Best Holiday Gifts for Parents in Assisted Living

Nov 19, 2019
a senior woman exchanging a christmas gift with her adult son

As the holidays approach, it’s time again to make a list and check it twice to be sure you choose the best gift for your senior in assisted living. From the practical to top tech to just for fun, here are some great ideas for gifting.

Everyday helps

Heated throw blanket – It’s cold and getting colder so having a cozy warm throw for the chair or couch will make a big difference in your loved one’s comfort.

Large-print digital clock – One of the first memory challenges is time. From time of day, to day of the week and date, it’s easy for the elderly to lose track. A brightly lit, large-print clock is an easy and convenient way to help them keep appointments, remember to call or just get to dinner on time.

Top tech

Android tablet or iPad® – It’s a well-known fact that playing games and doing puzzles is a great way to keep the mind active, and for seniors, a tablet or iPad® is the perfect platform. Many can also be synched to a digital assistant and devices like doorbells. And don’t forget how much better it is to have video visits rather than just a phone call.  A new take on the tablet is the GrandPad®, that allows calling, streaming and browsing, as well as email, web surfing, weather, and more, all designed to be senior friendly.

Tablet stand – If a tablet is on your list, don’t forget to include a stand that will help your senior make the most of their new technology. The options are many from floor stands, to desk/table/counter top to lap stands.

Digital assistants ­– Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri are the top three and getting better every day, so now might be a good time to introduce one to your senior. Turning on and off lights, listening to a favorite radio station, getting fast facts, hearing email read, and keeping a calendar are just a few of the things digital assistants can do. Not only are they handy and helpful, they can lend their human-like presence to make a lonely day a little brighter. Be sure to review which is most compatible with your senior’s other technology.

Digital photo frames – One of the best ways to help your senior enjoy all your selfies, vacation photos and new baby pictures is to put them on a digital photo frame. These little marvels can receive photos from a flash drive, USB drive or SD card, directly from your social media accounts, or via email, depending on the model you choose. Some even work with digital assistants and let you shuffle photos.

Item locator – If your senior is prone to losing things like keys, phones or other personal items, a Bluetooth tracker could be a life saver. These tiny but powerful trackers keep tabs on everything you attach one to and use GPS to locate lost or forgotten items.

Readers delight

E-Readers – For many seniors, reading is a joy until it becomes difficult due to failing eyesight. But an e-reader can make reading wonderful again because the user can increase type size, change fonts and brighten the light to optimize their enjoyment. Another nice thing about e-readers is when reading in bed, there’s no need for a bedside lamp; the e-reader will simply turn off and save the page automatically when the reader falls asleep and no activity occurs. Other assets include running apps, high-resolution displays, great battery life, and more.

Lamps – If your loved one prefers good old-fashioned paper books the right lighting can make a world of difference. Now available with settings for color temperature, brightness and positioning, modern reading lamps are also wonderful gifts for knitters and those who have hobbies that require good lighting.

Magnifying lamps ­– Also helpful for book lovers with failing eyesight are magnifying lamps that are available in different shapes and sizes, as well as a range of light intensities and magnification values.

To their health

Cool mist humidifier – With winter comes dryness but it’s easy to keep room humidity at a healthy level with an easy to operate (and fill) cool mist humidifier. The latest models are quiet, clean and digital, which makes them too good to live without.

Heated Shiatsu pillow massager – Neck, back and shoulder pain can slow anyone down, but for seniors it can be debilitating. When a little soreness sets in, a Shiatsu massager can bring relief and help them retain the quality of life they deserve.

SAD lights – Seasonal affective disorder can strike anyone in any season, but in Michigan, the dark days of winter are often to blame. One way to help your senior avoid SAD is with light therapy via a special lamp that mimics the benefits of natural sunshine. Best of all, they need do nothing but sit near it and let it work its magic!

Adaptive clothing – Changes in health status and physical abilities often require changes in clothing as well. If your senior can no longer button a shirt or need clothes that are wheelchair compatible, it’s time to make their clothing work for them. Adaptive clothing offers Velcro and magnetic closures, fabrics that don’t chaff fragile skin, and other innovations that help seniors get dressed, and stay dressed in comfort.

Robotic pets – One of the best ways to combat loneliness is to introduce a pet into someone’s life. But in assisted living, that’s not an option … unless that pet is a fuzzy, furry little robot. All the love and cuddling, but no hair to vacuum, no feeding and no you-know-what to deal with. Give comfort and joy to your loved one with a robotic pet they will always treasure.

 Just for fun

Flameless candles – During the holidays and all year round, candles can be a wonderful way to turn any room into a special place. You can even “light” some with a remote control and time them to come on automatically as the sun goes down!

Bird feeder – Bird lovers can enjoy winter from indoors with a birdfeeder placed in an easy-to-view spot. From bright red cardinals to the ubiquitous sparrows, a busy feeder can be better than a movie for entertainment. And if squirrels are a problem, there is nothing that compares with the Squirrel Buster bird feeder which will not only thwart squirrels, but provide hours of laughs watching them try to find a way in to the seeds.

Monthly cut flowers – If you want your senior’s holiday gift to last all year, consider a monthly delivery of flowers. Men and women alike will enjoy the scent of fresh blooms as well as the beauty they will bring to their rooms. And every time you call or visit, you will get a thank you that will warm your heart too!

As you shop, keep in mind that the one gift only you can give is your attention. Especially during the holidays, staying in touch and including your senior in the festivities will be the greatest gift of all.

If you have questions about short- or long-term care for a loved one call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.

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