Holiday Gift Guide for Your Aging Parent
Older adults may require special considerations when it comes to the selection of holiday gifts. While many have the exacting tastes they have accumulated over a lifetime, advancing age may mean they are unable to engage in previously enjoyed hobbies. Still, others will have found new interests and preferences.
This holiday gift guide will help you locate a well-appreciated gift for even the most discerning of parents!
Books are an ideal gift for almost any older adult. For those who love to get lost in a story, a modern fiction book is likely your best bet. Looking at a list of the best books of 2017 is an easy way to choose. For older adults who prefer reading about history or current events, a history book or political autobiography is a good choice.
For those with vision difficulties, books are available in large print specifically for this population.
If they are avid readers, consider purchasing a Kindle or an iPad so they can download their favorite author or genre anytime!
Photo albums are among the top gifts for older adults, and with good reason. Older adults not only enjoy reminiscing about the past, but research suggests this type of reminiscing can slow memory loss and improve satisfaction with their lives.
This is an ideal gift for parents with family who live far away, or who enjoy reminiscing about the past.
Photos can be selected especially with your parent in mind. For a fun family project, have every family member choose one or two photographs for inclusion in the album, or choose a holiday-themed album with photographs from holidays past.
Another artsy option is creating a photo collage and framing it for your loved one. Grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, aunts and uncles can all come together to contribute photos and add artistic touches to a collaborative collage project your parent will treasure.
Brain sharpening games are a practical, useful gift for older adults. They are not restricted to older adults with memory loss; in fact, those who may benefit most from memory enhancing games are those who do not have any memory or neurological deficits and are looking to prevent them.
In addition to these benefits, these games are fun to play and can be played by all ages. These games can be a fun activity for parents to play with grandchildren, older adults to play with each other, and others.
It is no secret that many older adults enjoy nothing more than a warm day out in the garden, though when winter comes, gardening is often the furthest thing from our minds. Nevertheless, gardening supplies are a wonderful gift that almost any senior will enjoy. A gardening seat or ergonomic clippers will help your aging parent enjoy their gardening hobby for years to come.
Other gardening supplies that an older adult might appreciate are a pair of pretty gardening gloves, a painted watering can, or a basket of seeds.
A spa day is an ultimate gift for recipients of all ages, and older adults are no exception.
For adults of advancing age, foot care especially if of vital importance and often becomes neglected. Similarly, older adults who have lost their partner may be especially appreciative of caring touch with a scalp massage or fancy haircut.
A day of pampering may be just what your mother or father was hoping for. For an extra-special family gift, book a spa day for your parent and yourself together, or for you parent and your child to have a special day together.
Even a basket for a spa day at home will not go unappreciated. Fill a decorative wicker basket with bath bombs, soaps, lotions, and spa accessories.
An Indoor / Outdoor Weather Station
A wireless weather station is a practical gift an elderly parent will appreciate. The weather impacts their daily routine more than other generations so knowing if snow is expected can help them decide when to go grocery shopping or meet with friends.
Something almost all aging adults appreciate is the gift of comfort. Comfortable sleepwear or loungewear is sure to keep your parent warm throughout the long winter season.
Socks with built-in grips on the soles are an ideal choice for seniors who are at increased risk of falls. These socks combine comfort with safety. Slippers with built-in grips are another excellent option for keeping cold toes warm.
Pajamas are another cozy option for winter. For a holiday gift, look for soft fleece or flannel in seasonally appropriate red, green, and white prints. Others may equally appreciate a warm robe or shawl.
For those wanting an equally wearable and cuddly option, a soft homemade blanket may fit the bill. A lap size blanket or quilt can be used on the sofa, chairs, or in bed, and can even be hand-knitted or hand-quilted for the especially ambitious gift-giver.
Artwork for Any Tastes
Something to decorate the walls is a great gift to give to an aging parent. This is especially true for adult children who know their parents tastes well.
Of course, this is a gift that can be personalized to the memories your parent has from earlier in life. For instance, a landscape from a family beach vacation many years ago may help to recall happy and positive memories for your parent. Framed photographs of loved ones can serve a similar purpose and are inexpensive to print and frame.
For older adult parents who live in a skilled nursing facility or assisted living, a personalized artwork or wall décor is especially appreciated and really helps to liven up and personalize the living area.
If you have children, framed drawings from grandchildren are priceless and may become some of the most treasured décor your parent possesses.
Houseplants provide some special meaning for many older adults who are unable to have pets. Plants offer the opportunity to have something to care for and dote upon.
