Buying a holiday gift for my grandmother this year will be a little bit tougher than normal. She just turned 80 and recently moved to a 1-room assisted living residence with other people her age. This place is all-inclusive-meals, craft time, Tai Chi classes every morning-and we had to help her unload the majority of her belongings before she moved in. It’s much tighter on space than her former home 3-bedroom home, making it difficult to buy her the typical knick-knack for Christmas.
If you have a parent or grandparent living in a nursing or senior residence, you may have your work cut out for you trying to find a meaningful yet practical gift. Refer to this list for some pointers.
1. Electronic handheld game: $10 to $50
If your loved one has a hankering for Scrabble or loves card games, try getting them hooked on a portable handheld game. They are affordable, can offer hours of enjoyment, and can allow seniors to play their favorite game against a computer when other game-playing folks aren’t around.
The variety these days is amazing-Sudoku, Texas Hold ‘Em, Backgammon, Chess, Boggle, Battleship, Bingo, Gin Rummy, and more. There’s even a TV Guide Electronic Crossword game, and handheld Wheel of Fortune to consider.
2. Sugar-free delicacies: $2.95 and up
Many seniors have dietary restrictions that keep them from enjoying sweets around the holidays. Treat your parent or grandparent to a gift assortment of sugar-free treats. You can find some hot cocoa packets, lemon drops, caramels, and throw in some gourmet sugar-free cookies from Cheryl amp; Company or Perfect Coffees.
Add a bag of high protein treats like mixed nuts and a special coffee mug, and you’ve got a gift that any senior would love. Best of all, this won’t sit around in their room collecting dust-they’ll be able to enjoy everything inside, without guilt. And instead of throwing it all into a basket, try something practical like gathering the gifts inside a plush terrycloth robe, or a new bathroom/shower caddy.
3. Family memory book: $20 and up
If your parent or grandparent has moved into a senior living residence, chances are that they’ve had to consolidate or eliminate their mementos from over the years. Framed family photos that once decorated the house have likely been shoved into boxes and bags, never to be seen or appreciated.
You can change that by purchasing a scrapbook kit and archiving your family’s photos in a memory book that can be enjoyed for years to come. Buy bright-colored papers and cheery quote stickers to lift the mood of everyone who looks through it. Not only will your senior appreciate the time and thoughtfulness of a gift like this, but she or he will also be able to use it as a “brag book” to show off their family to others seniors in residence. This project can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like (some scrapbook kits come with pre-made layouts-all you do is insert the photos), but it is sure to be appreciated.
And the Runners-up are . . .
4. Ancestry poem or story: free
Using your creative juices, write a poem about your family or type up a letter or story. The holidays are a perfect time to express heartfelt sentiment that your loved ones will enjoy for years to come. And if you cannot come up with something then take help from some thesis writing service or Poem writing agency.
5. Professional massage: $50 and up for 1-hour session
It’s a proven fact that when people age, they do not receive as much physical touch or affection as they’ve grown accustomed to receiving. Give your senior parent or grandparent the gift of touch in the form of a professional massage to ease the aches and pains of every day.
6. Electric blanket or warming mitts: around $20
Help them beat the winter chill with the cozy comfort of an electric blanket or warming hand mitts that will also help alleviate the pains of arthritis.
7. Specialty bed pillow: $35 and up
This gift is all about comfort. Give your loved one a plush night of sleep with a memory foam, down, or buckwheat pillow. Make sure to get their preference on this one, though, because everyone’s head/neck is different.
8. Herbal sleepy-time aroma: $10 and up
Pair this with the comfy new pillow if you wish. A spritz or dab of herbal oils from Escents can make those long nights go by much quicker for mom, dad, grandma or grandpa.
9. Family-autographed sweatshirt: $15 and up
This one is fun for grandma or grandpa. Get all of the kids/grandkids to sign their names on a warm winter sweatshirt using fabric paint. Gift box this and your loved one will want to show it off to everyone in their residence-guaranteed.
10. Photo roses: $25 and up
This is a truly unique idea. Just Paper Roses is a company that specializes in photo gifts that any grandparent would treasure: a bouquet of roses that won’t wilt, but will stay preserved with family photos on each bud. You have to see it to believe it.