Sunday, December 4, 2011

More ideas for Grandma at Christmas..

This year I don't face the challenge to get Mom a Christmas gift.  She's getting 3 things that will make her life more comfty: 
  • a pencil box full of rectractible pens
  • several packets of eye glass wipes
  • a new fleece jacket with a hood. 
She loves to do cross-word puzzles and pens always seem to disappear - I know the aides take them since she can't possibly use up ink that fast.  I got several packets of pens and used a silver sharpie to write her name on them.  I found an "easy open" pencil box in the school department at a local large retailer and voila - gift #1 down.  I won't give her all the pens now; I'll stash them at home and mail her a few at a time.

The eye glass wipes are a must.  It seems her glasses are always dirty. The aides just don't have time to help residents wash their glasses.  So now she can do it herself.

The fleece jacket will go over big.  mom's got a couple of them already but they are looking ratting and old. She needs a "dressier" version.   I buy hooded ones for her because of her dowager's hump.   The fabric for the hood wraps up and around her neck to help keep her warm.

Some other ideas for gifts:
A "counter top" wreath hanger to hold photo frames.   This is basically a pole rising above a stand with a hook at the top.   Mom can't hang anything on the walls in her nursing home so I got a couple of these.  One sits on the night stand next to her bed and holds a photo frame.  The other sits next to the sink and holds seasonal decorations.

A cabinet hook (think kitchen towels)  to hang a photo frame, decorations or a jacket or sweater.  I found this in the kitchen department.  It's supposed to hook over a kitchen cabinet door and hold a dish towel but it's just the right size to go on the cabinet door or drawer front in mom's room too.  I got one for her birthday and hung a photo frame from it.  Be sure to find the lightest frame possible since you don't want to ruin the hinges on any cabinet doors.

Slippers - especially easy on and easy off slippers.   I got Mom some with velcro closure.  It's necessary now since she lacks the dexterity to tie shoes. 

Gift certificates to the nearest salon for shampoo and set.  I pay for a "resident trust" at mom's nursing home but some families can't afford to do this.   It would be nice if someone gave other residents a $40-50 gift certificate to the in-house salon.  This would get them 4-5 haircuts - it goes a long way toward helping them feel better.

Individually wrapped candy bars.  Do this ONLY if your elder can have sugar. While these aren't as good as a whole box of chocolates, it means that the candy will keep a long long time.  If they're in a nursing home or assisted living, it also gives them something to share with the staff or other residents.

Here's another idea for TIME but comes with something to do:  Get a couple boxes of Christmas cards and stamps then spend a couple of hours dictating messages to friends and family for your elder.   Let them sign the cards and then drop them in the mail.  It will help your elder feel like they can still do something meaningful for others.  And, if they get cards in return, let them know that others appreciate them and remember them.

Help them give something to others: capture your elders favorite recipes and prepare a small book of their recipes for others. If you can, write some stories about their relatives who taught them to cook; to do a craft like quilting or who most inspired them.  Have the elder sign all the copies before you distribute them.  One thing that means a lot to me is a few recipes that my grandmother actually wrote in her own hand.  It might also be nice to have grandma or grandpa write their recipes and scan them in then print them.

Subscription to magazines with large print or some that are good reading:  Readers Digest; or something that will stimulate their brains like Popular Mechanics, literary magazines or National Geographic.  I recommend avoiding things like Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, or others that are about food, fashion or home decorating - really, it's so inappropriate for someone their age, especially if they no longer live at home.

A clipboard with a compartment for documents.   My mom uses this as a light weight lap desk.  It's also a good place to hide pends from the aides!   I attached a strap of ribbon so it's easier to pick up. I drilled two holes in the end opposite the clip, then cut a 7 inch ribbon and poked then ends into the holes.  I tied knots at the ends of the ribbon so that they are inside the document compartment. 

If your elder is still at home: give them coupons to eat out at a local restaurant. Better yet, make a couple of appointments to take them to lunch and then FOLLOW THROUGH!!!!  This is especially important in Jan, Feb and March when it's cold and dark and they might not get much company.

A telephone with volume control on the handset and large numbers.  This is especially helpful for those with hearing aides.  Hearing aids and telephones don't always work well together.   If they want to remove their hearing aide, the volume control will permit them to hear well without it.

What can I get grandma for Christmas.  What can I get for grandpa for Christmas.