DEAR ABBY: For those who are looking for gift suggestions for older parents, may I offer what my kids do for us? They live far away and usually visit us in the spring and fall.
Before they leave, my daughter scrubs my bathroom shower and the rest of the room, cleans my refrigerator, oven, kitchen cabinets, my carpets - things that are difficult for me to do. While she's inside doing that, my son-in-law is outside trimming trees and bushes, doing general yard cleanup in the spring and raking leaves and disposing of them in the fall.
In addition, my daughter sets aside and freezes small portions of entrees so we will have future dinners from her meals. While they're here, they cook all the meals and do the cleanup. What a wonderful gift!
Instead of buying a useless gift, these are gifts that keep on giving! - Truly Blessed in Montana
DEAR TRULY BLESSED: I agree. Please allow me to offer some additional gift suggestions for seniors:
Many individuals on fixed incomes would appreciate a gift basket of goodies such as small cans of tuna, salmon or soup. Include with them crackers, assorted flavors of instant coffee, herbal teas, soup mixes and cookies.
Gift certificates also make welcome gifts. And don't forget prepaid calling cards.
Create homemade coupons that can be redeemed for chores such as window washing, painting, replacing air conditioning filters and light bulbs, moving heavy furniture for spring and fall cleaning, and transportation for shopping, doctor's visits, etc.
Because not all seniors drive, coupons for senior transportation or taxis can also give the recipient the gift of freedom.
Sweat pants, athletic socks and walking shoes may motivate the sedentary to become more active - which improves circulation and cognition for people of every age.
I am often asked for gift ideas for the person "who already has everything." My answer: The greatest gift a person can give is the gift of yourself.