Tag Archives: holidays

Gift Guide For Seniors-Ladies Edition*


Gift guide for seniors who are no longer active #giftguide #seniors #ladies I’m painfully practical and would be the first to discourage anyone from giving stuff to people who don’t need it.

Since taking care of my aunt, however, I realize that she loves to receive cards, letters and gifts. I’m sure her joy is derived from being remembered more than the physical object. She’s been a giver all of her life.

So who am I to limit potential joy-especially at the holidays-for givers and receivers, alike? I think I have a pretty good perspective now and can offer some suggestions for gifts that are personal, economical AND practical.

Whether you’re loved one is independent, in assisted living or living with you or another relative, this list should give you some ideas for each situation.

1. Fleece Anything

Now that the temperature has dropped, fleece provides a measure of warmth and comfort no matter how old you are. I replaced the linens on my aunt’s bed with fleece sheets and a throw and she loves them.

She never knew such comfort existed and I’m insanely jealous every time she gets all cozied up in her bed. (My own fleece sheets need to be replaced).

Fluffy fleece socks are also a huge hit in my house.

Finally, you know how nursing homes are always SWELTERING? If my thermostat is set above 68°, I get too hot. This is a little too chilly for my aunt so a sweater and sometimes gloves, keep her comfortable. The gloves were my mom’s idea and I do feel a little guilty but I just can’t crank up the heat. If your loved one still lives at home, the cost of cranking the heat up could be an issue and the gloves might be a welcome comfort.

2. Easy-to-fix meal and a visit

If your loved one lives alone, proper nutrition and loneliness could be an issue. Recent studies suggest that the mortality risk from loneliness and decreased social interaction is comparable to that of smoking and twice as dangerous as obesity.

Malnutrition is a common problem among seniors. An estimated 60 percent of adults aged 65 years and older who visit an emergency room are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition and only 1 in 4 of those were previously diagnosed as malnourished.

One meal a week won’t cure the problem but dropping off 3-5 homemade, easy-to-prepare meals could make a big difference for both issues.

Multiple single-serving meals can be prepared and stored in containers, frozen or refrigerated with instructions for thawing or microwaving.

Committing to regular visits will allow you to monitor any sudden health, safety, mobility, environmental or cognitive issues that might need to be addressed with the person or family members.

3. Box of cards, stamps and personalized stationary

Although writing can be difficult as people age, many seniors love to keep in touch the old-fashioned way.

Providing a variety of cards for different occasions will minimize the need for excessive handwriting if it’s an issue but still allows a person to keep in touch with people they love and are thinking about.

A box could include addresses and dates to remember like birthdays, anniversaries and upcoming events like graduations.

If the person still has the ability to write more than a few lines and enjoys it, personalized stationary is a great gift.

4. Monthly Housecleaning Service

You can arrange this to coincide with a visit if the person is uncomfortable with strangers being in her home. You should always be sensitive to safety issues when arranging for any service providers.

If you don’t get a commercial cleaning service, you can ask around for referrals.

Most professionals will charge a little more for the initial cleaning (which can be a great gift, in itself) and then reduce the price for routine maintenance of the rooms/services that are most needed.

This is an ideal gift for anyone who has too much stuff unless it’s impossible to clean around. Then you should consider a visit from a professional organizer or purger.

5. Photo Gifts

Photo mugs and photo calendars make great gifts. My aunt drinks a cup of coffee every morning and she always pays extra attention to a mug with Kate’s baby face on it. I like the idea of the calendar because it’s consumable.

6. Classic Television Shows on DVD

We all know that nothing is on TV, yet it’s how most seniors pass the time. If operating a DVD player isn’t an issue for your loved one, consider a television classic like “Gunsmoke” (Is there anyone cooler than Marshall Matt Dillon?), “The Andy Griffith Show“, “The Beverly Hillbillies” or “Leave It To Beaver“, to name a few.

