Laughter Trumps Sandwich Generation Challenges
WOW! Can you believe how close it is to Christmas!!! I’m hoping y’all had a lovely Thanksgiving. Our Sandwich Generation celebration was sweet and fun. A couple of my kids and grandkids and I walked the city’s Turkey Trot and had a delightful time. And since the main purpose was to raise food for the hungry and we were able to help do that with our payment and the extra canned goods we brought, it was a fun time for a great purpose. Later that evening, they rejoined my senior mom and myself for a traditional dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and Lemon Meringue pie – along with my latest faux turkey fun – a cheese ball, crackers and pretzels turkey. Talk about a bit of a FAIL! The face I made was terrible. But there was a lot of fun and laughter over it so I think it was also a success. 🙂 Considering all the Sandwich Generation challenges we all deal with, I’ll take laughter as a win any old time! How about you?
It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas…Shopping
Now it’s on to Christmas and Christmas shopping. And WHAT do I get for each loved one including needing gift ideas for elderly parents. Not to mention, how do I find the time TO get anything with this year’s Sandwich Generation challenges ramping up big time! In the past few months, three of my elderly beloveds have been diagnosed with memory issues including Alzheimer’s Disease. Couple that with some chronic UTIs for sweet seniors on both coasts and other health issues, being actively involved in caring for my sweet senior mom who lives with me as well as overseeing another loved one back east and I’m definitely back in the throes of dealing with Sandwich Generation issues BIG time!
Gift ideas for Elderly Parents
For this year, I’ve solved part of my gift giving headaches by drafting two of my kids into helping me. I’m sending the money and they’re combining with their own budget to get some of the bigger items our older grandkids will love – a win-win for all! Amazon will be another big helper, as always, for other loved ones who don’t live nearby. And yay! I was able to get some of my shopping done over the past year. So MOST of my shopping should be fairly easy. Still, there are a few things remaining on my list. And I know some of you are right at the beginning of the holiday shopping marathon – yet also juggling plenty of Sandwich Generation Challenges of your own! So I thought I’d do some research for fun, interesting and unique ideas to help us all with this. 🙂
Hugs of Love for Elderly Parents
Both of my senior moms are feeling the winters’ chill this year a bit more than normal. And one thing they both definitely love? Super soft throw blankets to wrap around them when they are cool! (That’s my senior mom’s fave – an owl throw – above). For that matter, my youngest grandbaby loves his super soft plush blankets as well. I guess you’re never too old or too young for that sense of being hugged by a blanket that feels like a plush teddy bear! When my oldest grandchild was feeling a bit homesick last year at college, I headed to Amazon and sent her one of their lovely plush polyester blankets and she loved it! So when one of my senior moms was feeling a bit chilly in her new residence, I sent her one as well. And she loves it. Best thing about super soft plush blankets as gift ideas for elderly parents? It’s like giving a hug all wrapped up in red and green! Or purple or blue or even a cute picture! My senior mom has a big owl on one of hers. One senior in our family prefers the normal throw size of about 50″ x 70″. It makes it easy for them to take it on and off. Another prefers a slightly bigger size. Here are some lovely super soft plush blanket gift ideas for our elderly parents:
Mail Makes Our Elderly Parents SMILE
Mail is something we all enjoy getting. That’s especially true for our elderly parents who don’t get as much as they used to. Which makes mail one of my gift ideas for elderly parents! One way of ensuring they get fun mail (not normal bills and junk) at least one or two times a month is giving them magazine subscriptions. I regularly give my elderly mom a gift subscription to TV Guide. She doesn’t read all the issues. But she reads enough of them to make them much less expensive than buying them at the store. I’ve also given her Woman’s Day and Family Circle. She enjoys looking at them, sharing them, and getting mail. Her all time favorite magazine, also a regular gift order, is Birds and Bloom. Another sweet senior has enjoyed Guideposts and Reader’s Digest. They offer short stories that are easy and easy to hold.
More Brain Food Ideas
Speaking of brain food ideas, how about some fun puzzles seniors can enjoy while they exercise their brain? Those can definitely be fun activities elderly seniors enjoy and stay busy with. You’ll find resources for easy crossword puzzles and easy words search puzzles for elderly parents at my post, Fun Activities for Elderly Seniors in Your Life, but here are some more other brainy Christmas gift ideas for elderly parents – like the trivia questions my long distance senior and I have been enjoying.
