As family members and friends get older, they tend to want less material things as gifts. People have years of accumulated things and are starting to downsize their possessions and living space. This is a guide about gift ideas for seniors.
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We all have someone on our gift list who is hard to shop for because they already have it all, or have limited space, such as someone in a nursing home or assisted living home. Most often, without being too nosy, you usually have an idea of their income as well. Here are a few gift ideas (many can be used year around, not just at Christmas time), of items they will really appreciate, want, use, and that won't take up a lot of space.
For someone on food stamps or a very limited fixed income, this is a real blessing. You might also include in that box a couple of Rubbermaid food storage type containers.
Also add coupons for services they might use, such as washing their car, cleaning their carpets, windows, and mini blinds for them, mowing their lawn, working in the garden, painting, etc. Be creative; just look around and see what needs to be done, that due to finances or physical labor needs to be done and do it for them.
By April from Plattsburg, MO
My sister-cousins and I make gifts bags for the Senior nursing home every Christmas and the seniors love these. We use items from freebies and small items we collect on sale, off-season, or after a holiday. [non-perishable]. We also put coupons for different items we make such as bath oils, soaps, socks, booties, etc. We all feel wonderful for giving and receiving. Don't forget there are also men involved.
By Marilyn from Metairie, LA
I live in Senior Housing/low income housing. I do not have a car nor do a lot of the people that live here. Although we have a marvelous Council On Aging that has a bus for different trips there are still places that we are unable to go.
Today probably the best and most thoughtful present is to promise to run errands, go out for a meal or to take someone for an appointment. I know that everyone is really busy with parents and children, but remember the person who seldom gets out. Anyone can give a gift of a sweater or a robe, but to give of oneself is the best gift of all.
By Irene from Boston
Despite claims that the economy has improved somewhat, it has worsened for those on fixed incomes and on social services. For every penny their traceable income goes up, their services drop by a penny, BUT for every $2-300.00 their income drops, their services (food stamps) only go up by a few dollars. It's not the same calculation allowance both ways. Cash gifts go uncounted unless tied to some traceable source.
These are people already living on the edge and being pushed further off it every day. Have mercy, tell you representatives to use calculations that go both ways, tell them to use lower spenddowns and higher income allowance calculations. Tell them to put a stop to the law that says food stamps (SNAP) cannot take medically necessary diet costs into account in their calculations. Those on such, as many seniors, disabled and limited-income recipients often pay up to FIVE times more for the food they must eat to survive; a fact conveniently ignored by our well-fed officials. AND, tell them to leave COLA alone.
Every January COLA enriches the system rather than those who are awarded them when, for these recipients. So much of it goes back into the system to increased Medicare costs, decreased food stamps (dollar for dollar), higher spenddowns, skewed allowable income calculations, and increased private insurance costs that they end up even further in the hole. A fifteen dollar COLA can put one $25.00 further in the hole, given the systems calculation sleight of hand where what one hand gives the other takes away. Smoke and mirrors obscuring the systemic cheating of those most in need.
For years (going back to when Paul Wellstone was in office), I have written articles and letters and made calls to bring this to the attention of media and to many of our representatives, both State and Federal, about this, only to be ignored in that. This is crucial! Please care enough to demand an end to this most cruel practice and deceit. And, hand them some cash in private, some ones, fives and even some tens and twenties if you can. Trust me, it will be well-spent and so deeply appreciated.
When buying an appliance such as a coffee maker for a senior citizen, make sure it has an automatic shut off in case they forget to turn it off.
By Yarnlady from Pennsylvania
It is not easy to find a gift for elderly friends and relatives. I give them stationary, a ball point pen and stamps.
By Jean Sterling
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Here are questions related to Gift Ideas for Seniors.
My grandpa just lost his wife (my grandma) three months ago. I don't know what to get him for Christmas now. When my grandma was alive I usually got them a gift card to go out to dinner somewhere nice. Any ideas of what to get him would be appreciated. Thank you.
April from Henderson
By Vicki  12/01/2011
Give him the same gift card and make a cute note saying you will be his date when he uses it. He will be thrilled, I imagine.