I did. The things I use most seemed to be stored the furthest from my reach. Other items sit underneath, stored so low I often feel a twinge of pain bending to pull out a pot or pan.
What a great gift I thought, if someone would come and rearrange my cabinets to store my most-used items within easy reach. I sat down and thought about where everything should go to accommodate my reaching and bending difficulties. I listed where I would like to place the items for the greatest balance of convenience and efficiency. Now when one of the kids asks me what I want for my birthday, I know just what to tell them.
As I started to sketch on paper my idea of an improved storage space, I realized why my earlier gifts for my elders felt lacking and sad. What Grandmother wanted wasn’t another tchotchke. She was at a point in her life where she was starting to feel the effects of aging and she worried about losing her independence. I am at that point now and realize any gifts that will help me continue my life as easily and independently as possible will count as a most cherished gift.
With that in mind, here are ideas for gifts that seniors might find more valuable than you can imagine. Of course, always discuss with your senior your plans to help them. Seniors, like everyone else, want to feel in control of their lives and generally want to participate in decisions that will affect them.
- Rearrange cabinets, cupboards and pantries for easiest reach to the most-used items
- Deep laundry (clothes, sheets, curtains, etc)
- Deep vacuum (carpets, spider webs on walls, under beds, etc.)
- Deep clean the kitchen
- Window washing
- Lawn Maintenance (mowing, raking, etc.)
- Rides to doctor
- Shopping trips, either for or with your senior
- Bring your senior to their preferred religious services
- Treat both of you with a trip to the nail salon for manicures and pedicures
- Take your senior’s pet to the vet
- Shop for and cook your senior’s favorite meals and stock their freezer with individual portions
- Bring a meal you made at home to eat with your older family member
- Plan a movie night to come watch a movie with your senior
Help your senior remember by jotting down on a calendar the dates and times you have agreed to come over. Looking forward to company coming may help stave off loneliness in your senior. The calendar can also prompt their memory and help provide a sense of control that they can feel is slipping away at times. Seniors also want to feel in control of their lives, and a ‘reminder call’ the day before will be most appreciated! We do forget sometimes.
Discuss with your older adult the level of help they feel they need and let them make the decisions with you. The goal is as much to keep up their living space as it is to allow your senior to continue to feel loved and valued, even as his or her physical abilities start to weaken.
If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please mention them below in the comments!
Photo Credit: Pixabay | Henriethaan