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Holiday Gifts For Aging Parents

Are you trying to find that perfect gift for an aging parent? There is not one perfect gift or is there?

 

Aging parent

I mean the truth is parents come in all ages, sizes, and needs. Your aging parent may be 60 years old while my aging parent is 90. There could be a big difference in what they can do. Physical or mental limitations will make a difference in the gift you choose.

Then you also have to take into consideration personal preferences. While your dad loves to play golf, my dad was more of a handyman type. He was always happy doing something with his hands, carving or building. He loved creating something new. But, can he still do these things?

For Mom Or Dad? 

And then it depends on which parent you're talking about, mom or dad? Again, the differences are going to be huge. My mom might love a trip to the salon to get her hair and nails done. But that probably wouldn't appeal to dad or maybe it would.  Furthermore, you are going to buy different types of gifts for someone who has Alzheimer's disease than you would for someone who doesn't.

If someone has Parkinson's disease or arthritis they may have particular needs around their physical limitations. There can be some unique gift ideas that can really help them. Let's take a look at the possibilities for holiday gift giving for your aging parents.

Different Gifts For Different Folks  

So, in this article, we will talk about different types of gifts for different types of people and then we will talk about a universal gift that fits just about every parent out there. It truly does.

The 60s

So, let's say your parents are still in their 60s. They're active, possibly even still work. In this case, you're going to want to look at their interests. By the time people have reached their 60s they usually have a lot of stuff. So, activities fun things to do and new experiences could be on the list.

What do they like to do? 

Do they like going out to restaurants with their friends? If so gift certificates to restaurants would be a great idea. If they're interested in sports or the theater you could also look at tickets to go see their favorite team or play they've been wanting to see. Houston offers a lot of possibilities. Of course, there is the whole Museum and Theater District downtown. The Astros and Texans are very popular. Tickets for these events would be coveted by any sports fan.

But don’t forget the smaller venues. In Sugarland, the Skeeters are quite a hit with the sports crowd. There are also local theaters in neighborhoods that may be closer to home.

For the Adventuresome

Other ideas might be a helicopter tour of the city, a hot air balloon ride, a ride in a glider, a murder mystery dinner or even a Segway tour.

Carol's son gave them a gift certificate for Segway tour. There's a company right here in Houston and they do a wonderful tour of the downtown area. Carol and her husband love history and like to try new things. It was a good fit. Likewise, her friend Janet loves knowing that every year her son and daughter-in-law are going to give them and membership to the Museum District.

 

“It's something we can use all year!” Janet says “We have so much fun.”

 

Think Outside The Box 

There are so many different things that you can do in Houston. And these gifts are not just for people in their 60s. Many people in their 70s 80s and yes even 90s are still very active. As such they might also enjoy some of these gifts. The truth is it is not so much about age as it is about ability.

The 70's and 80's 

Okay, I lumped these two decades together for a reason. Often as people approach their 70s and 80s health problems may creep into their life.  Heart disease, dementia, arthritis and other ailments maybe show up around this time. So here are a few suggestions that may help.

Keep Them Active 

Happy senior couple riding bicycles

It's easy to give up when you're not feeling up to par and forget to take that walk. But the truth of the matter is it's important to stay active. The longer you can keep active the longer you will keep independent.

Gym Membership 

Help your parents stay independent with a gift certificate to a gym or exercise Club. The YMCA offers a lot of programs, especially for seniors. You could even hire a personal trainer to work with them. Make sure you find one who specializes in working with older adults. Of course we always want to stress the importance of talking to your doctor before starting or changing your activity regimen.

Dancing and More! 

Dance classes might be a fun way to get that much-needed exercise. The added benefit will be the socialization that comes with it. Check out Yoga and Tai Chi classes also. But you want to have a feel for what your parents might enjoy. Remember, this is a gift for them, not for you. LOL

senior couple dancing

 

If heart disease is a concern getting more exercise is going to be a big benefit. Studies have shown that people who regularly exercise have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. But it has to be fun for people to continue to do it. Find the right program.

Bring in Some Help 

Hiring a Yard-Man or someone to help around the house could also be a very welcome gift. If they have a pool a pool service would be a nice gift. A lot of people over the age of 60 seem to complain about the upkeep of a home. It’s a lot of work and frankly, they want to spend more time enjoying their life.

