Every year Oprah Winfrey announces a list of her favorite things for the holidays. Usually, the items on the list are beautiful super-expensive items that make us all think that we need these things too!
In fact, this year’s list has 107 items! Do we really need all of this stuff and would our lives really be better if we had them all? I think the biggest winner in Oprah’s Favorite Thing list is Amazon.com — everything can be ordered with a few simple clicks on your Amazon account.
If you’re anything like me, this list doesn’t impress me. To be honest, I am too frugal and too practical to spend $180 on popcorn and so are many of my friends and family.
Many of my clients are older and don’t really need or want what’s on this favorite things list. But I will tell you, as an adult child of an 88-year-old mother, I am often searching for ideas of what to give my mom for Christmas.
So, after a little of my own research, I have come up with my own list of favorite things you should consider giving this holiday season to a senior member of your family.
Here are my favorite gift ideas for your aging loved ones:
Automatic Pill Organizer– I’ve been using an automatic pill dispenser (GMS Med-e-lert) for my mom for the last 3 years. It holds up to 28 days of medications and you have the ability to program up to 6 alarm reminders a day. This is a perfect gift for someone in the early stages of dementia. If you have a caregiver in the home helping your parents this serves as a helpful reminder for them as well.
Memorializing Family Experiences– Any gathering with family is a great time to make memories. It doesn’t have to be something fancy or expensive to make it memorable. Considering hiring a photographer for an hour at a time when you’re having a special meal brought to the house, eating out with family members, or going on a special family outing.
Gift Cards For Hair Styling or Spa Services – Sending your elderly family member to get their hair washed, cut, and styled is a treat for most aging seniors. If you think they’d enjoy it, purchase a pedicure or manicure service for them. Most salons and spas have gift cards that make great gifts!
Grocery Delivery – One of the biggest challenges for seniors still living at home is getting their weekly groceries. I would often take my mom grocery shopping when she gave up driving and I was amazed at the number of seniors that were struggling to load up their cars in the parking lot. Choosing a home delivery service such as Peapod is a great gift idea. If your parents aren’t able to use a computer to order you could handle that for them from your own computer.
Photo Calendars – Most seniors still like using a wall calendar. Consider making them a personalized photo calendars through Shutterfly or your local CVS or Walgreens photo center for same day service.
Prepaid Newspaper Subscription – Getting a daily newspaper is still important to many seniors so this is an easy gift! Go ahead and prepay for a newspaper subscription for your loved one.
Your Time – You may have heard of the author Rick Warren? He has a famous quote which states the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. If you really want to have your loved one’s face light up, give them the gift of your time. Something as simple as spending time having lunch or coffee can break up their daily routine and let them know that they are cherished and valued.
Take it from me, as a healthcare advocate I work with a lot of clients with aging family members, and see first hand what’s needed to help care for the elderly. That’s why I came up with my favorite gift ideas!
Keep in mind as you plan your gift giving for the older members of your family, that it’s not the cost or the size of the gift that matters. It’s the thought that counts. Bringing a small gift, some homemade cookies, and spending time visiting is more valuable than any gift on the favorite things list.