Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Twenty Gift Ideas for Octogenarians and Other Elderly Family Members

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Merry Christmas! ‘Tis the season to agonize over what to give your 81yo mother who buys everything she wants throughout the year. J Or is that just me?

It’s a simple thing, really. You want to give a gift that demonstrates your love for the recipient, something that is needed and appreciated and valued. It shouldn’t be that hard.

But just in case it is, here are twenty ideas.


Grandparent Talk. One hundred cards on a ring provide questions for the younger generation to ask the older generation. “Grandpa, what kind of pets did you have when you were a child?” “What was your favorite food?” My mother has a set of these, and they have been the catalyst for many great conversations.

Memories for My Grandchild: A Keepsake to Remember (Grandparent's Memory Book). Many memory books lead grandparents through writing prompts and questions to write down the story of their lives. Some include spaces for keepsakes or photos.

Photo blanket. Photo gifts are available through stores like Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club or online through sites like Shutterfly.

Photo mugs. Fill it with candies or their favorite coffee blend.

Photo calendar. See a trend here? Print photos of the little darlings on just about anything, and the grandparents ought to love it.

Music from their era. My mother would love Big Band CDs, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Doris Day.

Movies or TV shows on DVD from their era. Truly, the word era is such a loose term, because my mother would enjoy Ronald Reagan movies or copies of The Carol Burnett Show.

Food gifts. My FIL is diabetic, so we buy the three pound Yard-O-Beef and a brick of Co-Jack cheese from Sam’s Club for him every year. My mother loves chocolate-covered almonds. Of course, a food gift could be presented in a …

Gift basket or pretty tin. Then the basket or tin can be reused.

Aids for a health condition. My mother’s macular degeneration has progressed to the point where she needs a high contrast of white on black, including her watch, her wall clock, her Bible. Maybe your elderly relative needs a new cane or voice-activated software or a large-button telephone.

Vintage items from their childhood or young adult years. My mother remembers wearing dresses made from feed sacks. A unique clothing item or a framed photo might be appreciated.

Time Magazine or newspaper or booklet from their year of birth. These can be found in many catalogs as well as places like the Cracker Barrel store. It can provide many good memories for the recipient as well as a history lesson for your children.

A trip. Around the world or just local. Week-long or day trip. Whatever works for the recipient and your budget. My brother accompanied my mother to California (from Indiana/Illinois) for a three-day weekend and day at the Reagan Ranch. My budget would allow me to pay her expenses for a day at The Creation Museum.

A planter, poinsettia, or amaryllis. Be sure to check in regularly to take care of it.

Framed art from the grandchildren. If your budget is tight, find a frame from the dollar store or a thrift store and slap a fresh coat of paint on it.

Framed family photo. We’ve done this casually when everyone is together and we have a tripod handy. If your budget and time permits, take everyone to a portrait studio, coordinate outfits, make funny faces at each other. J

Framed family photo. If you can’t get everyone together, what about a framed photo of your nuclear family (you, your spouse, and children)? Buy a fancy frame or decorate one yourself.

A chalkboard with encouraging messages or verses. Hand-write a note of encouragement on the chalkboard, then make sure to stop by and change the message from time to time.

A magazine subscription. My mother was a nurse and has always enjoyed science. So one year we got her a subscription to Answers magazine. We bought a couple of back issues at The Creation Museum and wrapped those up so she would have something to open.

A gift card to their favorite restaurant…with the promise you’ll take them there yourself.

Whatever you choose, wrap it in pretty paper and present it with a smile. Which is, in fact, the best gift of all. J






What other suggestions can you add to this list? Help, please! J




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13 comments:

  1. I love these ideas!!! Thank you!!!
    For the "Grandparent Talk" idea, it might be fun to turn on the video camera and record the conversation (and then their answers to the questions can be passed on down the generations. :) )
    One more idea--every year our kids make a DVD for their grandparents. They make silly movies of themselves on their cameras, include photos they've taken through the year, etc. I think our son uses Windows Moviemaker to put it together.
    (PS My favorite president is Reagan. :) )

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    1. Love both video ideas, Christa. Thanks for commenting!

      Have I told the story of how a young Ronald Reagan at Eureka College in Illinois carried my mother as an infant around the radio station as he gave a tour to my grandparents? He went to school with my grandmother's sister. You never know who you might know now that could be well known later. :-)

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    2. Oh, how absolutely cool!!! :) Part of the reason I like Reagan so much is his standing up against communism. My Hungarian grandparents fled Hungary when my Dad was 5 years old, and they know the devastation (both physical and spiritual) that communism has caused in Hungary. So it's emotional to me how Reagan helped to get rid of the oppression and to begin the fall of communism.

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  2. Thank you for this list idea! I am going to post this to my church's facebook group for our nursing home ministry! Blessings!!! Kyle

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    1. I am so glad it was helpful, Kyle! Many Christmas blessings to you, your church, and your nursing home ministry! :-)

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  3. Great ideas...thanks for sharing!

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  4. This is a really great list! I'm totally pinning it and discussing it with my husband to see which of these he wants to give to his grandmother this year. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Gabby, and have a wonderful Christmas! :-)

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  5. These are great ideas---thanks for linking up with my Homemaking Party!

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    1. Thank you, Sarah, for hosting a great link-up! :-)

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  6. Great ideas....and as a member of the older set, at age 62, I can tell you what I would really like to receive.....someone to offer to shampoo my carpets, or rake the leaves in the fall, mow the grass in the summer, wash windows. A give of service is always appreciated by the 'older' folks

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    1. That's a great #21, Paula. Perhaps a book of coupons that could be redeemed for each service? Thanks! :-)

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