Maybe the person can handle something a little more dramatic, “Downton Abbey” is excellent and dramas like “The West Wing“, “L.A. Law“, “The Practice“, “Hill Street Blues” or “E.R.” are classics.

7. Lawn Care and/or Snow Removal

Whether provided by you, one of your children or a paid service provider, outside maintenance is a huge problem for many seniors who still live at home.

8. Single Serving Coffee Maker

I’m not a huge fan of the hassle and expense of individual serving cups but people love the convenience of those single serving brewing systems.

One of my aunt’s greatest pleasures in the morning is being able to enjoy a hot cup of coffee now that she doesn’t have to prepare and clean the pot. She just wasn’t able to manage it any longer when she was on her own.

Single serving type instant brewers involve less preparation and less clean-up than automatic drip coffee makers.

If you are going to gift this, make sure you also wrap up a healthy supply of coffee “cups”.

9. Rotating delivery of essentials

Admittedly, this is a weird one. One thing my aunt worried about when she lived on her own was running out of the things she used daily (paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, Efferdent, liquid soap, supplements and V-8, to name a few).

She kept a healthy supply of these things in the closets and called it her “larder”.

If you know a senior who also worries about running out of things and can physically manage a delivery (can get to the door and manage a package-my aunt wouldn’t have been able to handle a larger package), you can arrange for Amazon to deliver these type of things to them. If not, you can make a weekly or monthly run yourself for her necessities.

If you’re planning to use Amazon, it’s definitely worth getting the Amazon Prime membership (for either yourself or the person you’re buying for) since shipping will be free for most items and there are other benefits that go along with it.

10. Handwritten Cards and Notes

Letter writing is definitely a lost art but one that everyone I know appreciates. If you commit to writing a letter to your loved one-say, once a month, you might be surprised that it’s just as much a gift to you.


*Disclosure: This post is littered with affiliate links. If you make a purchase through any of the links, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I appreciate it. Either way, I hope you got some good ideas from the post.


5 Great Gifts From Grandparents

5 Great Gifts from Grandparents

First, let me say that no matter what the occasion, I don’t think gifts from grandparents are necessary or should be expected. Ever. If you are a grandparent and you enjoy giving gifts to your adult children and/or grandchildren, here are a few ideas:

1. Museum/zoo/science center/aquarium/children’s museum membership or visit.

All of the activities listed above (museums, science centers, etc.) tend to be expensive, especially for families with more than 2 children. This is the type of gift that both parents and children can appreciate and enjoy. An annual membership is literally the gift that gives year round and may have reciprocal benefits with other sites in the city or in other cities. Some memberships include a “grandparent” or caretaker pass so you can enjoy it with the children, too, if you aren’t the primary member.

2. Concert, show, play or other special outing with lunch or dinner.

This is something you can do with one grandchild at a time, just a few or all of them if you’re up to it. My mom treated my oldest son to a baseball game for a few years as a birthday gift. He really does treasure the memories and loved looking forward to it and she loved sharing something with him that he loves-GO BUCS!.

3. P.J.’s, dress clothes or coats and boots

I’m sure I’m not the only parent who dreads spending money on all of these things. PJ’s aren’t quite as bad because they get lots of use (but still, good quality, comfy ones are expensive, no one really sees them and one pair is plenty for kids in my book). Dress clothes, coats and boots are a little different because they don’t get lots of use and kids tend to grow out of them in a season.

Thrift stores are a great source for these things but sometimes you just don’t find the right size.

My friend’s mom buys each grandchild a dress coat when they need it. It’s a lovely gift, especially because they all attend the same church and she gets to appreciate how nice they all look every week.

4. A Keepsake

An heirloom piece can be a special gift for a boy or a girl. This might not be possible if you have many grandchildren but if you only have a few, you might want to think about gifting them special pieces of jewelry, a watch, a jewelry box or something else (not too bulky) that is special to you. I wouldn’t advise boxing up the china, this type of heirloom can sometimes be more of a burden than a blessing.

