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A Baby Boomer's Guide to Gifting: When Mom or Dad Live in Assisted Living
Today's Vistit Baby Boomers are caregivers for a generation of elders, and buying gifts for these parents, aunts and uncles is a special challenge; in fact, sometimes it becomes a dreaded task. There's no feeling quite like giving a gift that is truly loved or appreciated, but what the heck do we buy for parents in Assisted Living?
Their meals are provided. Some have a small kitchen but most don't cook, so kitchen-things are out. Many have lost a spouse but remain mobile and still drive. Collectibles are no longer important, but quality of life is. Most need some level of care, and almost all have some arthritic or vision problems. Many need to be financially cautious and others can buy whatever they want. Regardless of the level of mobility or finances, most are giving away their "things" rather than wanting more.
Here are a few ideas, some useful and some capricious:
For Men and Women • A watch with a 3x-magnifying lens cover. Some even come with a flashlight in the face of the watch for reading menus or labels.
• A lighted magnifying mirror for the bathroom vanity, with a magnification of up to 10x. We call them a "make- up" mirror but they're useful for men as well as women. We need to stay in-touch with our ears, eyes and skin condition. When eyesight is weakened, a magnification mirror is a handy thing to have.
• Gift certificates for manicures, pedicures, and shampoos. You think your dad won't consider a pedicure, manicure or shampoo? Think again...he just might. Peek in a salon at the mall. More and more elderly men are in spa chairs. It's a luxury. It makes a guy or gal feel great.
• A pedometer to record daily steps and bring awareness to their activity-level.
• A blanket made of down or a down "alternative." These blankets are sleek and lightweight, and can be machine-washed many times. They are just a soft, light touch to the skin, but they're very warm.
For Women • Magnetic necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Manufacturers have answered the call for good quality jewelry for arthritic or trembling hands. If you can't find it locally, look on-line.
• A bed jacket for cold mornings or evenings. After a long absence from lingerie departments, bed jackets are back in high fashion. She'll feel cozy and beautiful in her bed jacket.
• Gather-up some bridge tallies, score pads, pretty pens and a nice deck of bridge cards. Don't settle for just any bridge cards. Find a theme that you know she loves, like scenes of Italy, or flowers or famous artists. Museum gift shops are a good source for bridge sets. Put them in a beautiful gift box for storage. These boxes can be found at a hobby store. If you find the right box, it can be stored in plain sight and be used as a room decoration.
For Men • Pre-knotted ties.
• Over-sized dominoes with high-contrast black dots on white.
• Ball caps with favorite logos of golf or sporting teams.
• Extra-long golf tees and a great looking set of head covers.
• Once Mom is gone, Dad might not think about family memorabilia that she so lovingly cared for and stored away. Arrange military photos and documents into albums or books -- frame some for his walls. He might be shy about doing it himself, but he'll be thrilled you did.
About the Author: Cassaundra Flores is the co-owner of http://www.skyfireproducts.com, where you'll find thousands of creative, unique and inexpensive items for your home, bed and bath, garden and any special occasion in your life.