Gifts for elderly parents at Christmas

Written by nellene teubner plouffe
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Gifts for elderly parents at Christmas
Plan a family cruise for elderly parents as a Christmas gift. (Getty Thinkstock)

Finding the right Christmas gifts for elderly parents can be a challenge. Many older parents insist they don't need anything, but most children want to do something special. Consider items that make your parents' lives easier, opportunities for social interaction, entertainment-related presents and gifts from the heart.

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Hiring a Gift

As parents age they lose the ability to keep up with certain life functions. Hire a housekeeper as a gift for your parents so someone comes in every two weeks and dusts, vacuums and cleans the bathrooms and kitchen. Hire a gardener if your parents live in a single-family home, so the lawn, shrubs and trees are taken care of properly. Pay someone to remove snow from the sidewalks, steps and driveway in the winter.

Help With Medical Challenges

Elderly parents often don't see as well as when they were younger. Buy large-print books, playing cards and clocks. Place a few magnifying glasses around the home to help your parents read prescription bottles, do crossword puzzles and follow recipes. Phones with big buttons and amplified receivers help parents with hearing problems. If necessary, invest in a hearing-aid-compatible phone. Arrange and pay for a driver to take parents to doctor's appointments if neither can drive.

Social Interaction

If your parents are able to attend classes, enrol them in painting, exercise, music or history classes. If they can take care of an animal, arrange for them to get a pet; studies have shown that animals can improve a person's emotional and physical well-being. Pay for the vet and obedience school. If you have siblings who live in another town, give your parents airline tickets to visit. Provide the present of a phone card for long-distant chats and show them how to use Skype.

Entertainment

Pay for extra cable channels or a cable provider that allows Mom and Dad to watch extended movie or sports channels. Subscribe to a satellite radio service for them. Subscribe to large-print magazines in a genre they like, such as news, cooking, current events or celebrity information. Set up a digital photo frame, programmed with years of their favourite photos. Put it close to the TV so they can switch from looking at one screen to the other. Buy restaurant gift cards and include enough money so your parents can entertain friends.

Gifts from the Heart

The No. 1 gift most elderly parents cherish the most is time with children and grandchildren. If you live in another city or state, give a Christmas present of yourself, spouse and/or children. If your elderly parents are able to participate in a family cruise, plan one for all ages. If you yourself live in a distant town, give them tickets for a train trip to your city and provide money for food and incidentals. Provide a hotel room if your home is noisy with young children or isn't big enough.

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