If you read last week’s column and got some gift ideas for your favorite senior, I am sure you are relieved. And I’m glad. However, I have a few more suggestions, all of which are cost-effective.
For example, this gift is free. If your senior has recently acquired a computer, give Internet lessons and set up an e-mail account. Maybe even a Facebook account, with detailed instructions, so that pictures of grandchildren are only a click away. I have a number of senior friends with accounts and they love it.
Help a senior get organized with The FILE, a yellow folder that keeps track of important papers.
The FILE stands for Financial, Investments and Insurance, Legal and Estate Management and contains places to write the names of important people and institutions. The FILE stores financials, insurance information, vital documents and instructions on funeral arrangements. There also is a “survivors’ guide” that is a comprehensive checklist for loved ones.
And then there is the Senior Medicare Patrol Personal Health Journal. This is a great stocking stuffer or gift-enhancer when tied to the present with ribbon. It is a bright pink book where you can log your medical appointments, any procedures and prescriptions. These are also free and can be had for the asking.
Worried about a senior becoming dehydrated? This can be a serious problem — most seniors do not drink enough water. There are pretty, easy-to-hold water bottles on the market, which are lightweight and have airtight covers that prevent spills. Some of these bottles or covered cups include their own straws, which make drinking easier.
Here are a few items you probably know about already, but that bear mentioning again as holiday shopping invades our lives:
ä The File of Life. The 4-by-3-inch plastic pocket contains a senior’s pertinent medical information, such as medications and doses, doctors’ names, emergency contacts and medical conditions. It is held in place on the refrigerator by a magnetic strip on the back, and comes with a red “File of Life” sticker for the front door, which will alert responding emergency personnel to look on the refrigerator. The File of Life is a great stocking stuffer and is free through Eastern Area Agency on Aging.
The highly reflective house numbering signs. These signs make houses easy to find and could be lifesaving. Penobscot County jail inmates make the 6-by-8-inch house number signs of highly reflective materials which meet the 911 standards. The signs are two-sided and attached to a post. Also available are one-sided signs with post and just the sign itself. These would be an especially good choice for someone who lives on a dead-end street. They sell for $6 to $12.
And now that your house can be seen at night, how about you?
The Vest Dressed for Safety reflective vests. Are you visible when venturing out after dark? EAAA encourages seniors to wear reflective clothing at night. Even walking through a parking lot after shopping or attending an evening movie or concert can be hazardous, not to mention getting the mail if the mailbox is on the opposite side of the road. While basic black is very fashionable, it is a dangerous color to wear outside at night. These vests can be had for $10.
Everything listed here is available at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. Think about it. Twenty-two dollars for both the house numbering sign and the reflective vest. The File of Life and The FILE are free.
The holidays are about love and caring. Gifts of safety are a hit.
Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. E-mail Higgins Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, e-mail email@example.com or log on EAAA.org. TTY 992-0150.