Your 70-year-old father might tell you that he doesn’t need anything when his birthday or the holidays roll around -- and there might be some truth to that. After all, at his age, he's probably bought -- and replaced -- most of the stuff that was on his “must own” list. Appropriate gifts could depend on your father’s housing and mobility status, as some over-70 fathers are active and living on their own, while others are not.
Mobility and Support
If your father lives alone or with a senior spouse, consider a panic button he can use if he falls or needs assistance. If he lives in a large senior center, a scooter could help him zip around to visit with his friends if he has mobility issues. If he doesn’t drive much, provide gift certificates that he can use for free transportation to the grocery store, the theater or community events. Headphones for the TV or multimedia center can allow him to adjust the volume to his comfort level without disturbing other family members.
Lots of Free Time
Many 70-year-old fathers are retired and have lots of free time. Give him a gift that helps fill that time, such as a gift certificate for a computer class or craft store. Provide transportation tickets for him to visit you if you don’t live close by, or that allow him to visit other family members and friends that he doesn't see often. Purchase DVDs of his favorite movies, music CDs, magazines or books that he can enjoy and share with friends and family.
Personal Gift Ideas
As your father ages, he might develop some new aches and pains. Purchase gift certificates for an in-home massage or a gym membership so he can maintain his mobility and flexibility. Another option is to have prepared meals delivered to his home that he can store in the freezer and pop into the oven or microwave when he's hungry. If cleaning or lawn care are becoming challenges for him, schedule a service to assist him on a regular basis or arrange for single visits to help winterize his home, assist in planting a garden or handle spring cleaning.
Miscellaneous Gift Choices
If your father has a special charity, make a donation in his honor. Or, work with your father to record his life story and put it in a form that he can share with family and friends such as a digital slide presentation. Write your special memories with him on slips of paper and place them in a memory jar that he can read at his leisure. You might also make him a quilt that includes the names of family members and their special messages of love. Or, create a large family tree, complete with pictures to remind him of those who love him most.
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Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.
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