Practical gifts for very elderly senior citizens - Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Birthday
Practical gifts for very elderly senior citizens - like my 95 year old Mom, Gertie
Note: to readers - This article, Practical Gifts For Very Elderly Senior Citizens was first written in 2011 when I was caring for my elderly Mom, Gertie. Mom lived with me 5 years prior to her death in 2012. She is well missed but her legacy carries on, partly through this article. So, here goes:
Christmas is approaching and, if you have a senior citizen loved one, you might want to know of some of our favorite practical gifts for senior citizens.
These practical gifts for the elderly are items that I thought about during my 95 year old Mom's stay in a nursing home rehab for a broken hip. Thankfully, Gert (said Mom) is back up and walking around like a champ. I was able to bring her home after a month in the hospital and rehab but not before I stocked my house with the most needed items to care for a very elderly senior citizen.
Similar to setting up a home to deal with young children, I find that I have to "mom-proof" my own house to ensure her safety. I've put together the most practical gifts for very elderly senior citizens I could come up with. There's probably gift items on this article which you've never thought about - at least I hope so. In fact, Mother's Day is right around the corner, and, even though these senior citizen gift ideas may not be particularly sexy or fun, they'll probably all be welcomed at some point or other.
The picture there to the right is of my darling Mom snuggling with one of my littlest dogs, Margarita, my adorable adoptee from St. Croix. I caught them in bed and grabbed the camera. Boy am I glad I did as it's one of my favorite pictures ever.
Update 9/20/12: Mom died Feb 15, 2012, going very peacefully while surrounded by friends and family in my home. She had as successful a death as she did a successful life. She is well missed. Come read my most important article When Death Looms - the Signs and Symptoms of the Last Moments on Earth
Update 12/10/12: I've gotten a few comments from folks who disagree that this article contains good gifts for senior citizens. I stand by my choices. These are PRACTICAL gifts! That means these are things that make life a little easier to live; these gifts will allow senior citizens to remain more independent for as long as possible. And, if you feel that these gifts are not good gifts, that's certainly your choice - but I stand by my recommendations.
Gifts for an elderly woman
I know all about gifts for an elderly woman as I cared for my elderly mom, Gertie, for the last 5 years of her life. I used to kid mom that every day was Mot...
Gifts for an elderly father
My Dad died in 2007 at 89 years of age so I got pretty good in finding gifts for an elderly father for Father's Day or any other day of the year.
Father's Day presents for Dads or Grandfathers don't have to be expensive. In fact, expense has nothing to do with finding a great gift for an elderly father.
'Make a Memory' Books
Jog some senior memories with the aid of these great books
Purchasing one of these life experiences book will not only be a great present for a senior citizen, but just think of the joy you'll bring future generations. How cool will it be to see a story or thoughts written in great-great Grandmother or Grandfather's own hand? These books get the conversation flowing by asking simple questions such as 'what lessons did you most like in school' or 'what was your first job?' These are fabulous practical gifts for very elderly senior citizens - or anyone for that matter!
Come Visit Me At GoodGiftsForSeniorCitizens.com
I started up my own website last year (2013) to showcase the very best gifts for a senior citizen, such as day clocks (they tell the day of the week along with the time), photo phones (these have pictures instead of memory dial number) and some gorgeous night lights. Just visit me at the link below to see some excellent gifts:
Adaptive Car Items
Make getting into or out of a car a bit easier for your favorite senior citizen
My Mom stopped driving when she was 75 (she was smart that way) but she became an excellent passenger. She would go anywhere I asked her to so, on weekends, we might well be heading up to my cabin in West Virginia for some R&R. But, getting her into my SUV was a bit of a hassle until I found these swivel seats. It was much easier for her to slide into the seat and simply swivel around to face front. These swivel seats are a great gift for your favorite senior citizen.
And, as a nice accompaniment to the swivel seat, about every senior citizen needs a hand getting into or out of a car. That's where the HandyBar comes in, well, handy (sorry, had to put in that pun). Just lodge it into the car door and it will hold up to to 350 lbs.
My new Kindle book is available! - Senior Citizen Caregiving 101: Things I wish I had known
I just published my new Kindle eBook about senior citizen caregiving. It contains 15 chapters of helpful guidance for new caregivers and 5 bonus "Gertie-isms" - funny things that my Mom, Gertie, came up with.
