May 23, 2018
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Tips for picking a meaningful gift for the senior on your list

By Carol Higgins Taylor, Special to the BDN

With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to kick our holiday spirit into high gear.

Most of us have seniors on our lists, and contemplating just the right gift for them can be daunting. The best thing to do is just ask them what they would like or need. This inquiry may be met with, “Oh my dear, save your money. I don’t need anything,” but don’t be discouraged. Instead, start paying close attention.

Does the senior love reading, enjoy cooking, sipping specialty teas or doing crossword puzzles? A little sleuthing can go a long way. Next time you visit, take a look around. You might be surprised at what you pick up on that can translate into the perfect gift ideas. For example, a decorative gift basket of favorite goodies would make a pretty presentation and also be practical. Including some postage stamps is a nice touch.

As we head into winter, maybe your driving senior could use some car accessories that have a safety component. There are larger rear-view mirrors that simply snap over the current one to increase visibility in the back of the vehicle. Windshield wipers are those things that we don’t know we need until it rains, or snows. Winter blades are especially helpful. You might be surprised how many ideas you can get from an auto supply store.

One of the best gifts you can give a senior and yourself is peace of mind. The emergency response call button, LiveSAFE, provided by Rosscare, serves the northern two-thirds of Maine. For about a dollar a day, you’ll rest easier knowing your loved one can summon help at the touch of a button. There has never been a better time to sign up because the installation fee has just been eliminated. Check it out at

Keep in mind that if the senior has downsized from a house to a small apartment, there may not be room for more “things,” no matter how pretty, so practicality may be your best bet. Remember that the holidays are sometimes depressing for people who live alone, so if you know someone who could use an outing, maybe a ride to see Christmas lights, give them the best gift of all — time with you.

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

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