No Longer Able To Drive 

If your aging parent is no longer able to drive you may consider Companion Care. SYNERGY HomeCare offers Companion Care to drive Mom and Dad where they need to go. Whether it be the doctors, grocery shopping or just to visit friends. Being stuck at home alone with no one to help and waiting for a ride somewhere is no fun.

Staying Independent 

Schedule a SYNERGY HomeCare caregiver to visit in a couple of times a week. It will make mom or dad feel independent again. Instead of having to ask you to take them somewhere or pick up something at the store they will be able to do it themselves. They can schedule a SYNERGY Companion for the days they make their appointments. This will give them a sense of control.

Furthermore, a companion caregiver can offer a lot more benefits than just driving or running errands for your aging parent. If cooking has become a big chore for mom, let a companion caregiver take over that job.

Arthritis Can Make Everyday Tasks More Difficult

Arthritis

A Paraffin Wax bath can be a welcome gift for anyone experiencing a lot of pain in their hands and feet. While it will not cure arthritis, people report temporary relief from pain. Sue gave her mother one last Christmas.

“She loves it!" said Sue, "Every night she soaks her hands in the wax bath. She says it is instant relief!”

 

Anything that will keep the joints warm will be a welcome gift. Gloves, socks, slippers, a heated mattress pad or some lightweight insulated undergarments. The Arthritis Foundation recommends a pair of Arthritis Gloves. These gloves offer mild compression for warmth. They help to increase circulation which in turn can reduce pain. These gloves also have open fingertips this allows you the freedom to feel touch grip and do anything you normally do with ease. The same company that creates these gloves also has an arthritic knee sleeve and also one for the elbow.

What About The Parent With Dementia? 

Of course, it will depend on what stage of dementia your parent is in. In the beginning stages, things like exercise classes, massage therapy, and music would all be welcome gifts. Also, additional help around the house would definitely be appreciated.

In these earlier stages, you might purchase classic movies and television shows that bring back memories. Activity books or coloring books are very popular and appropriate at this stage and in the mid age. A memorable photo album is always a good gift.

Technology Can Be Great To keep Someone Connected 

An iPad can also be helpful. However, you have to worry about security. Someone with dementia can easily forget the rules of safe web browsing.  I would recommend looking into a closed system for someone with dementia. grandPad is one such system. It can be set up easily. And only friends and family can connect. A family member can oversee the system to make sure mom is getting the information she wants. It offers her a safe way to text, email, share photos and even video chat with friends and family.

Mid-Stage Gifts For Someone With Dementia 

Any of the above gifts again are appropriate.  Also, any simple craft activities that inspire reminiscing. You could create a memory box.

An automatic medication dispenser is a must for this stage. Taking medications at the right time and in the right amount is crucial to managing this disease. Seniors often take multiple medications. It can easily get confusing.

Late-Stage Dementia Gifts 

When someone is in the later stages of dementia be very confusing for the family. They're not really sure what to buy someone in this stage. Think the sensory stimulating gifts. A nice fluffy bathrobe or soft blanket in a favorite color. Purchase clothes that are comfortable and easy to put on. Shoes with Velcro ties or sweat suits that can easily be slipped in and out of make good gifts. Special food items may be appreciated, especially if it is a recipe from the past.

“Mom used to make her mother’s praline recipe every year for Christmas. I decided to make it this year. What a hit! Mom talked all day long about how she and her mother made pralines like these, every year together. She was so excited and I could see it brought back a flood of good memories!” Sharon

 

The Universal Gift All Parents Love 

The number one gift that any parent at any stage with any disease will love is your time. And while that may seem a bit trite to you, any parent will tell you that's what they really want. So somehow figure out a way to give the gift of time not just on Christmas day but throughout the year. Even if your parent has a disease like dementia and doesn't seem to know who you are they will feel and know your presence. It will make a difference.

Chad Jolley

As the owner of SYNERGY HomeCare of Houston and as a son trying disparately to find help for his parents, Mr. Jolley has worked within the senior healthcare field for over a decade. Beginning his work overseeing the care of his father who became critically ill following a stroke in 2004, he has continued to develop his expertise by aiding seniors, adult disabled and veterans in their search for truly compassionate and dependable care through SYNERGY HomeCare. Mr. Jolley received his designation as a Certified Senior Adviser in 2007 and continues to use his years of knowledge and experience to help other families find the care and peace of mind they need.

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