Your parents, grandparents and elderly relatives are a special part of your family. They not only you’re your history but they also are the historians of the family. Whether they are active older adults or challenged by physical or mental illnesses as senior citizens, show your love and appreciation for your beloved aging family members this season with a gift that will make their lives easier, more fun or just memorable.
Customized photo keepsakes
Given with love and affection, Shutterfly is one of many online retailers offering personalized photo gifts appropriate for any celebration. Items such as a custom photo book filled with favorite family pictures or desktop plaques, glass prints or canvas prints will not only provide a lasting memento but may help trigger familiar memories. Gifts of jewelry and playing cards will let your parents or grandparents take images of their loved ones wherever they go and provide an ideal circumstance for the coveted humble brag. If your aging relative resides in an assisted living facility, personalized décor, such as pillows, woven blankets and fleece photo blankets may provide a familiar sense of home as well as help keep their memories alive.
If you or your kids are tech savvy, you can also create your own bound photo album by downloading the free easy-to-use software from Blurb or choose from an array of styles created by designers to build a personalize photo calendar with Minted.
If you are long on time but short on cash or have tech-savvy teenagers in the house, do your parents or grandparents a solid and help them digitize their photo collection. Depending on how many photos are involved and how many stories your aging loved ones like to tell, plan on spending at least a few hours or possible set a day and time once a month. If you upload the photos to the cloud, it will not only keep the photos safe but they will be accessible from various devices – making it easy to share memories with multiple family members. A wonderful opportunity to recall childhood memories or hear family stories you or your kids have never heard before. An added bonus, it is basically free to do using something like Heirloom, Google Photos or an Amazon Prime account with unlimited storage.
Buying tech gifts for anyone can be tricky, depending on how comfortable they are in technology in the first place. But for many older adults struggling to stay connected with their grandkids or long-distance loved ones, technology can be a useful tool. Just remember a technology gift to a grandparent usually requires a time commitment beyond just buying, wrapping and giving the gift. You should be prepared to help them set up the item, teach them how to use it and be available to occasionally trouble shoot. Just because you or your kids find technology simple, don’t assume your parents or grandparents will. An unusable gift isn’t helpful. To that end, if you do not have as much time as you would like to help troubleshoot technology issues for your loved ones, consider giving them a subscription to Bask Tech Support (LINK). For a moderate monthly fee, the remote tech support will listen to the problem and walk through a solution. If necessary, they can also connect remotely to the computer to back up data and clean up any issues with viruses and malware.
Aside from iPhone’s Facetime, Skype provides a great way to stay connected with your long-distance relatives but not everyone has a tablet, phone or computer with a built in web camera. If your relatives have an older computer, consider giving them a fun, foolproof webcam. There are many choices available or buy one directly from Skype.com. Or, if you are feeling a little flush this holiday season, consider buying them a tablet, such as an iPad Mini. Even if they only check their email and the weather channel, if you teach them how to use FaceTime or Skype, it could be one of the most useful gifts they receive. Once they master the basics, they may find technology is not as intimidating as they thought. However, if a tablet is just too big and expensive a jump right now, consider starting with a Kindle Fire to ease the transition into technology. It comes equipped with a front facing camera that can be used to Skype, access to Amazon’s remote tech help feature, “Mayday” and of course, they can download audio and e-books.
Sometimes the most appreciated gift is one that makes life easier. If your family member is coping with a physical challenge or must take numerous medications, Sabi offers several practical gifts ranging from health and wellness items to canes and accessories.
No matter what gifts you give this year, remember, your love and support are always the best gift of all. We wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season!
And if the time has come when your aging loved one is no longer able to live independently, please contact the knowledgeable staff at ElderLink to help you find elder care services or an assisted living facility within California that is customized for your family.