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#211046 - 11/15/11 03:54 PM Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people...
Ellen B Offline
Elf VP

Registered: 08/15/99
Posts: 1316
Loc: TN.
As the title says, I am looking for ideas for older people. Particularly, my mother and m-i-l. My mother's birthday is coming up very soon but there's also C'mas too. She is v-e-r-y hard to shop for, to the point where if I'm thinking of getting something, I think of any and all possible reasons why it wouldn't be a good idea. She'll be 81. I'm sure alot of people have this problem so I thought maybe I'd find some ideas here. Anything with technology is out. My brother bought her a new phone awhile ago and I think she's still trying to figure THAT out :D.
Any help would be appreciated!

We live in different states too, so I wouldn't be seeing her on either occasion.

#211050 - 11/15/11 04:37 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: Ellen B]
Mickey1 Offline
Elf VP

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 1763
Loc: North Carolina
My mom died at age 90 in 2006.
We found that she liked pretty cardigan sweaters.
She could wear them out (usually to doctors) or wear them in chilly weather.

#211051 - 11/15/11 04:43 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: Ellen B]
Qwackertoo Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 04/13/99
Posts: 11860
Loc: Rocket City, U.S.A.
Ellen, we like going in with brothers and sisters for both our sets of parents and buying them something on the more expensive side when combined, but yet something they won't go out and buy themselves. Example, my Mother a new Dell computer, she wore that thing out . . . emailing, instant messaging, genealogy, I was VERY PROUD of her for learning so much on her own . . . my Dad an HDTV for the family room, nothing huge a 32" . . . then a year ago his bedroom tv went kaput and although he only has it on while getting ready in the a.m. . .. and once in a great while after he goes to bed, we got him a new 32" LCD HDTV, ummm for Steve's parents, a game camera, they hang it in the trees around their property and see some nice bucks, turkeys, bears, but no lions or tigers, LOL and a Kitchen-Aid mixer last birthday gift and Father-in-law loves it so much he said to count it as his Father's Day too in addition to her birthday. So for us, they pretty much buy what they want and need on a regular basis but sometimes hesitate and won't splurge on themselves for higher ticket items but once they have them, they love them. This year we may get my Dad a new leather recliner with the "group pitch-in" purchase plan. So just a thought but I have no idea if you have brothers or sisters or anyone to go in with or go it alone.

#211059 - 11/15/11 06:05 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: Qwackertoo]
mel-gregory Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 04/26/99
Posts: 3299
Loc: Valencia, CA
Do your mom & MIL do their own grocery shopping? If so, you could buy them gift cards to their particular grocery store. If they still drive cars, you could buy them gift cards to gas stations. If they like to go out to eat (either by themselves or with friends), you could buy them gift cards to their favorite restaurants.

And while a "gift card" may not sound like a personal gift, they can use it at their leisure and it would definitely be helpful to their budgets. You could enclose it in a nice card along with a floral arrangement.. or a box of candy (or cookies).

My father loves to receive gift cards. I have given him ones to restaurants and gas stations. I have given my MIL gift cards to her grocery store, which she appreciates.

If you don't feel like doing gift cards, how about a nice new set of sheets for their bed? Or a new comforter set?

What about a digital photo frame already loaded with photos? That way, all they have to do is plug it in.. they don't even need a computer.

Good luck and hope this helps! \:\)

Black Belt Mom

#211060 - 11/15/11 06:15 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: mel-gregory]
SharonLL Offline
Elf Manager

Registered: 08/03/99
Posts: 605
Loc: Miami, FL
Last year I bought my Mom a 17 inch TV for her kitchen. She loved it.

#211061 - 11/15/11 06:22 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: mel-gregory]
mariem2 Offline
Elf Manager

Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 608
I am not elderly yet but I love gift cards that I can use at my own time. Just saying. \:\)

Mom died a couple months before her 90th b'day so she didn't go out shopping anymore but she loved nice warm sweaters and had a thing for flannel pajamas. She also loved to get a bottle of some kind of sparkling drink and a box of nice chocolates or fancy cookies to go with. She couldn't watch tv anymore (going blind) and she was kinda deaf so she said at her age she didn't need anything.

She liked simple things like nice food ideas in cute gift baskets (as long as they weren't too big), fancy drinks and cookies and warm clothes. She liked bringing them out when visitors came over and she said they felt "posh" eating and drinking her fancy stuff, it felt special to her and she enjoyed it. They would act like little girls having a "tea party" with snacks and fake booze, not that she was apposed to the occasional drink during the holidays. \:\)


Edited by mariem2 (11/15/11 06:25 PM)

#211062 - 11/15/11 06:35 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: SharonLL]
MJJ Offline
Elf Engineer - Toy Design

Registered: 03/31/09
Posts: 379
Loc: Dallas, TX
My Dad is 93, lives in a small apartment by himself, and all of the remaining kids live scattered across the country. He doesn't need, nor want, "stuff". My brother found http://www.freeconferencecall.com and we've set up conference calls with him and all us kids. He's loved it! To be able to talk to all just as if we were sitting around the kitchen table makes him happy.

