ugg bag sale Gift ideas abound for the seniors on your list
It can be tricky to think of gifts for older relatives and friends. Often they insist they don’t want or need anything, but you still want to get them something thoughtful.
Who better to come up with ideas than staffers at retirement communities, social workers, shopping experts and, of course, seniors themselves?
First of all, they say, remember that everyone has different interests, lifestyles and needs. Your senior could be an active adult with lots of varied interests, or he/she may have experienced some physical or cognitive setbacks. And consider the finances. Some seniors have no money worries. Others do.
Your own budget matters, too, of course. If the gift you’d like to give costs more than you can afford, ask other family members to pitch in. Remember, you aren’t the only one who may want to offer your special senior a gift. And often, it turns out, the most appreciated gifts cost little or nothing.
Presence as presentsSometimes the most practical, useful and personalized gifts translate into “presence,” rather than “presents,” says Jackie Burch, executive director of Lancaster County Office of Aging.
“For example, help a senior with errands and transportation,” she suggests. “Older people often have limited mobility or no nearby family, so it becomes hard for them to enjoy basic tasks like holiday gift or grocery shopping.
“Or visit with or invite a senior to dinner for the holidays. Amidst the joy and excitement of the holidays, many seniors experience sadness and loneliness. A simple dinner invitation could go a long way to brighten someone’s day.”
Other suggestions involving “presence” include walking the dog or feeding the kitten, and helping with chores around the house. Create a coupon book, outlining such activities.
Seniors speak upLancaster County seniors, it appears, don’t want to overburden gift givers. Their wish lists are modest
Rebecca Wise, activities director at Traditions of America, a 55 plus community in Lititz, queried residents, and all put a restaurant gift certificate at the top of their lists.
“They said they love going out, having somebody else cook,” Wise says.
“Somebody gifted my mother with a car detailing certificate last Christmas,” says Peg Porell of Manheim Township. “She loved that, and I think it’s a great gift for any senior who is still driving. I, for one, would appreciate theater tickets, restaurant and spa visit certificates.”
Aggie Romeo, a new Lancaster resident, asks for an E ZPass for the tolls plus a gasoline gift card to help with visits to her grandchildren in the New York area. She also lists a magazine or newspaper subscription “to be happily reminded of them with every issue.” Other ideas: a gift card for home cleaning and lightweight, battery operated tools (she loves her weed wacker, she says).
Karen Schultze of Gordonville asks for experiences. “Workshops and seminars rank high on my wish list,” she says. “Also a certificate to a favorite restaurant like Reflections, Carr’s or Log Cabin. Or to a nice B for a weekend away.”
Helpful giftsShopping experts from malls and stores have plenty of suggestions for senior gifts
For example, Ronald Grembowiec of Lancaster Computer Co., says a tablet with a user friendly touch screen and large font options is excellent for seniors, but he suggests including learning sessions with such a gift. “Older people are often afraid of getting into the digital world,” he says. “But we will come to somebody’s home and teach them how to get the most out of the the gadget.”
Clothes are often considered a boring gift, but Bon Ton’s Susan Head reminds us that many seniors go for years without anything new in their wardrobe. She suggests a packable winter coat that can go along on a trip, suitcase included. Or cozy Ugg slippers or Heat Holder Socks. And a nonclothes item: the Healthy Senior Nutri Ninja Blender, which can do smoothies, blended cocktails, soups and ice cream.
Monica Trego, general manager of Tanger Outlets, says seniors have definite favorites among the center’s many shops, including Yankee Candle, Talbot’s and Kitchen Collection, but this Christmas there will be 80 additional stores. Among them are the Book Warehouse and River Street Sweets, both sure to lure seniors.
Gardening tools especially designed for people with arthritis are suggested by Emma Gilsanz of Boomly, an online store selling items for seniors. She also likes the Bella electric ceramic kettle, which automatically cuts the power if there’s no more water left in it excellent for somebody who likes a good cup of tea, but might forget the tea kettle on the stove.
But most of all, she likes StoryWorth, which helps seniors record their stories through weekly emails, sent for a year, with questions that will inspire them to start talking about their lives. “What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever seen” and “Have you ever pulled a great prank?” Are two typical questions. Stories are securely stored on the family’s StoryWorth account and can be easily shared with family members. After a year, the StoryWorth team will create a hardcover book featuring all the stories.
If you’re still uncertain what to get for your senior relative or friend, ask him or her if there was ever something they wanted to do, but it never came to pass. That’s sure to be a jewel for present and future gift giving. It could be something as simple as a Sunday drive to Winterthur or a trip to Key West. Or it might be dance or music lessons.