Christmas shopping for older parents is sometimes challenging since they usually have everything they need in the way of clothes, appliances and decorations. What they're often missing, though, is the regular contact they once enjoyed with you, or the ability to do the things they used to do. With a little observation and your knowledge of their likes, dislikes and needs, you can come up with a gift that's not only thoughtful but often even necessary.
Gifts of Convenience
Older parents might appreciate Christmas gifts that make their lives a little easier. Set up an account with an online grocery-shopping site such as Net Grocer, and present them with a gift card to use for their first order. If your parents aren't computer-literate, offer to place their orders for them. Even if your parents are able to shop at a local store, they can use this gift when the weather is bad or they're feeling under the weather.
Buy several books of stamps and a supply of greeting cards for various occasions. Place them in a pretty storage box with alphabetical dividers.
If your parents enjoy watching movies, give them a membership to an online movie service or home delivery of DVDs.
Gifts of Service
Household chores can be difficult for older parents. If your parents could use some help with cleaning or yard work, set them up with a company that will provide services on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis, depending on your budget. If they need snow removal in the winter, find a company that provides that service.
If your parents can no longer drive, give them the gift of independence by arranging for transportation. Some agencies that specialize in home care will contract on an hourly basis so that you'll pay only for the time you need. Look into free or low-cost bus passes and check with social-service agencies to find out whether your parents qualify for government-run transportation programs.
Gifts of Communication
As parents age, they can become isolated. One of the best gifts they can receive is regular contact with loved ones and friends. Give your parents a pretty card with the message that you'll call or visit consistently. Set up a schedule with them and mark the dates on your calendar to give them as much importance as your other appointments.
If your parents are frail and you're concerned about their safety, present them with paid-up service with a company that monitors them daily. Choose a company that calls your parents at a pre-arranged time each day and gives them a communication device to use in case of emergencies.