Nov 27, 2019
by Zoë Tummillo, Communications Concepts
While every situation has its own personal considerations, there are factors that can probably apply across the board for most of us – the givers and the recipients!
It might seem a simple thing to select a gift for an elder, but it’s probably a good idea to pause and have some second thoughts before you buy something special.
Consider some of the typical “adjustments” that many elders must make as years advance. Smaller living quarters, fewer furnishings, and appliances such as canes, walkers and wheelchairs are just a few. Downsizing, as age advances, presents some limitations we might not prefer; but if we are reasonable and realistic, we will try to gracefully adjust. The curio cabinet and other non-essentials might have to go.
Knick-knacks and collections must often be tucked away in storage for the grands to enjoy later. With furnishings reduced, there might not be a place for just one more lovely. An elder with limited mobility who doesn’t get out and about as much, might not really need new outfit accessories. There are new living patterns and new needs to consider. You want your gift to be pleasing, relevant, useful and welcome, of course! So, be a good observer.
The most frequent criticism I have heard when it comes to “gifts received by an old person” is the one about thoughtfulness and appreciation vs what-to-do-with-it...
And that’s a two way street! There may be something that would really please an older person on your list, but you just don’t know what it is. On the other hand, elders can feel that family and friends already do so much for them, that they hesitate to ask for something else they really want or need. Breaking down that simple communication barrier can help!
Include you in the gift!
Consider some easy, thoughtful possibilities. One special and successful key to presents for old people is to include you in the gift! When mobility is limited, an escorted outing can be a wonderful gift! A day doing the museums or art galleries may be sorely missed by an elder who can no longer easily venture out alone. Is your special old person a book lover? How about a gift certificate and trip together to a favorite local bookstore – many seniors still prefer bound books to electronics.
Framing a favorite photo that evokes good memories can hardly fail to please – and doesn’t require a lot of space! A drive to a favorite area, and a meal away from the routine fare can mean a lot. A bouquet of flowers delivered to their door is always a winner. A Labor of Love is a great gift! Offer a day or weekend doing a chore list for that elder you love – they will welcome the help! How about the gift of an outing to their favorite local shops – to do their gift shopping?
As an elder, it can be tough to receive something you simply have no space for – be it closet space or curio shelf - or something you probably will never use. Presents for old people – presents that please – are presents that fit their situation, and that don’t negatively impact their specific environment’s limitations. It’s really easy to make choices that are sympathetic, thoughtful and simple!
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