Also, because we live so far away I've made a couple of trips up to see him - and he and I visit and take care of a little of his chores and I bake (he loves baked goods). I go grocery shopping and buy some of the newer type products that he may not even be aware of that he can fix for himself quickly and safely. You may not be able to travel but it is a possible idea for the future.

If you want to send her something - maybe some homemade baked goods or craft projects. I don't know if you do either of those.

It's tough but not impossible. Good luck!

#211063 - 11/15/11 06:36 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: mariem2]
fab5friend Offline
Elf VP

Registered: 08/17/99
Posts: 1430
Loc: Overland Park, KS
Can't go wrong with food! I used to send cookies and or candy to my father. Also sent Omaha steaks for a while.

"All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them" --- Walt Disney

#211064 - 11/15/11 06:38 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: mariem2]
homemadebycarol Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 05/04/99
Posts: 3942
Loc: Reno, NV
Are there any particular restaurants in her area she likes to go to? Maybe a gift card to her favorite restaurant? Local movie theater? My parents are in their early 70s and the last thing they need is more "stuff" so I face this challenge every year. I tend to go with gift cards to places they frequent, especially local businesses. With the economy the way it is, I'm a big fan of giving business to local places who employ local workers, especially in the service industry and especially mom and pop places as opposed to the big chains. I'm trying to stay away more and more from "made in China" gift-giving. Which is tough to do given the prevalence of non-US-made goods but worth it if you can find the right gift. It's easier if you think in terms of local services provided like hair salons, nail salons, restaurants, coffee shops, spas, etc.

#211065 - 11/15/11 06:40 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: fab5friend]
debbieg Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 05/11/99
Posts: 4329
Loc: Arlington,TX
When my mother was alive she liked to receive gift cards for restaurants so she could treat herself and a friend.

How about movie theater gift cards?

#211072 - 11/15/11 08:04 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: debbieg]
Trena Offline
Elf Manager

Registered: 02/14/01
Posts: 756
Loc: Conway, AR, USA
I think the ideas mentioned earlier of gift cards to favorite restaurant, digital picture frame filled with photos that include all family members, or raid the family photos and put together a scrapbook. If they do not drive and there is a taxi service, make arrangement to set up an account for them to go on some outings outings. If living at home hire someone locally to clean the house once or twice or to do spring cleaning outside. If they use to garden, have someone come out in the spring to plant flowers for them to enjoy.

#211079 - 11/15/11 09:11 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: Trena]
Ellen B Offline
Elf VP

Registered: 08/15/99
Posts: 1316
Loc: TN.
I see some great ideas here and sooo appreciate it! I think I'll make a list for future reference. Keep the ideas coming!

#211085 - 11/15/11 10:23 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: debbieg]
Loretta Offline
Elf Engineer - Toy Design

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 283
Loc: Cartersville GA USA
My Mom really appreciates receiving postage stamps and cards so she can keep in touch with the grandkids and her sisters. This year she asked me to look for a watch with easy to read numbers but still fashionable. I made some pillowcases (very easy to sew) for my Mother in Law and Grandmother out of pretty fabric which they both loved. My MIL likes hand made things so she can show her friends "what her daughter in law made for her".
Born to be mild!

#211086 - 11/15/11 10:27 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: Ellen B]
Nancy C. in Shawnee, KS Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 05/15/99
Posts: 8476
Loc: Shawnee, KS USA
One year some friends of ours adopted a family for Christmas. They had usually done a family of four (getting a family with mom, dad, and two kids); they decided to get a larger family and ask for help from their friends to help cover the larger family. They ended up with a mom and five kids. Some people gave them money to give to the family or to use to buy things to fill in where it was needed. I suggested that they use some of the money to buy stamps since everyone has bills to pay and having stamps would be something that the mom would surely appreciate. A friend of mine sent my mom some stamps in the sympathy card when my dad passed away - something I wouldn't have thought of but it sure was a thoughtful thing for her to do. Now that you can buy Forever stamps they last longer since you don't have to buy the stamps to add up to the additional postage if you don't use them before the price goes up.

If anyone will be with her for Christmas (or even near that time), you might think about scheduling a trip to a photography studio that would include her. We take a lot of pictures when my family is together, and it's nice to have those multi-generation photos. If she's not comfortable with going to a studio you might be able to find someone to come to her home and take the pictures there. My nephew is one of three people in a photography business (usually they do weddings) and they don't have a studio. He's finding that more and more people are having people with digital cameras take pictures at events instead of hiring professionals.

