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What Do the Elderly Want from Santa?



"As my father ages, it gets harder and harder to figure out what to get him for Christmas. He is homebound, watches television all day, and basically doesn't do much of anything. I can never think of anything to give him as a gift. I come up with lame sweaters each year because I have no ideas. Since caregiving is your thing, I was hoping you might have some."



Gift giving to the elderly can be quite the challenge. Many individuals of a certain age have everything they need and do not really desire anything new. When interests become limited for physical reasons, it gets even harder. 

One thing we all crave is connection. Seeing our children and grandchildren is one of the greatest joys of aging for most people. Even if the visits are brief or virtual, being in touch with our loved ones is the best gift we can receive. A few ideas surrounding that concept are presented here:

  1. Bake a new cookie recipe to deliver on the first of each month. Call it “cookie of the month” and start with a Christmas batch and a card to share the dates and maybe the cookies that will be delivered. Place a nice bow on each delivery.
  2. Plan an outing including the transportation, your time, and all of the details surrounding the event you are planning.
  3. Plan a project at his home that you do, such as painting, cleaning, or planting something.
  4. Prepare one meal a week for a month that you bring and share with him.

There are numerous other ways to give a meaningful gift of time to a parent that involves more than watching your parent watch television. 

  1. Upgrade one item that your father uses each day. It could be an electric tooth brush, a high end shaving brush, great slippers, or great lounge pants. 
  2. Treat him to some fabulous chocolate or luxury coffee.
  3. Outings are a bit of work, but even a drive through and lunch in the car can be fun these days.
  4. Provide a photo book and schedule a date to put together his story in photos with a short description of each one.
  5. Bring a simple new card game and hang around to play with him.
  6. Schedule a backyard gathering to celebrate the end of COVID in his yard or space for which you do the leg work and provide the food.

The common theme here is giving time. Do realize that the older we get, the more valuable a child’s time becomes to him--the greatest gift of all.

Have a wonderful holiday with your father.


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