What defines a good gift? Is it something costly? Costly in what ways? Is it something physical? Maybe, the most precious gifts are not physical things at all. As our family and friends age, gifts begin to take on new requirements. Here are some practical gifts of love for senior women in our lives.
The realities of aging
Aging brings about many changes. Reading becomes difficult. Manual dexterity begins to wane. Hearing diminishes. Mobility is often impaired.
Along with physical changes, many women begin to downsize. Living space shrinks. The accumulation of trinkets becomes more of a burden than a blessing. Furthermore, many seniors find it difficult to get rid of well-meaning, yet non-practical gifts that came from someone they love. A plethora of non-consumable gifts is not helpful.
Please don’t get me wrong. Not all physical gifts create clutter for a senior woman. Just remember there are alternatives.
Practical gifts for any senior woman
(1) Flameless candles are lovely gifts without the danger of creating an accidental fire. Many even come with remote controls. There is just something cozy about watching a flame flicker as evening awakens dancing shadows on the walls and ceiling.
(2) Something that most families like to do for elderly friends and family is to share photos of grandchildren, weddings, and birthdays. The dilemma then is where to put all of them. You can solve that problem by purchasing a digital photo frame and a couple of memory cards. Photo frames come in different sizes and different price ranges. As you have new photos to share, add them to the spare memory card. Then when you visit your senior friend or family member, switch out the cards with the newer update.
Personal care items
(3, 4, 5, 6) Pedicures, manicures, massages, and a trip to the hairdresser are appreciated gifts. If your senior woman can’t drive- take her to the appointment. Your time and company will be equally cherished.
(7, 8, 9) When it comes to soaps, hand creams, and perfumes, be careful about scents. You need to do your homework to know what she likes and dislikes. Personally, I am sensitive to lavender which is the scent used for many of these products. As much as I might love someone, I would never use a lavender-scented personal care item.
(10) Adult coloring books have become popular, even in nursing homes. Dot Barlow has a great series of nature coloring books. To help bring more scripture into a senior woman’s life, LeeAnn Fox has several scripture coloring books available.
(11) Word games help keep minds sharp. Bananagrams has fewer tiles than Scrabble so usually is not too frustrating. Just make sure you play these games with her periodically.
Gifts of time
(12) Many senior women are lonely. Take her to lunch. Transport her to some of her appointments. Help her complete a project.
(13, 14) Listening is a precious gift. If you don’t know how to get the conversation started, try using Table Topics conversation cards. This particular one contains questions about the past, present, and future.
A walk down memory lane
When a woman reaches her 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, she has a wealth of interesting stories just waiting to be told.
(15) If you have access to family photos, have your senior friend or family member tell you the stories behind the photos. Ask her what it was like growing up, going to school, having a first job, or being a first-time mom. If you are able to make an audio recording of the memories, have them burned onto a CD and give them back to her as a gift. You can also make copies for other family members. You will have blessed her as well as yourself.
Practical gifts for senior women with diminishing eyesight
(17) Page magnifiers are great gifts. You can purchase these with or without lighting. They are nice to use with smaller print Bibles, books, and magazines.
(18) Large print Bibles are often appreciated by the senior woman who loves to read.
(19) Many women like to play cards but have difficulty shuffling and manipulating them. Large playing cards will help with this problem.
(20, 21, 22,23) Other ideas include an Audible book subscription, big letter Bananagrams (make sure you play it with her), a low vision keyboard if she is tech-savvy, and a talking blood pressure system.
Practical gifts for senior women with decreased joint function
(24) When a woman has to use a walker, it is hard to carry a purse. Walker bags now come in many decorative styles and colors. Lots of pockets make them extremely useful and simulate a purse.
(25) When a person has to sit for long periods, a foam seat cushion is a welcome relief.
(26) For puzzle lovers who need larger puzzle pieces, Portrait Puzzles lets you choose the size of the puzzle and the number of pieces. Using a family photo for the puzzle also gives her a special memory.
(27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32) Other ideas include delivery service from a local grocery store, gift certificates to a favorite restaurant with Uber Eats delivery, motion-activated lights for the bathroom and closet, easy to use jar openers, and walker ski glides (no more tennis balls).
Practical gifts for senior women who are lonely
(33) When people are lonely, laughing helps to lighten their mood. Find out what her favorite TV show was back in the day. Most of them are available in DVD format now. Most senior women watched “I Love Lucy”. These are always good for a chuckle.
(34) Lonely women often struggle with depression. Pets have long been used as therapy for these feelings. Joy For All has lifelike pets (cats and dogs) that make animal sounds, feel natural, have a heartbeat that can be felt and so much more. They are clean and safe. The lonely senior woman won’t trip on them, have to feed them, let them out for doggie duty, or have to clean a smelly litter box.
(35) Weighted blankets are becoming popular and have the same benefits as person-to-person contact. They make elders feel safe and secure. However, they should not be used with people who have sleep apnea, asthma, or claustrophobia. Here are tips from Healthline on choosing a weighted blanket.
The gift of joy for the giver and receiver
If you are looking for more joy in your life, focus on others. Make it a point to encourage a senior woman with a practical gift of love. Never underestimate how much joy it will bring to her. We never outgrow the need to feel loved and cared for. A little kindness is worth so much and costs so little.
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