If your parent, grandparent, or older aunt or uncle lives in an assisted living community like Wedgewood Estates, it can be difficult to decide what to buy for a holiday gift. Your relative has entered a new phase of life; his or her living space is limited, and both physical and cognitive abilities might be impaired. Consider some of these gift ideas as the holiday season approaches.
Items to Keep Your Relative Warm and Cozy
A common refrain among the elderly is that they feel chilly when their younger relatives are comfortably warm. This can be due to the normal process of aging or in response to a health problem. Regardless of the reason, feeling cold is uncomfortable and can make your family member feel terrible during the cold winter months.
Thick socks, a soft sweater or a new blanket can help warm up your relative and brighten his or her spirits. Flavored tea or gourmet coffee is another warming gift. You could also buy or make a rice bag; these can be heated in the microwave and used to warm cold backs, hands or feet. If you are considering a rice bag, ask a nurse at the care facility to be sure that it's appropriate for your relative; those with poor circulation, diabetes or other issues might not be able to use them safely.
Electronics (and Lessons on How to Use Them)
If your older relative does not have access to a computer, a laptop or tablet might make the perfect gift. Many senior citizens today know how to use these electronics to access their email, but might need some help to learn more about the Internet. Show your family member how to use social media if he or she is interested. You might be able to find a web forum that can provide social interaction. He or she might appreciate being able to read favorite books or magazines online.
Something to Engage the Hands
As your family member's physical abilities decline, they might have the urge to do something with their hands. Knitting, crocheting and sewing may be too difficult now that arthritis and poor eyesight has taken hold. You can purchase knitting needles and crochet hooks that are designed for those with poor dexterity. If your relative has enjoyed these hobbies in the past but finds them too difficult now, these special tools can make an excellent gift. A Rubik's cube, soft clay, or art supplies like chalk or markers can also make well-appreciated gifts for older relatives who want and need to move their hands.
Talk to the nurses and nurses' aides at your family member's care facility to find out what other types of gifts would be appreciated by and appropriate for your loved one. These professionals will understand the limitations and strengths of your relative and will probably have a few good suggestions.