It is often difficult to come up with gift ideas for elderly parents who have accumulated many possessions over the years and are more keen on getting rid of stuff than accumulating more. What do you give to those who think they have all they need or want?
Stay ‘in the loop’
My elderly mother has a computer but finds anything more than basic emailing overwhelming – and she is one of the few in her retirement village who even owns a computer. The elderly can easily become depressed or anxious, especially when they feel isolated and ‘out of the loop’. I’ve seen this happen at times to my mother as all three of my siblings and their children live in other countries. She wants up to date photos of her grandchildren but she can’t print them out. She also finds social media upsetting and confusing.
The Presto Printing Mailbox, an email printing service, is great for the elderly who do not have or want to use computers. It is plugged into a phone outlet (it has to be an analog line) and automatically retrieves messages via the phone line and prints them out as easy-to-read e-letters with any photos or other attachments.
The account can be managed by a relative who sets up a list of email addresses that are allowed to send email to the Presto account, thus eliminating spam and phishing emails. Installation involves plugging in the phone line and power cord, installing the cartridge and putting in the paper. The receiver does not have to learn how to do anything as the sender simply sends the email, photos and other documents to the Presto-provided email address and it prints out automatically.
The costs involved are purchasing the HP Printing Mailbox and paying a monthly subscription. The only other expenses are replacing the paper and the printer cartridge.
Family and friends can send their parents not only emails with photos but interesting articles and even crossword puzzles. This can make a huge difference in the life of a computer-challenged elderly person.
Arthritis makes limited mobility in the hands a common complaint of old age. A touch on, touch off lamp is easier to use than having to search for a switch to operate a lamp.
The LumiSource touch lamp can be turned on by simply touching anywhere on its metal body. Touch it again to adjust brightness from low to medium to high. The cone-shaped shade of frosted glass help to diffuse the light and direct it downward. This lamp can be used on a bedside table, in a study or a living room. It’s not just practical but more elegant than many of the other lamps of this kind.
A portable induction cooktop is a practical gift for an older person. Induction cooking is very safe as there is no direct heating of the surface. When a piece of magnetic material, such as a cast-iron skillet, is placed in the magnetic field generated by the element, the field transfers energy into that metal. The transferred energy causes the cooking pot to become hot. As soon as the cookware is removed, the molecular activity stops and the surface cools rapidly. As it heats up and cools faster than traditional gas or electric cookers, it is more energy efficient.
The cooktop can be plugged into any standard household outlet and in situations in which a hotplate could be dangerous, an induction plate is a much safer and more sophisticated option. Spilled food does not burn as only the pot gets hot so it is easy to clean. A good induction cooktop offers a range of cooking temperatures and can be easily programmed. It also includes an automatic shutoff function when cooking is completed, a real advantage for an elderly person whose memory may not be as good as it used to be.
Relieve aching muscles
An electric pillow massager is a great gift for someone who experiences aches and pains on a daily basis. The Shiatsu massager has four deep-kneading nodes that will work on knots, aches and muscle tension. A heating function gives further relief, enhancing blood circulation.
The ergonomic design of this massager means it contours perfectly around lower and upper-back, neck, abdomen, thigh and calf areas. Adjustable straps allow it to be strapped to a favourite chair or even a car seat. All the user has to do is sit back, switch it on and enjoy the relief it brings. The pillow massager is sturdy and powerful but lightweight and sleek too. When used regularly, it can really loosen up stiff muscles.
The device is equipped with an overheat protection device and programmed with 20-minute auto shut-off. Neither your elderly parent or the device itself will suffer harm from overheating.
Find those keys
The Keyringer Key Finder is an excellent and reasonably priced gift idea – and not just for elderly grandparents! This product is great for locating keys that are hidden in plain sight such as under a couch cushion or under a car seat.
The key finder comes complete with lithium batteries, key chain links, and double-sided adhesive strips. The battery usually lasts as long as 18 months and is easy to replace. When the battery is low, the KeyRinger will beep and flash. It is a very durable product, made of the same material used in bullet-proof windows. It also has a corrosion resistant gold plated circuit board.
Two KeyRingers are included and they are ready to use right out of the package – no setup or programming required. There is also a full 90 day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee and a two year warranty.
Simple Homemade Gifts
If your budget does not stretch as far as giving one of the above gifts, never underestimate the ability of homemade gifts to gladden the heart of an elderly person. Quite often it’s not about the gift at all but the sentiment that matters. Even a tin of homemade cookies or a wicker basket filled with snacks is often much appreciated. Here are some other simple, cost-effective ideas that can bring joy:
- A framed print of a grandchild’s artwork
- Knitted gloves and a scarf
- Bottle of homemade jam
- Custom gift basket filled with lotions and other beauty care products or gourmet snacks
- A cozy blanket or throw
Do you have any great gift ideas for elderly parents? Share your comments below.