If you don’t have an heirloom, you can start a new tradition of a special purchase of that type at a certain age for each of your grandchildren. A classic watch for a boy, a special bracelet or necklace for each girl in the family.

If you’d like your dollars to help someone else AND are interested in encouraging unity among the cousins, you might be interested in buying everyone something from Give or Toms shoes (they even have things for guys). If neither of those sites is a good fit for you and your extended family, you might appreciate this Ethical Shopping Guide that Tsh at The Art of Simple put together. Make a statement, raise awareness and love on the kids all at once!

5. Classes, equipment or supplies for a special passion, activity or interest.

Art classes, dance classes or lessons for sports can sometimes be cost-prohibitive for families. Even if the activity, itself isn’t, the equipment can be.

I give my mom credit for buying Hannah her first digital camera when she was 10 or 11. I thought it was too generous, (and redundant) since Hannah was free to use my digital point-and-shoot anytime. Once she had her own camera, though, she developed a passion for photography that I’m sure will be with her forever.

When Luke started catching for his baseball team, my mom was happy to buy him a catcher’s mitt for his birthday. Again, it’s something I couldn’t justify spending money on since we had other expenses (uniform and shoes plus a bat for his birthday) and the team had a mitt that he could use. He was so thrilled with it and was proud that everyone wanted to use it when they were behind the plate. He used that mitt for 4 seasons so he certainly got his use out of it.

I think all of the gifts listed above are as much for the parents as they are for the kids and if you truly enjoy giving gifts to the grandchildren, I hope this gives you some ideas.

6. BONUS!!

I know the article suggests 5 great gifts. Maybe the greatest gift of all for the parents, the grandchildren and yes, even the grandparents……





If you have other gift ideas from grandparents, I’d love to hear about them.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I’ll make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks.

Happy Spaghetti Wednesday!

spaghetti dinner night before Thansgiviing

KIds Eat First

I posted last year about my family’s Thanksgiving tradition that we call Spaghetti Wednesday. I thought I’d take some time to explain what it is, how it started and why it’s been such a great tradition for all of us that we all love.

When Mark and I bought this house more than 18 years ago, we were both working and not unlike many new couples, spent most of our holidays running around. It wasn’t only his family and my family, it was his family, then my dad, then on to my aunt’s house where my brothers and I always ended up to relax and laugh with our closest cousins. Since my mom would usually be there, that’s where I typically saw her.

The first year in our new house, I thought it might be nice to have my side of the family over the night before Thanksgiving so Mark and I  had less running around to do on the actual holiday. Seeing my family the night before Thanksgiving would eliminate the running on Thanksgiving day. My side of the family wasn’t really adamant about anything, though they wanted to see us and we wanted to spend time with them. If everyone came to my house the night before Thanksgiving, I could see my brothers, mom, dad and stepmom the night before Thanksgiving, have dinner with Mark’s family on Thanksgiving day then head down to my aunt’s after dinner to hang out with the cousins.

My family's night-before-Thanksgiving tradition

Hanging out and visiting

My side of the family was all for it. Since most of my brothers were still single their only plans were meeting friends out for the biggest bar night of the year but dinner didn’t interfere with that.

I debated for weeks about what to serve and decided that spaghetti and meatballs was easy and everyone could easily contribute a component of the meal…salad, bread, appetizer and dessert. The spaghetti and meatballs part is so easy to make ahead.

As we’ve added spouses and children to the mix, we’ve grown beyond the dining room table and serve the dinner buffet style now.

Those cousins that we grew up with have been joining us for dessert for the past 5-10 years because it’s just easier for their families, too.

My mom now lives a few houses away, so she hosts dessert which gives me and Mark a chance to clean up, visit with everyone as guests and go home when we’re tired.

It’s been great for all of the brothers and their spouses who appreciate spending time together and being able to spend Thanksgiving with one family. It just makes the day easier for everyone.

I tell everyone about this tradition and so far, it hasn’t taken hold. One day it will and I hope to get the credit. You can thank me later.

So, Happy Spaghetti Wednesday everyone! Be safe!