The Best Holiday Gifts for Aging Parents

best holiday gifts for seniors

Have your parents expressed a desire to live in their own home well into the future? According to AARP, 90% of those over the age of 65 want to continue living in their own homes as they progress through their golden years. But that can become a challenge if they don’t have the proper supports in place.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your senior parent is the opportunity to stay at home as long as possible. To that end, consider holiday gifts that can keep them healthy, happy, and secure in their own space. Here are the best holiday gift ideas for aging parents.

An Appointment with an Aging in Place Specialist

Gifting your parents with an appointment with an aging in place specialist can provide them with a wealth of ideas and a firm plan on how to create a safer home. Contrary to popular belief, an aging in place specialist is not just for those who want to make major renovations. These professionals are also for those who are on limited budgets – they can help your parents work within their budget to find the home safety solutions that work for them.

As an added bonus for you, a specialist might be able to convince reluctant parents that aging in place solutions can help them stay independent for longer. This means they might be willing to meet you halfway when you suggest getting them anything from a medical alert device to a set of grab bars for the bathroom!

The National Association of Home Builders has a great checklist that can give you some great ideas for aging in place home modifications.

Medical Alert Technology

Speaking of things that allow a person to remain independent for longer, a medical alert pendant can help ensure that your elderly parent has access to help with the push of a button. This can mean incredible peace of mind for everyone, including you. Gifting them with a medical alarm gives them the opportunity to feel more confident in their day-to-day lives, as they know that if anything happens that requires immediate help from police, fire, ambulance, family, friends, or neighbors, help will be sent immediately. They might also like knowing that a friendly voice is there, day or night, no matter what the situation, to provide whatever type of assistance is needed.

If they prefer something sportier, Alert1’s attractive medical alert watch is a fantastic alternative. It has a built-in pedometer to help them keep up with fitness goals as well as GPS location to ensure the safety of that active, elderly parent who loves to be out and about.

Gifts of Comfort and Safety

Gateways to more independence can be small items or kind gestures that help your parents feel deeply loved – as well as safe, warm, and healthy! Here are some great options.

·         Cozy slippers with good traction. Though non-skid flooring is the best way to go, socks or slippers with a nice grip on the bottom can provide fall protection for your parents.

·         Weighted blankets. These blankets have become popular ways to alleviate anxiety. Even if your parent doesn’t suffer from anxiety, the feeling of distributed weight on top of them can ease them into sleep much faster. The more sleep they get, the less likely they will be to fall down[1].

·         Heated blankets. These blankets can turn the bed into a toasty warm oasis, can contour to your parents’ back as they sit in a chair, and can even be wrapped around them for a full-body warmth experience. These blankets are much like heating pads, only larger.

·         Connected smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Though it’s a great idea to have a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm in the house, using a connected set of these life-saving alarms can make an enormous difference in your parents’ odds of getting out of a desperate situation. When one alarm goes off, all of them go off – so your parents sleeping on the second story of the home can immediately be alerted to a fire starting on the other side of the bottom floor. This is especially important if your parents have difficulties hearing.

·         Compression socks. These socks are great for helping alleviate the discomfort of swelling in the legs and can keep the blood flowing properly, thus reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis or stroke. Compression socks come in a variety of types, styles, and colors. Experiment with the level of compression your parents might need to make them most comfortable.

Mobility Aids to Help Them Get Around

If your elderly parent has some trouble getting around, they aren’t alone. About 25% of seniors have difficulty with mobility and as a result, they need a cane or other assistive device[2]. Here are some ways to help your parent stay safe and mobile at home and on the go.

·         A new cane or walker. Do they need one and have been hesitant to buy it? Do they already have one, but they use it so regularly that it is obviously on its last legs? Buying them a new and upgraded model can enhance their safety.

·         A walker bag. There are few things more annoying that not “having enough hands” when you want to carry things to another room. Make this easier for your parents by investing in a bag that fits over the handles of their walker and allows them to carry whatever they want without juggling the walker and their items, which will decrease their fall risk.

·         Vehicle support grab bar. These portable bars fit easily into the door striker or latch with no modifications required. It provides an extra handle for sturdy help in rising from a sitting position. The grab bar can also help a person ease down into the seat. This is great for parents who are always on the go.

·         Small travel scooter. When your beloved senior wants to get out in public but knows that their mobility will make it tough, a scooter might be the answer. This wonderful ride-on machine can help them stay more independent and enjoy shopping, museums, movies, and so much more.

·         Uber or Lyft gift cards. If they have trouble driving themselves to the doctor or other appointments and you can’t be there to help them, turn to ridesharing. Gift cards for the more popular options in your area can help your parents get around as much as they like.

Medication Reminder, Organizer, and Dispenser

As your parents get older, they are more likely to develop chronic conditions – 78% of individuals over the age of 55 have at least one chronic condition, and that number rises to 85% when someone reaches the age of 65 or older[3].

These conditions often require medication to keep them under control. But as those medications add up, it can become confusing to take them all on time, every time. That’s why a good system of organizing and dispensing medications is a good idea. You can also opt for a system that reminds them of when it’s time to take a certain medication. Alert1 offers a helpful medication reminder, dispenser, and organizer for those who want to stay safe by ensuring that they take their medications on time, every time.

Easy to Use Items Around the Home

Sometimes it truly is the little things that count. These are some of the best things you can get for your elderly parent. They help them live more independently and as an added bonus, these options are quite affordable, with some of them clocking in at well under $20.

·         Utensils designed for arthritic hands. Look for utensils with larger handles or those that are easier to use for cooking and serving.

·         “Reacher” tools. This tool is commonly used to pick up trash on roadsides but it can be repurposed by your elderly parents to reach items on a high shelf and avoid using a stepstool, or used to reach for things they drop, such as the remote.

·         Electric jar opener. These openers can work with any size jar and require no effort at all. So the next time you hear your parents struggling with opening up that peanut butter jar, it’s time to get some help with that.

·         One-touch can opener. Just as with the jar opener, this makes life much easier. Simply attach the can to the opener, push a button, and watch it slowly turn the can while slicing off the lid. It’s great for those with limited arm or hand strength.

·         Electric toothbrush. For those who have trouble with hand mobility, an electric toothbrush can work wonders to keep them less tired and ensure they get their teeth as clean as possible.

·         Motion-sensing lights. Life can be easier for your elderly parent if they don’t have to fumble for the light switch at night. Motion sensors in the lights can illuminate the room or hallway the moment your parents steps inside. That can also help with fall prevention, as a well-lighted way can help guard against falls.

·         Adaptive clothing. If your parent is having trouble getting dressed thanks to illness or injury, adaptive clothing – such as that with Velcro closures and elastic bands – can help them stay more independent. Look into what their mobility problems actually prevent. For instance, maybe your mother can easily pull on a pair of pants or a skirt, but she can’t readily work the tiny hooks or small buttons. In that case, look for clothing that uses large buttons or snaps instead.

Alert1 wishes you and all those you hold dear a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season! Happy gifting!