Clocks to tell the day and time
When I was caring for Mom, there were days on end that neither of us knew the time, let alone the day. In fact, there were times we weren't sure of where we were, date-wise, in the month. There was just too much going on to focus on the time or day.
So, I really wish someone had told me about Day Clocks - you can click that link to see day clocks on my website (there's a whole slew of them there). Day clocks come in a few varieties but my favorite day clock is this digital model that makes it very easy to view the readout. Digital clocks also might be less confusing for those with Alzheimer's or dementia as they don't have to look at the hands of a clock to tell the time or day.
I find this one to be less confusing, especially for an older person who might have trouble distinguishing the little hand, the big hand, and the day hand on a clock.
These day clocks come in wood or metal so they should work with any décor.
Adaptive Writing Implements
Pen Again Adaptive Writing Pens and Pencils
Pen Again items, also called 'finger pens' help those arthritic fingers hold onto a pen. They come in a variety of colors although the style is the same. These pens are great for anyone who has trouble handling small implements. In fact, I just bought myself one!
The Pen Again is available in pen or pencil.
Magnifying Floor Lamps
A nice floor lamp WITH magnifier might be just what the doctor orders
Heck, I think I like this floor lamp with magnifier for myself! If your favorite senior citizen loves to do needlework or work crossword puzzles, a floor magnifying lamp is a great present. It sure would make reading the paper a lot easier.
The head on the Mighty Bright Floor Light and Magnifier even adjusts up and down so it's easy to change its position depending on the activity.
This floor magnifying lamp can run on regular power or even off three batteries. And, with LED lights, the lights will last seemingly forever.
Seat Life Assists
Seat Lift Assists
There are many many expensive chairs on the market that have electronic seat lifts but, if you don't want to spend the money on an expensive model, this seat lift is for you.
Just place it on any chair and it will help your elderly senior citizen stand on their own two feet. I particularly like that this seat assist life is portable so can be toted to a movie theater, restaurant, or anywhere you elderly loved one needs a little help standing.
With a hydraulic lifting mechanism, the seat lift assist requires no electricity. The standard model lifts from 95-220 lbs and the plus model lifts 240 to 340 lbs.
Standers Able Tray
Give 'em something to hold onto
Not only is this a great idea, it's very handy too. This Standers Tray swings away to give your elderly loved one something to grab hold of when they need to get in or out of their comfortable chair. Anything that helps keep a senior citizen from losing their balance is great in my book - I only wish I'd known of this when I was caring for my elderly Mom.
Note: one reviewer on Amazon.com mentioned that the Standers Tray worked well even with a lift chair like that shown above. And, To see a whole lot more items to assist the elderly in standing, check out my website page GoodGiftsForSeniorCitizens.com Standing Aids.
More of my articles about elder caregiving
For the 5 years prior to Mom's death at 95 years of age, I was her primary caregiver. I learned more during those 5 years than I could ever have imagined which is why I've written some of the below article. You'll find a few links to some health articles and also more gift ideas for the elderly.
Gifts for an elderly woman
Here's some great gifts for an elderly woman.
Gifts for an elderly father
Gift ideas for an elderly dad like, Joe, my darling father there in the picture.
Magazines for Senior Citizens
Magazines are the gift the keeps on giving. Here's some great magazines for the elderly.
Games for senior citizens
Another fun article about keeping the elderly entertained.
Coloring fun for senior citizens
Help the elderly stay interested with some great coloring books. These are not your grandchildren's coloring books!
When death looms - the signs and symptoms of final moments on earth
My most important article. I wrote this one when Mom was dying and I was scared. Once I understood what would happen, it was like a release. I was with her when she died and it wasn't scary at all. It was loving.
Pneumonia Symptoms In The Elderly
Another important article if you're a caregiver - you should be able to recognize the signs of pneumonia in the elderly. They might not be what you think - at least, my Mom's signs weren't.
Talking alarm clocks for the elderly
Talking alarm clocks can prompt the elderly to take their pills. That's a good thing.
Call systems for caregivers or in home health aides
Particularly if your elderly loved on wanders, a good alarm system will keep them safe and keep you informed.
