Buying gifts for older citizens
Some creative ideas
Don't be fooled by thinking seniors are less interested in receiving gifts than those of more tender years. Despite what they might say to the contrary, older people still love getting gifts especially if a little thought has gone into the choice. And seniors will be impressed if you've taken the time to choose wisely. Something relevant to their lifestyle will mean much more than an expensive purchase which has little to do with their current situation.
Keep an ear and an eye open through the year to pick up clues to a good choice of gift. Taking an older person window-shopping or for a walk through a mall will often see them gravitate to a display of items. Make a mental note of comments they make or items they admire. A walk through a hardware shop or garden centre will often yield ideas for a gift at a later date.
Seniors who engage in hobbies and pastimes sometimes find their activities curtailed somewhat as they get older. Avid gardeners who find their gardening activities increasingly limited as they age
may appreciate an indoor plant, air plant or pot plant. Other suggestions are a garden kneeler, small size implements for indoor gardening or an easy-grip trowel and fork.
Readers may like a large print book or a subscription to a favourite magazine. Large print books of puzzles, crosswords and Sudoku are available for those who enjoy such things. Carpet bowls, large size playing cards, or a short course on a favourite topic such as computer skills, drawing, photography or art lessons.
If you are computer literate it is not difficult to produce a calendar or book of photos that are relevant to an older person. This is an excellent option for people in nursing homes where space and storage are very limited. Visitors will find such a gift a great conversation piece and the senior will enjoy reminiscing about the people and places represented in the book.
Vouchers are another gift which may appeal. Offer to accompany the recipient when they go to choose their gift and buy them a coffee on the way.
If your senior is into computers, there are numerous programs which can be used to create jigsaws, crosswords and other games. Install icons for their favourite websites on the desktop so they can be accessed easily.
When all is said and done, time spent with the elderly is probably the most important gift you can give. Offer to spend a half-day helping in the garden, helping with maintenance or simply looking through a coin collection while listening to the stories such activities will invoke. Remember the aim is 'helping', not taking over. An outing to a Mall, eating place or park need not be expensive but can a shared time of pleasure. Take a picnic and a well-behaved dog - or child!
Hampers filled with personally chosen items (and maybe some home-made items such as biscuits or jam) can be much cheaper and mean much more to seniors than a hamper purchased from a store. Note paper, envelopes and stamps make it easy for an older person to keep in touch with family and friends.
If you don't live near enough to visit, a commitment (to yourself) to email or write on a regular basis, would mean a lot to a perhaps lonely person living some distance away. Older people are generous and don't expect earth-shattering news with each letter or email. The anticipation will be half the pleasure which is why you need to commit to this 'gift' should you decide on it. Your senior will be happy sharing in the small joys and tribulations of your everyday life.