If you have an elderly parent who says they “don’t want anything” every year, picking out a Christmas gift can be very difficult.
Along with being stubborn about telling you something that they want, elderly adults can also be resistant to taking extra safety precautions because they don’t think that they need one. The difficult truth is that as we age, our mobility and focus begin to diminish, which can make injury and even death a much greater risk.
Whether they still live on their own or in a senior living community, giving a gift that is useful and will protect your parent’s safety is a win-win. Here are some gift ideas that will help improve their safety and independence and actually be something they can use.
According to FEMA, individuals who are over the age of 65 have a two-and-a-half times greater risk of dying in a kitchen fire than everyone else. So while your parent may love spending time in the kitchen cooking for themselves and everyone else in your family, it is important to make sure they are taking the right safety precautions. Kitchen fires can happen before you know it, especially when you are using a gas stove top. Your parent may leave food cooking unattended and forget that the burner is still on or spill the wrong thing on the flame and create combustion.
Because of the risk of fire that cooking poses, giving your parent an induction stovetop can be a very practical and useful gift. Without the risk, an open flame poses, your parent will be able to cook without worrying about burning their house down. Additionally, they’ll probably find that their food cooks much more quickly than it did with a gas stove.
Slippery surfaces and water are a recipe for disaster waiting to happen, which is why bathrooms usually have a lot of risks for elderly adults. When you don’t have the same balance and mobility as you used to, a puddle of water on the floor outside of the shower can quickly turn into a broken hip or worse. Most people shower every single day, and getting in and out of a shower that wasn’t designed for people who don’t have the best balance can make each day very dangerous.
If your parent has a bathroom that doesn’t have a lot of safety measures already, giving them something like this can change their everyday life for the better. While a shower mat or handle on the wall may not seem like a big deal to you or them, they will soon realize just how much they actually need the extra safety precautions. They might also enjoy using a shower chair, which gives you the option of sitting down to reach your feet or anywhere else that requires bending down. A chair in the shower also provides one more place where they can catch their balance to prevent any falling.
Healthy Food Delivery
One of the most overlooked aspects of safety and independence for older adults is being able to continue a healthy and balanced diet. This can become really difficult if cooking is hard or they don’t have the energy to go to the grocery store often. Getting enough fruits and vegetables is very important, but if they cannot go to the store every week, they could be skipping these a lot throughout the month.
Additionally, eating fresh food is better for you in general than packaged and processed foods. These often contain high amounts of salt and other preservatives that probably won’t make your parent feel the best. To make their life a little easier, you can give them the gift of healthy food delivery.
This could just be from the grocery store, but you can also sign them up for something fun like a fruit of the month club so that they can try new, fresh fruits each month. There are a ton of additional monthly food clubs for coffee, cheese, tea, and more. Not only will this help their diet, it can also be something exciting for them to look forward to.
Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beach goer operating out of Southern New Jersey.