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From the Neighborhood Press

Christmas Joys: what to get your senior for Christmas

Seniors across the country have been awaiting this holiday season with anticipation for months. In fact, for many, it was a hope that kept them going this year. For those in their retirement age to parents and children alike, it is the magic of the season that brings families together and builds inspiration for the New Year. In this most wonderful time of year, remembering our seniors right here in Arvada, Colorado is one of the most important acts of kindness and love you and your family can do. Whether you have an elderly grandparent, parent, aunt or uncle or even an elderly friend, you can make their Christmas extra special this year with just a small gift.

You’ve shopped for months for the kids. But what to get for your senior relative or friend? Perhaps they are in a retirement community, assisted living or even memory care, and will not be able to participate fully in your family celebration. It may be fun to take the kids on a little trip to shop for Grandma. Here are some fun ideas to brighten up your senior’s day. A small gift can go a long way. Try to think of something that will engage your senior’s senses. Bring them the taste, smell and sound of Christmas.

Something Homemade

Do you like to bake? Perhaps planning an afternoon with the family baking some Christmas cookies or fudge could be fun for all. Ask your senior relative what their favorite Christmas candy is. You can package it in a fancy tin with some ribbon and add a special Christmas card from the whole family. If your senior has dietary considerations, you can find a recipe that is sugar free or gluten free, for example. Tweaking the recipe to accommodate their health conditions is not very hard and there are now so many recipes you can find online to make just about anything you can think of! Some seniors may not be able to chew hard candies such as peanut brittle or desserts with large nuts, so a softer choice like fudge or chewy cookies may be a better option. Make sure to deliver your homemade Christmas goodies as soon as possible so they can experience those fresh aromas and flavors.

Cozy and soft. It’s chilly out. Warm slippers, a scarf or gloves are always welcome during these winter months. Does Grandma have a favorite color? Try getting a fun bright shade to brighten up her days. You could even include a Christmas card and tell her that the cozy hat and gloves are especially for future outings with the family! Giving seniors hope for good times in the future is important. Christmas will be over soon, and those family times could become sparse and few between. Let them know you will be around!

If you are wanting to get your senior something a little bigger and more useful this holiday season, you may consider setting them up with technology for virtual visits. An iPad, for example, can be set up with apps to facilitate video type calls. You can help them install Skype, FaceTime or Zoom and connect more in the new year. They can also use their new iPad to read books using a Kindle app, listen to audio books, or find virtual exercise classes. Giving them the ability to connect more with family throughout the new year could be the best gift you could give them. With Covid-19 concerns and restrictions constantly fluctuating, your senior can rest assured that they will be able to see their grandchildren at any time – even if they live far away.

Picture album. Seniors love looking at pictures, especially the old fashioned way with a real physical picture album. You could also create a picture book online, uploading pictures and designing each page exactly the way you want it. It’s a fun way to remember all the moments of the year you spent together with your loved one. You could also keep this gift in mind for next year – and remember to take pictures when you visit and take them on fun outings.

There are so many ways to make your senior feel appreciated and loved. Your gift can be something small but special, sprinkled with good smells, fun memories, or tasty treats. There is still time to think of something, even it it’s the day before Christmas. Even if your loved one is cared for by loving staff in an assisted living home or other type of senior community, never forget that family is still the most important thing in their life. Make their Christmas extra special this year!

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