• Aging Well Denver

Stumped On Gifts This Year? We Have You Covered

The question we ask ourselves every year is "What do you get the person who has everything, or better yet, doesn't need anything?" The trouble is that it doesn't just end with the holiday season. There are birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions that happen all throughout the year. But what do you do when the person you're giving to is also living in a small space like an assisted living facility or in a care situation with another family member? Large gifts or gifts that require too much action or space may not be your best bet.

We have put together a list of items and tips to help you give the perfect gift for any occasion this year.

1. If you have a senior in your life that loves to tell stories about their past, give them the gift of their own memoir. StoryWorth is a subscription service that sends your loved one a writing prompt every week for a year about their life. After finishing all 52 prompts, their stories will be bound into a beautiful book for the whole family to cherish for years to come. If you are concerned about your loved ones ability to type or use a computer you can purchase a transcription package which will allow them to simply say their stories aloud over the phone and have them typed by a member of the StoryWorth team.

2. Is your loved one a person who is always researching or reading books about history, or business? Here in Denver, there is a program called Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) through the University of Denver that allows anyone over the age of 50 to participate in unlimited seminars, lunch and learns, and higher education courses that they choose over the course of a semester for just $130. They have locations all over Denver so there is no feelings of intimidation walking back onto a college campus. There are also scholarships available for those who can not afford the semesters costs.

3. Movie theater gift cards are a great gift for the film buff in your life. This gift can span all age groups and is a great way to encourage your loved one to get out with a friend or family member that they otherwise may not see very often. Who doesn't like a free movie and popcorn?

4. Set them up with an audiobook subscription or help them connect their smartphone to the Denver Public Library. There are many ways to listen to listen to audiobooks on your phone or computer but something like an Audible.com subscription could allow them to listen to books they had been hoping to get their hands on. This is particularly great for people who have a hard time seeing as well as they once did or for people with memory issues that are comforted or interested in listening to stories. The Denver public library allows streaming of audiobooks through an app on your smartphone called Libby, by Overdrive using your library card. So you can even share the love of books for free!

5. There is no replacement for time spent. Take your loved one to a museum, for a day trip to a national park, a nice meal in or out or do something fun like a painting class. The best part will be your company but depending on their situation they may not get out to do things like that very often.

6. Ask them if there is someone they would like to visit. Perhaps they have a friend in the hospital or at an assisted living facility that they aren't able to get to very often. It may be as simple as dropping them off for lunch with a friend or a few hours just to visit.

When planning gifts where your loved one will need to leave the house, there are some things to consider. For instance, will they need medication during the hours they are out? If they need oxygen, make sure their unit is charged and that you have everything you need to make it through the whole outing including chargers or spare batteries.

Take into consideration any dietary restrictions and plan ahead for them. Do you need to pack a picnic instead of going out? Make it fun and take a break at a park for lunch.

Be sure to take into account their mobility. Museums are really fun but for a senior who has trouble walking or standing for long periods of time, it may be taxing. Ask them if they are comfortable using a wheelchair from the facility or be prepared to take several breaks.

If the person you are taking out has any memory or dementia issues make sure you lay out what the day will look like in advance to avoid causing any agitation. Change can be very difficult for people with memory related issues so make sure they are aware of the plan and that you have addressed any issues that they have.

If you are giving the gift from far away or gifting an experience, make sure you also arrange transportation for them. If they have a caregiver or access to a vehicle it may not be an issue but it's always best to make sure it won't go to waste. If they are in a more limited situation but are able to use technology or have someone who can help them, get them an Uber or Lyft gift card. This is great for younger people who need care as well. Sometimes just having the freedom to go where you want, when you want is a gift in itself. And, if your loved one doesn't have a smartphone, you can sign them up and gift them Go-Go-Grandparent - a ride-sharing service that doesn't require a smartphone and is more equipped to handle seniors with wheelchairs or mobility issues.

It's always the thought that counts of course, but we hope we gave you some ideas that will help you give a great gift this year! Do you have more ideas? Please share with us on our forum or on Facebook.