#211087 - 11/15/11 10:30 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: Ellen B]
Mary Lynn Offline
Elf Manager

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 817
Gift certificate to their favorite hair salon
Magazine subscriptions....my Mom loved Birds 'n Blooms and
Real honest handwritten newsy snail mail letters - often
I bought a nice selection of cards...Sympathy, Birthday, wedding Anniversary, Get well, thinking of you etc. .....put them all in a decorative tin, added a couple book of stamps, and put $5 and $10 bills inside, too ...in case she wanted to send money along with her wishes....
Warm slippers (with non skid soles)
Really really good flannel sheets (we live in Wisconsin)
An absolutely lovely/soft/comfy nightgown and bathrobe (for hospital stays if nothing else)

#211096 - 11/16/11 06:28 AM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: Mary Lynn]
marywarning Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 05/01/99
Posts: 7302
Loc: Greer, S.C.
I am older and I like Gift Cards.

When my Mom was alive I also bought her subcriptions to 2 different magazines plus other stuff.

#211102 - 11/16/11 08:04 AM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: marywarning]
Carolfs Offline
Elf Manager

Registered: 07/06/03
Posts: 515
My grandmother always liked receiving a gift certificate to her beauty salon.

I come from a gambling family and scratch off lottery tickets are always a hit.

If money is tight, you could pay the utility, phone, fuel, etc. bill for one month.


#211134 - 11/16/11 12:33 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: Carolfs]
Betty Peach Offline
Elf Engineer - Toy Design

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 402
Loc: Longmont, CO
My mother (who died last April) had seven children, so it was very difficult to find something different. There is a wide range of income levels among the children, so the "pitch in for something big" didn't go over well. (surprisingly with the lower income sister even though it was "whatever you can afford") About four years ago, I had the billing address changed to mine on her phone bill and added unlimited long distance. It was not a gift she could open on her birthday, Mother's Day, Christmas or any other gift giving occasion, but she was living on a very limited income and she really appreciated it. She had extra money each month for whatever.

#211136 - 11/16/11 01:01 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: Betty Peach]
luckdragon Offline
Santa's Helper

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 8490
Loc: Greensboro, NC
What about a family portrait? Do you visit them during the holidays? If so, maybe check into getting as many family members as you can together with them and taking a family picture either with a digital camera and take it somewhere to print it out in a large format like an 8X10 or at a studio.

With the mention of gift cards, I always prefer practical gift cards, so maybe for a local drug store to help with medication or at a grocery store.

If you choose to do a drug store gift card, have fun with it and buy up some cold medicine, a mug, hot chocolate packets, bag of marshmallows, box of tissues, mittens, a little vaporizer (those small ones that use the inserts), cough drops, and pop it into a nice gift basket. This isn't meant to sound mean. It is cold/flu season no matter your age. And this stuff gets very expensive.

Gift baskets are fun to make, period. I saw a suggestion for a movie theater gift card. With that, go to a theater, ask if they can sell/give you an empty popcorn bucket (sometimes you can find these at stores like World Market). Then, make a gift presentation with the bucket, the gift card, some microwave popcorn, those theater size candy boxes, maybe a DVD, etc. I love making theme baskets.

#211137 - 11/16/11 02:05 PM Re: Looking for gift ideas for old(er) people... [Re: Mary Lynn]
Mistletoad Offline
Elf Engineer - Toy Design

Registered: 08/02/99
Posts: 478
Loc: OK
1. Prepaid gas card

2. Gift Certificate for car to be detailed

3. Gift certificate for lawn care, or landscaping. ( print out the gift certificate with an amount you want to spend, then notify the lawn/landscaping company to come and collect from you when the job is completed, verify with recipient it was done to their satisfaction first).

4. Donation to Sunday School Class or Church in the recipients's name, (we bought nice padded folding chairs for my Dad's Sunday School class one year)

5. Donation in the recipients name to a service or organization in need that your loved one supports. (Senior Care Community Service organizations, etc.)

6. Large print Bible

7. Gift certificate for home safety inspection by a cerfitifed home safety inspector. Checks loose brick, walkways, electrical outlets, fire hazards, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, outdoor safety lighting, railings, anything that has the potential for falls, accidents, tree limbs on roof.

8. Gift certificate for a year's worth of pest control services

10.Gift certificate for public transportation, senior citizen transportation services.

11.Gift certificates to various restaurants, subway, chili's, applebees, burger king mcdonalds that food can be attained without getting out of the car, or quick curbside takeout ideal for disabled or impaired, or seniors who don't want to get out of the car at dark but don't want to cook either.

12. Gift certificate for pet grooming or vet care from their preferred clinic. Most seniors enjoy the company of dog or cat or some type of pet and appreciate help with these expensive services.

13. Gift certificate to PetsMart. See above!

14.Send a gift box filled with all of the items that most remind you of your loved one. To my aunt I filled it will all of the things that reminded me of her (a beautiful dress pin, red fingernail polish, peanut candy logs, black leather gloves, clove gum, dollar bills, (she always gave us kids money when we would go visit her for the 5 and dime store) book of wise women's quotes, energy bars, box of nice thank you notes,along with a note from me detailing why each of those items reminds me of her and how her life influenced me and benefited me.
I loved doing #14 alot!!
Hope this helps.
"Your actions are who you aspire to be; your reactions are who you’ve already become."Star Savage

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