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Holiday shopping for seniors

It’s Christmastime, and that means finding the right gifts for the people on your shopping list. And that is not always an easy task. What should you get for an elderly relative? And what if you – as many are, with the current economic crisis – feeling strapped for cash?

We’ve done some research, and believe we’ve come up with some helpful (and affordable) hints for making the elderly folks on your Christmas list smile come December 25. Many senior citizens are at a point in their lives where they have more knick-knacks than they know what to do with. Here are some practical and fun options to consider:

– Stationery/Cards and Stamps: Many seniors who can’t or don’t drive and who live in assisted living facilities and nursing homes would love to stay in touch with family and friends via “snail mail”. But they can’t get to a store to buy greeting cards or stationery or to the post office for stamps. Consider purchasing a variety of cards – get well, sympathy, birthday, anniversary, thinking of you – and a book of stamps for such a senior.

– Scrapbook: It’s fun to reminisce about the “good old days.” Create a scrapbook with copies of vintage family photos and include some of their favorite memories of holidays and special events in their lives. It will be a hit!

– Photo collage: A room in a nursing home or assisted living facility can be personalized with a collage frame featuring favorite photos of the senior’s family and friends.

– Gift certificates: Treat your favorite senior to a meal at a local restaurant and tickets to The Edge to enjoy a movie. Stop in at their salon and get a certificate for a haircut, shampoo and set, manicure, pedicure or other beauty treatment.

– Bill assistance: Older people are often on very tight budgets and have trouble making ends meet. Consider assisting by covering a month’s cost for electricity, gas or telephone. Help them stay in touch with family and friends who live at a distance by providing long-distance phone cards.

– A gift of warmth: Many seniors have poor circulation and crave warmth. Cozy slippers, a new bathrobe, lap robe, shawl or sweater from a local department or discount store would all be a welcome, warming present.

– Smells so good: Consider getting a gift set of your senior’s favorite fragrance. There’s a plentiful array to choose from at CVS, Walgreen’s, Peebles and Wal-Mart.

– The gift of reading: A gift subscription to their favorite magazine or newspaper (like The Greenville Advocate!) is another good gift idea for seniors.

– The gift of you: Whether it is pledging to them transportation to doctor’s appointments, church and/or community events; promising a day of house cleaning, home repairs or yard work, or simply visiting with your favorite senior, sharing the gift of yourself may be the most precious gift you can give them.