As thoughts turn to Christmas shopping, we take a look at the best presents for elderly relatives and loved ones. There’s not a pair of socks in sight…
Light therapy lamp
Light therapy lamps can ease the gloom of deep winter. They are sometimes suggested as a relief for seasonal affective disorder (in this case, they must have a brightness of at least 2,500 lux to be effective). Similarly, ‘sunrise’ alarm clocks mimic natural sunlight to make getting out of bed on a December morning a little easier.
Digital photo frame
Digital frames are a lovely way to have hundreds of photos on display without cluttering a room. For Christmas, you could pre-load a frame with photos for your loved one. You could even offer to have old photos restored and digitised, giving your relatives a chance to see their oldest memories in a new way.
For a relative who doesn’t need more ‘stuff’ in their life, you could try giving them a monthly subscription to a service. It might be a platform like Netflix or Spotify, or a service like Audible – which might work well for a book lover with poor eyesight. Alternatively, try a monthly chocolate delivery like Montezuma’s, or fresh flower deliveries like Freddie’s Flowers.
Electronic key finder
There are many tech solutions to everyday problems that can be incredibly helpful for older people. Tile is a company that makes electronic ‘finders’, which you can attach to your keys – and if they go astray, you can find them via your phone. Another great invention is Ring, the doorbell with video: it lets people check who is outside before they open the door.
Many people are interested in finding out more about their family tree, and where they came from. Websites like ancestry.com are good for this. But for Christmas, you could go a step further and get your relative a DNA at-home test like 23andMe. The simple test will come back from research with all sorts of information about your genetics.
Flameless electric candles
It’s hard to beat candles for a cosy atmosphere, but they can be unsafe. One good way around the problem is to choose battery-powered candles instead. They’re increasingly realistic, with a lightbulb that flickers just like a flame.
You may have come across the latest update to comfortable bedding already – it has been used in the care community for several years. More recently, the weighted blanket has come to the mainstream as a way to alleviate anxiety and promote better sleep. The gentle pressure reduces cortisol, the hormone mainly responsible for stress, to relax the user.
Often said to help with overall mental agility, a collection of crossword or Sudoku puzzles could be a good present for an older relative. Even if they haven’t done many before, there are options available for all levels of difficulty.
Memory journal or photo book
It’s a nostalgic time of year, and a present that helps your relative look back over past memories can be a great one to give. An album of family photos, perhaps with captions or comments to help them remember the context of each one, might work. Or, if your relative likes to record their memories, why not try a journal?
Day trip with the family
One of the best presents you can give is your time. Try taking your loved one on a day trip, to somewhere new or to somewhere that they know and love. It might be best for just the two of you, or a trip for the whole extended family – either way, it’s a lovely way to make new memories.