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Gifts and Givers ... From a Senior Point of View

We're often in a quandary about a gift for someone whom we want to remember. Sometimes we hear, "Don't spend any money on me." Other times the statement is, "I really don't need anything." However, the gift is usually meant to say, "I care; I'm thinking about you."

The following is a partial list of possible gifts. You may have even better ideas. Remember to keep the receiver in mind. You wouldn't want to give a box of candy to someone who can't eat sweets, or a small print book to a friend with eye problems. Here we go!

  • Coffee mugs with sayings
  • Note paper and/or stamps
  • Books with large print
  • Specialty books (glass collecting, needlepoint, crossword puzzle, pets, fish and game, bird watching)
  • Personal gift certificates (pet sitting, visits, yard work, floor waxing, car washing, hairdo's, manicures, etc.)
  • Sheet music, records, cassettes; a tape recorder/player; earphones or headset
  • Under-bed storage unit
  • Plants, gardening equipment, or a gift certificate from the florist (recipient decides when to redeem)
  • Placemats
  • Magazine or newspaper subscription
  • Pill cutter
  • Pill box
  • Night lamp, or bedside or chairside "gooseneck" to put light where needed
  • Indoor-outdoor thermometer
  • Grocery store gift certificates
  • Restaurant gift certificates
  • Bird feeder, seed, identification guide book
  • Gourmet coffee, tea
  • Games
  • Bible in cassettes (many versions available: King James, Living Bible, with sound effects, etc.)
  • AT&T gift certificate, or other telephone company
  • Telephone for hearing impaired
  • Sachet
  • Covered coat hangars
  • Personal TV set with remote control
  • Calendars
  • Personal photo albums
  • Mobiles
  • Small afghan
  • Knitted slippers
  • Home made baked articles - 'specially packed
  • Ingredients for one meal or a casserole dish . . . eat it with them
  • Paper products
  • Gift boxes of meat for the freezer
  • Gift certificates for car care or gasoline
  • Dried fruits or canned fruits packed in juice or water
  • Gift certificate to Travel Agency
  • Special diet foods
  • Clothes for special handicaps
  • Wheelchair related items (e.g., saddlebags)
  • Carrier bag to attach to a walker
  • Concert tickets and a ride to get there
  • Craft supplies, e.g., knitting yarn; also teach a new pattern or skill
  • Stuffed toy (bear) or soft doll for those who have mental impairments and do not respond to usual stimuli
  • Magnifying glass or large thin sheet magnifier, the size of a whole page

Remember, if someone remembers you with a gift, they care. The best response is "thank you," not "you shouldn't have." Love is giving and receiving.

Note: This article was contributed by Alletta Schadler, Extension Home Economist, Lebanon County, and Francine Gates of the Lebanon County Mental Health Association