For a Christmas twist, consider gifting a seasonal plant, such as ivy, holly, or poinsettia. Even non traditional Christmas plants can be adorned with tree decorations and twinkly lights for a seasonal touch.
Food: The Perfect Gift for All Occasions
Knowing your parent well, you are likely aware of their dietary needs, preferences, and tastes.
Boxed chocolates are among the most popular gifts for the holiday season. Dried fruits and nuts are a slightly healthier twist on this option. A large basket of fresh fruit or a selection of crackers and specialty cheeses are two other tasteful options.
For those who prefer a warm beverage in the morning or evening, a selection of teas and biscuits is a perfect gift, complete with a ceramic mug or cozy teapot.
The Gift of Better Sleep
One of the most common problems reported by older adults is decreased quality of sleep. Not only do they often have problems falling asleep and staying asleep, but the spend less time in the deep phase of sleep than adults of other ages. Your aging parent will surely welcome a gift that helps them increase their restfulness and the quality of sleep they are having.
One example of an inexpensive gift that can even be made at home is a lavender pillow. The smell of lavender is found to promote sleep, and a small lavender pillow tucked into bed linens can help your parent sleep better.
Other gifts that can help promote adequate sleep for your parent include eye masks and white noise machines that reduce background light and noise to promote restfulness.
A memory scrapbook is among the most creative and thoughtful gifts you can give your loved one. A scrapbook is sort of like a journal with a lot of photos and small texts with stories or anecdotes from the past that accompany the pictures.
Scrapbooks are truly a gift that keeps on giving as the recipient visits them time and time again.
You can include special pages with different themes, including Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, family vacations, and so much more. To specialize the scrapbook, you can include pages that are specific to your parents’ interests.
Another equally appreciated gift idea would be a ‘craft day’ where you, your parent, and potentially a grandchild come together to craft a scrapbook for your parent. To make this gift a reality, set aside an afternoon on your calendar and bring a basket filled with stickers, photographs, paper, decorative tape and more.
A Blast from the Past
For older adults, sometimes the greatest gift of all is the gift of nostalgia. Rather than anything fancy and new, many would prefer a bit of nostalgia to bring them back to happy times earlier in their lives.
One way to help you parent reminisce is gifting them a board game or movie from their childhood. These gifts bring back positive memories and allow them to enjoy something they may not have been able to experience in 40 or 50 years, and allows them to share it with you so you can experience it together for the first time.
Finding a candy or special snack from their childhood or adolescence is equally appreciated and evokes similar nostalgic sentiments. Asking adults of a similar age – or even your parents’ siblings who grew up during the same era – can provide some insight into the type of treats your parent may have enjoyed in the past.
Similarly, tracking down a recipe they often ate in childhood and attempting to recreate it is a great way to show your love and appreciation.
Older adults come from the generation before the Internet, where print media prevailed, and magazine subscriptions were common. Gifting you aging parent a magazine related to their interests is a guaranteed way to show you care and have their interests and preferences in mind.
Some specialty interests that have a variety of magazines associated with them include gardening, trains, history, quilting, knitting, travel, architecture, and much more.
For a parent with difficulty reading the small print, it is a good idea to make sure they have reading glasses or a magnifying glass at home – an observation that will not be unappreciated by your mother or father.
A Digital Key Finder
This is an ideal gift for those who frequently misplace their keys. Most include four receivers, a transmitter, and key rings. They have a range of around 100 feet and penetrate through walls, cushions, and doors. Loud beeping or a flashlight lead you to the lost key.
A lap desk is a perfect gift for the busy aging parent. Lap desks are versatile and can be used while seated in a chair, on the couch, on an airplane, and so much more.
Lap desks can be used for knitting, quilting, eating, knitting, and much more. Many older adults use them for reading on their iPad or laptop computer as well.
Be sure to select a lap desk in colors and patterns your parent will enjoy, and one that is easily washable so it may be enjoyed for years.
The Gift of a Clean Home
One of the greatest and most underrated gifts of all time is the gift of cleanliness.
While most older adults are perfectly capable of caring for their own home, many lack the desire to spend hours a week dusting, vacuuming, and tidying up.
For some, a subscription to a home cleaning service is the gift they would never dream of asking for but would be completely delighted to receive. Freeing up hours of time to devote to more enjoyable pursuits, this gift is perhaps the greatest gift of all: the gift of time.
A robotic home vacuum cleaner or mopping system such as a Roomba achieves a similar outcome and would be very much appreciated by a parent who is not intimidated by technology.
Both family members and caregivers for seniors can follow this guide to select a gift that is fun and enjoyable for an older adult. No matter what gift you choose to give, the thought and consideration that went into its selection will surely not go unappreciated.