If your elderly parents are able to do more advanced brain teasers and puzzles, you might want to check out Puzzle Master. Puzzle Master has a large and unique collection of wire and wood brain teasers. In addition to this they also carry specialty jigsaws and chess sets.
Check these ideas out:
- The Village, 540 Piece 3D Jigsaw Puzzle Made by Unicorn
- Price: $39.99
- Leaning Tower - 3D Jigsaw Puzzle
- Price: $17.99
- Wire Puzzle Set #1 - Group of 4 - Hanayama
- Price: $40.00
- Curly Cube
- Price: $27.99
- Brain Teasers: Fun Sticks
- Price: $13.99
- Brain Teasers: Crazy Block
- Price: $13.99
- Half Hour
- Price: $32.99
- Nur Mut
- Price: $12.99
- Magic Dominoes
- Price: $29.99
- Price: $14.99
- Silver Color Chess Puzzle Set
- Price: $199.99
- Napoleon vs. Wellington
- Price: $73.99
- Solitaire Chess
- Price: $32.99
- Painted Metallic Crusade
- Price: $112.80
- Save the Queens Chess Puzzle with Cover
- Price: $19.99
- V-CUBE 3 Flat (3x3x3): Chessboard Illusion
- Price: $26.99
- Golf (Large) Brain Teaser
- Price: $18.99
- Touch Brain Partner
- Price: $50.99
- Brain-Boosting Cryptic Puzzles - book
- Price: $11.99
- Twister - Brain Teaser - Wood Puzzle
- Price: $19.99
- Lincoln's Quest II
- Price: $29.99
Family Photo Joys
When my kids were little, I made ornaments one year out of family photos. We still have most of those and I treasure them as the people in them are no longer with us. Nowadays, one of our favorite gifts every year is a family photo book. My kids are all even bigger photo lovers than me. Most of what I know I learned from them! They all take tons of photos, send them to the one who is going to create the book. She picks the best, combines them beautifully, and uses Blurb to create awesome photo books that my senior mom and I, and the other recipients all love! One of my kids has always been a mega Creative Memories fan. She is so happy with how these photo books turn out, she's considering turning her old albums into photo books. They're easier to look at, last well, and she finds the grandkids often look through the photo books. Rarely does she find them perusing the bigger photo albums. They are definitely much easier for our elderly parents to handle as well! Making them excellent gift ideas for elderly parents. Not all my kids are online so I can't show off one of my own books. The Daily Digi and Tom's Guide both have good reviews, good examples, and list their top choices for creating photo books.
If you live with or near your elderly parents, or they have someone near them who can help them, I also highly recommend an iPad for photos for them. I don't suggest you replace the photo books with the iPad. The photo books will work long after they are no longer able to enjoy the iPad. Plus they may well enjoy the different tactile differences between the iPad and the photo book. Not to mention the fact that when the battery dies or you are out, they can enjoy the photo book no matter what. 🙂
Both have decided advantages. But the iPad is a fun delight for instant updates and video smiles! My senior mom can't do much on her iPad anymore. In fact, most of the time, she only enjoys it when I get it for her and open it. Then, you should see her face light up as she enjoys fresh new photos of her great-grandkids. And the videos just make her so happy to hear the voices of little ones, whether near or far away.
Of course, if your senior parent can still manage with technology, there are plenty of other great things they can do on the iPad. Read or listen to books, watch TV shows that may not be available on their TV, and more. But when all else fails, those photo delights will keep them wanting that iPad to stay nearby!
Easy Comfort Clothes for Elderly Seniors
As our parents are aging, things are getting harder for them. Nothing is more frustrating than when clothes become harder to put on and less comfortable to wear. That means that giving easy clothes that are comfortable for them is definitely one of my gift ideas for elderly parents! I have shared many great options and you can find these easily under my category, Comfort Clothes Seniors, including a recent post about velcro clothing seniors appreciate. It shows off a lovely blouse I bought for my senior mom. She wore that to the doctor's office recently where she ended up having an ekg. The nurse was so impressed when we showed off how easy it was to open that velcro blouse quickly AND how quickly we re-"buttoned" it. 🙂 When you are searching online for easy clothes for elderly seniors, a good search term is "adaptive clothing elderly." And, as I often share, some of my favorite resources for these items, besides wonderful Amazon, include Blair and Adaptive Clothing & Footwear by Silvert's. And by the way...
