May 21, 2018
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Gifts of safety will help make seniors’ holidays bright

By Carol Higgins Taylor, Senior Beat

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-


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 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 is also 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 of 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 and 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 may make drinking easier for seniors with arthritis.

Now, here are a few items you probably know about by already but that bear mentioning

again as holiday shopping invades our lives:

• The File of Life: This 4-inch-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 are free through Eastern Area Agency on Aging.

• The highly reflective house numbering signs: These signs make houses easy to find and potentially could be life saving. Penobscot County jail inmates make the 6-inch-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 a good choice for someone who lived on a dead-end street. They sell for

between $6 and $12.

• And, now that your house can be seen at night, how about you? Are you well visible

when venturing out after dark? The Vest Dressed for Safety reflective vests ensure that seniors

can be seen at night. Getting the mail or walking through a parking lot after shopping or

attending an evening movie or concert as can be hazardous. These vests can be had for $10.

Everything listed here is available at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. Think about it.

Twenty two dollars plus postage for both the house number ing sign and the reflective vest. The

File of Life and The FILE are free.

The holidays are about love. Gifts of safety say you care.

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. E-mail

Higgins Taylor at For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free (800)

432-7812, e-mail or log on TTY 992-0150.

Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

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