Buying gifts for anyone during the holidays can be a daunting task, especially if it is for someone who has accumulated generations of hobbies and interests. Here are 10 great gift ideas for older adults of any age:
- Art Supplies: Adult colouring books are all the rage and help with mindfulness whilst calming anxiety.
- An IPAD or similar device: Newfangled electronic devices are a great way for older adults to exercise brain power. They offer easy to use touch screens and large print options. They are also an amazing idea for staying in touch and allowing for family members who are long distances away to see each other on a consistent basis.
- Puzzles: Picture puzzles or word problems can help keep the mind sharp and are a fun way to spend time together. Puzzles are especially good for those suffering from Alzheimer’s in low piece count options.
- Tickets to a play or cultural passes: Local recreation centres offer great activities from museum and zoo tours to attending cultural community events. If you know your loved one likes one specific place why not buy them a seasons pass?
- Tea: Generally speaking, tea is a great gift to give anyone. Many older people, especially if immobile, are not aware that there are now entire stores dedicated to making and selling incredible combinations of teas. Broaden their taste buds with some new tea mixtures or accessories.
- Membership to a gym or meeting with a nutritionist: Stay- ing social and active are very important factors in warding off medical issues as you age. The gym is a great place to work out at your own pace while still staying social in group classes.
- Gift certificates for senior services and care: What do you get
the older adult in your life who has everything? Peace of mind and the ability to age in their own home is a wonderful gift. Many caregiving services, like ours, offer gift certificates that can be used towards any care services such as meal delivery, respite care companions or transportation to doctors appointments.
- A pet: Research shows pet companionship improves the physical health and mental well-being of older adults, even reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels and physician visits. Please speak with your loved one and ask them before purchasing them a pet to make sure they are on board with the idea and have the ability to properly care for the animal.
- Personalized photo albums: Put together a family photo album or scrapbook. Many online sites make it even easier by placing all of your photos into a book and shipping it for you.
- Home safety equipment: Grab bars, specialized dinnerware, and even simple tools such as grippers for helping to open jars can make the life of a personal with arthritis or other aging ailments easier.
If you are an older adult reading this blog post thinking that you also have limited ideas on what to purchase for your family members or friends bridging the generational gap, comment or email us and we can help!
Mothers are often the ones coaxing their children to socialize and make friends with other children. Science is now proving that mother’s friendship-prodding may actually save your life one day. Establishing and maintaining social connections as you grow older helps both men and women stay healthier, age well and live longer.
The U.S. Harvard Women’s Health Watch in 2010 reported on a study that examined data from more than 309,000 people. The analysis found that those without satisfying family ties or social bonds with friends, neighbors or colleagues are 50 percent more likely to die prematurely. The mortality risk is comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.
Researchers have long noted how social interaction affects mental and physical health. Going it alone is linked to depression, higher blood pressure and cognitive decline with age. Countering an isolated life with rewarding relationships does more than increase longevity.
Personal companionship is shown to:
• Boost the immune system.
• Improve cardiovascular health.
• Release stress-reducing hormones.
• Enhance nutrition and digestion.
• Regulate the body’s blood sugar level. • Lift self-esteem.
• Decrease the length of hospital stays.
A widespread Swedish study noted that people 75 and older who continue with meaningful connections to family and friends also exhibit reduced dementia risk. Overall, social support seems to help older adults have a better quality of life in general.
“Sharing your ups and downs with others lightens the load of daily living,” said Laura Greenway- Balnar. “We find this especially true with the older adults we serve. Many seniors struggle with the loss of a spouse, decreased mobility and a diminished outlook for the future. I am always encouraged to see how extending a kindness, a listening ear and caring friendship helps older loved ones stay happier and healthier.”
As scientists continue to investigate the health benefits for older adults who engage with others, the positive news is that cultivating your companionship circle is possible at any age. Consider these relationship-building tips:
- Foster relationships that bring joy. Life is too short to surround yourself with negative or ill-tempered people. Bond more with people who truly make you smile.
- Mentor someone. Thousands of people from young kids to older adults could benefit from coaching in reading or math to life skills and decision making. Your life experience is valuable.
- Volunteer. Volunteers are needed for animal shelters, hospitals, libraries and schools.
- Join group activities. Community clubs or local recreation centres offer enjoyable activities from museum and zoo tours to attending community events.
- Invite others for coffee or a meal. Aim for a once-a-week gathering for coffee or a meal. Meet out, dine in or make a simple meal together.
- Develop a solid rapport with grandchildren and younger adults. Learn about each other’s interests and enjoy fun activities together. Ask each other for help or advice (help with cooking, computers, falling in love, etc.).
- Share family histories and photo albums. Take time to recall classic family adventures.
- Put together a family photo album and make copies for everyone in the family (it makes a nice gift too!)
- Include friends and family in everyday routines. Need to run errands? Invite along a companion. Routinely walk? Grab a partner. Common tasks and exercise sessions are typically more fun when shared with others.
- Fall in love with a pet. Research shows pet companionship improves the physical health and mental well-being of older adults, even reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels and physician visits.
For those who cannot be present as a caregiver or regular companion to older loved ones, Laura recommends contacting a homecare organization to provide companionship services, such as playing games, assisting with meal preparation and errands. This type of homecare support can also keep you up to date on how your loved one is doing on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Experts advise that having hundreds of social media and email friends does not ensure the same health benefits as engaging with others in regular, face-to-face contact. While it is fun to message and post away online, remember that a smile, a hug, a couple of laughs and conversation with another human – in person – may well clear your arteries, protect your memory and lengthen your longevity. So as you age, continue to engage well with others because doing so is a true lifesaver.
About the Author of this Blog Post:
Laura Greenway-Balnar is both Owner and President of Right at Home Canada in Guelph, Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo. Right at Home Canada offers both non-medical and medical support to seniors and adults with disabilities who want to continue to live at home safely, comfortably and independently. For more information on Right at Home Canada, visit http://www.rightathomecanada.com/guelph or contact our local head office for the tri-city area at 1-844-2320-4663 (HOME) or by email at email@example.com
Welcome to the Right at Home Guelph, Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo (Tri-City) Blog! At Right at Home, we are The Heart of Homecare. We provide the Right Care, the Right Way, with the Right People, for the Right Reasons.
Issues affecting seniors and their families, is a subject we hold both near and dear to our hearts. We have been caregivers, parents, children and companions to those dealing with matters such as loneliness, poor nutrition, dementia, arthritis, mental health illness and chronic diseases, such as cancer. We have taken our passion, our experience and our caregiving nature to professionally and respectively support older adults and adults with disabilities to stay in their homes, comfortably, safely and independently.
Right at Home Canada in-home private healthcare support services are built around your individual requirements and provided on your time schedule. We provide non-medical and medical support, from transportation, meal preparation, personal support to skilled nursing assistance. Nothing is to little or too big to ask.
Our Heart of Homecare blog provides a place for seniors, families, caregivers and companions to gain insight and ideas about how to bring better care into the homes of their loved ones. We welcome your input, topic suggestions and questions.
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Welcome to The Heart of Homecare