Smarter Phones for Elderly Seniors
As much as I love my iPhone - which truly is a Smart Phone, except when it's driving me nuts - I would NEVER give one to my elderly mom or any of my elderly relatives. As they age, their skills tend to decrease. And as we all know, those smart phones keep on INcreasing what they can do - making them hard for ALL of us including my kids. Even some of my grandkids are occasionally befuzzled by new technology. Jitterbug simple cell phones elderly parents can actually use make the best sense for them and are lovely gift ideas for elderly parents. I freely admit, I shall probably have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to get a large simple cell phone when my eventually elderly mind and body require it. But when I do, I will be getting a Jitterbug flip phone! And, in fact, that's what I just got one elderly loved one this past week. I had GreatCall send it to me directly. I'm setting it up on the computer and on the phone for them. Then I'll re-wrap it and send it on its way to its new owner. Hopefully they will be as happy with it as my mom and I have been with hers!
This Jitterbug simple cell phone for seniors is a newer model than my mom's. Personally, I'd rather they have kept it even simpler like hers is. Eventually, she may have to change. But we'll definitely wait as long as possible. This new one offers a magnifier, text messaging, a camera, and some brain games. I'm taking photos of every part of it, so that if my loved one wants to try one of those - or accidentally ends up in one of those, I can help them through and out of them. 😉
Two of the best things about the Jitterbug simple cell phone for elderly parents?
- Red button at the bottom at that says 5*. If they have any problems, they just push that. It's their own personal "911." The operator they talk to will have information about them specifically that can help medical and other emergency personnel to help them quickly. That information can be provided by them or their family/caregivers via phone or computer. One of the things I've been doing this weekend is filling in the questionnaire with their prescription info, contact phone numbers, health info and more. It's taken time but it's well worth it in an emergency. BUT DO MAKE SURE TO WARN THEM NEVER TO TOUCH IT UNLESS IT IS A REAL EMERGENCY - or they will have an unexpected visit from the FIRE DEPARTMENT! 😉 (If it becomes an issue, or your are concerned it is, it might be best to turn that 5* service off and give them an emergency alert pendant in addition to the phone. They are less likely to have accidental emergency calls that way. 🙂 )
- Just like in the good ole days of the 1950s +/-, if they want to make a call and can't remember the number or how to make the call, they can just dial 0. They tell the friendly operator who they want to call and if it's programmed in there (see #1), the operator can place the call for them. That can be especially handy for those of us caring for aging parents long distance who are dealing with dementia. They can still enjoy chatting on the phone but may have a hard time making that phone call. But so many of them still remember "dialing 0" for help from the operator. So it gives them a little bit of extra independence at a time when so much of their independence is disappearing.
Talk about a sweet gift of communication with a hint of independence. 🙂
Room for These Gift Ideas for Our Elderly Parents!
As many of us in the Sandwich Generation know well, our aging parents' space may be growing smaller. This is doubly true for those whose health needs increase. We recently added one of those cool lifting recliner chairs as well as one of those wonderful adjustable hospital beds for home use to our furnishings/caregiving arsenal. As a result, we had to do some re-shuffeling of furniture, rearranging of the household, and currently my car is parked outside while I weed and sort through the garage to compensate for the last space. This past year, another beloved senior had to move from their three bedroom house to an independent senior apartment of one room. Whatever the reasons, it's very common in this stage of life for our elderly parents' spaces to grow smaller. That can add a bit of stress when picking just the right As I was reviewing and proofing this post, I was happy to see that none of these Christmas gift ideas for elderly parents will take up much space. That makes them doubly handy, doesn't it?
Tips for Christmas Gift Ideas for Elderly Parents?
Well, those are my suggestions for this year's Christmas gift ideas for our elderly parents. How about you? Do you have other suggestions for Christmas gift ideas for our elderly seniors? We'd love to hear them. Or hear what you end up getting this year. And in the meantime, while you are busy joining me in the shopping mode while still juggling the many Sandwich Generation challenges, be sure to take time to take care of yourself. Caring for the caregiver is definitely vital all year long, and especially during the holidays when time is short and stress can double. After all, the best gift we can give our loved ones is ourselves and our care and we can only do that if we are healthy. 🙂 Have a blessed and beautiful Christmas season!