Photo phone add-ons make calling people much easier
Perhaps your elderly loved one already is in love with that phone from 1950 - how do you help them dial it? These photo phone add-ons are a great way to ease their dialing woes. All you have to do is load up some pictures and connect these photo dialers to any phone. They're perfect with those with failing eyesight or arthritic fingers. So much easier to punch one button with a face on it instead of having to figure out whose speed dial is whose.
To see actual photo phones (the below are just add ons to existing phones), check out my own website - Great Photo Phones For Senior Citizens.
Personal hygiene becomes more difficult to perform as we age
Keep these items on hand, just in case
I used to shower my Mom once a week, when she was able. In between showers, I used the below washcloths (they heat up right in the microwave) to sort of "wipe her down." I'd apply a nice lotion afterwards - she always thanked me for making her feel fresh.
The no-rinse shampoo is nice also although I liked the shampoo cap (also heats in the microwave) better - less messy. Just heat it, put it on the head, give it a little massage, take it off and, voila, damp, clean hair.
Shawls With Pockets
Mom received one of these shawls with pockets, and I thought it was just plain old goofy until I saw it in action.
This 35 Below Pocket Shawl is just the right weight to keep the chill of Mom's old bones. All I have to do is put it around her shoulders and she does the rest - any caregiver will love doing less...These shawls are as useful inside a cool room as outside on a windy day. In fact, Mom uses hers just about everywhere.
Here's a few more of my articles that you might find helpful:
My 94 year old Mom, Gertie, uses a handicap walker, and we've gone through a few to find the cream of the crop. Handicapped walkers come in all sizes and sha...
Drive Medical FW19BL Fly-Weight Transport Chair
...And, if my mom were to answer the question, it would be to ride in her Drive Medical Flyweight Transport Chair. As the full time caregiver for my 94 yea...
Hugo Portable Rollator Walker with Seat, Backrest and 8 Inch Wheels
My Mom used a walker as she aged, but she didn't use anything as fancy as the Hugo Portable Rollator Walker with Seat, Backrest and 8 Inch Wheels. No siree B...
Hugo Elite Rolling Walker with Seat, Backrest and Saddle Bag
Here's my theory: if you need a 4 wheel handicap walker, why not go with the best, and that's exactly what the Hugo Eite Rolling Walker with seat, backrest a...
Duro-Med 2-Button Adjustable Aluminum Folding Walker with 5 Inch Wheels
As one who cares for her 94 year old mother, I'm intimately aware of the benefits of using just the right walker and the Duro-Med 2-Button Adjustable Aluminu...
Duro-Med Steel 3-Wheel Rollator
The Duro-Med Steel 3-Wheel Rollator is just the right choice for a portable, reliable, stylish handicap walker. The 3 wheels on this walker give stablility f...
Call Buttons and Alarms
A call button and alarm - Practical gifts for senior citizens
When my Mom was towards the end of her long life, I hired caregivers to sit with her as I went to get some rest. But, on the nights when i was on call, we had all kinds of systems by which she could reach me. The simplest was a large bell as even confused individuals can usually figure that out. And, the most evolved was the call button system below. I loved it and, during the times when Mom was most lucid, this was her favorite system too.
Here's an article I wrote that has many more Alarm systems for caregivers or in home health care aides.
Give your elderly loved on the call button (either on a lanyard around their neck or hang it on their bed within easy reach) and all they have to do is push the button to send a signal to the receiver which you'll have. This works to within 100' of the receiver which is a pretty big distance.
I've been "married to my Mom" for 5 years now, since Dad died. It's both the hardest and most rewarding time of my life. But, man, I knew there was a reason I didn't have children - this is a lot of work!
I'd love to hear your comments or ideas about other practical gifts for very elderly senior citizens.
More by this Author
I am my 95 year old Mom's full time caregiver, and the job is getting a bit harder post her broken hip on November 11, 2011. After my initial panic at trying to figure out how to help her in her recovery from a broken...
I cared for my elderly Mom for 5 years prior to her death. During those days, I found a whole host of items that others hadn't heard of - all of which are good gifts for senior citizens.
My Mom died in my arms, in my living room, on Feb 15, 2012. In order to prepare myself for the inevitable, I researched and wrote this article about the symptoms of death. I hope it helps others too.