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Holiday Gift Ideas for Aging Loved Ones

happy senior male sitting in chair in front of christmas tree holding up christmas giftDear Gayla,

It’s about that time of year again and siblings and I are at a loss as to what we can get my mother for the holidays. She is starting to show signs of memory loss and is not able to get around as much. What are some thoughtful gift-giving ideas that can spur the creative juices?

-Helen in Holland

Hi Helen,

Thank you for reaching out. After decades of giving gifts to parents, the well of inspiration can easily run dry. While mom is not as spry as she used to be, she would love a considerate gift from the family.

Bring Back Positive Memories

You mentioned that she is experiencing some issues with memory. This is typical with aging seniors. Gifts involving events and people from her past would be a kind gift that might spur her recall. Have your family compile a memory book or photo album. This will be a wonderful way for you to bond while creating the gift and when sharing stories once the gift is given.

Simple Gift Ideas

A blanket or throw can be thoughtful, as aging adults often experience a chill as the weather cools down. Create or have a blanket made in her favorite colors or use a family photo and have one custom-designed with the image of the family included on it.

Customizable Gift Ideas

How about ordering or creating a custom gift basket? Items like lotions, soaps, food items and sweets are all options to consider. Small children can make gifts like pictures, painted mugs and crafts to add in. She will love to unwrap and indulge for days after receipt.

Social Connectivity

Keep mom connected with technology. Tablets and iPads now have large print in an easy-to-use touch-screen format. Aging adults can stay connected on social media, read their favorite books and magazines, watch movies and play games with others using the device. It is a great tool to stay mentally active and socially engaged while indoors.

Give mom a reason to dress up. A dinner at a nice restaurant will give her something to look forward to. Take mom out for a nice dinner for a change of environment. She can enjoy an excellent meal and connect with loved ones.

The Best Gift You Can Give

Aging parents can get lonely. Days can seem long when living by oneself. Your presence can be the best gift that you can give. A Resthaven resident loves socializing with friends and family, and after a recent visit said, “It was so nice just to experience a surprise visit by friends and loved ones, and to know I’ve not been forgotten.” The sense of connection, especially during the holiday season, is of primary importance for aging loved ones.

Contact a coordinator at (616) 796-3800 to learn about what you can do to ensure parents enjoy a good quality of life.

-Gayla Hoekwater, Life Enrichment Coordinator

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