Gift for older parent

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by HDJulie, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. HDJulie

    HDJulie Icon

    Aug 10, 2008
    Based on Lord Vader's thread, several of us have older to elderly parents. My mother is 69 which shouldn't be that old but she spent the last 2 years dealing with my stepfather's cancer. Since his death in April she's plodded through each day as best she can. Her mind is still reeling with grief so she's not as sharp as she use to be. While there is family near her, they don't visit much. I'm 3 hours away & I go see her every other weekend but she needs something to occupy her time.

    I'm trying to think of ideas for her for Christmas that would give her something to do. What are y'all with technology-challenged parents giving them for Christmas?
  2. Kevin F

    Kevin F Hall Of Fame

    May 9, 2010

    Easy to teach and can be used to keep in touch. May or may not work in your situation. I did it and my mother loves it. Opens her up to the world of the Internet.


  3. Drucifer

    Drucifer Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    NY Hudson...
    Loadup a digital photo frame with ton of family photos.
  4. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

    Sep 16, 2006
    I gave mine an electric fireplace insert, so they dont have to mess with logs or clean the soot up.

    Also installed SWM with whole home and HD receivers and flat screens (they already had two HD DVRS in the kitchen and Living Room, SD receivers in the bedroom) so they could watch in bed when they werent feeling good. Mom was having problems reading the closed captioning on the small 26" screen, so got em a 46" for the Living room.

    Last year, I called DirecTv and paid for Sunday Ticket for my dads account, so he could watch the Green Bay Packers this year. Mom likes Tennis, and so far, they dont charge extra for it.

    Mom's birthday, I got her a Logitech SqueezeBox since she liked listening to talk radio in bed, but complained because the stations faded in and out making it hard to hear. Now she can listen to the same stations over the internet using their wireless router.

    Non-Electronically, I searched for some old fashioned slip on slippers, with warm fleece, and a nice warm bathrobe that fit. She seemed to like those better than the high priced stuff :)

    Hope some of those suggestions might help.
  5. trh

    trh This Space for Sale

    Nov 2, 2007
    NE FL

    There are also several companies where you buy their digital photo frame, hook it up to a phone line (or network if she has one), and you and other friends/family members can upload pictures to the frame from anywhere. Those do have a subscription fee though. Here is the link to one of these companies: CEIVA Picture Frame
  6. HDJulie

    HDJulie Icon

    Aug 10, 2008
    I should have mentioned we gave her an iPad last year (when my stepfather was in the hospital most of the time) & he gave her a digital frame the year before. We switched her to D* this summer with Whole Home. My brother gave her the bathrobe & slippers last month for her birthday :). I thought about giving her a scrapbooking kit but her eyesight is not great & she might have a hard time seeing the small stuff. Plus, her hands shake a lot.
  7. Drucifer

    Drucifer Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    NY Hudson...
    Does she like any hobbies or sports? It's that not having anything to do that brings a person down.
  8. Shades228

    Shades228 DaBears

    Mar 18, 2008
    I would agree with something that is easy to use and keep her connected. You could start off with an iPod or if you're willing to pay a cellphone bill for her an iPhone. Then once she gets used to it an iPad may be good as well. It all depends on how good her vision is. Don't wory about her inability to use technology because eithre an iphone or android is simple to use when the buttons are on the main screen.
  9. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Jan 18, 2007
    Forgive me if I'm making a wrong assumption that at least part of what your expressing here is worry. And while it's a platitude, it's also true that the only thing your mom needs for Christmas is you and your brother.

    As people who fall into your mom's age group, my wife and I can tell you that unless your mom has money problems the best thing you can give her is your time, which I know you are already doing. But here's some observations.

    If she doesn't get out much, find ways to get her out for a day - shopping, museums, tourist [strike]traps[/strike] attractions, whatever.

    If you know there are chores around the house that she has put off because she doesn't like to do them, or because your stepdad did them and she can't confront that, or she just cannot easily do them any more, do those chores.

    I know that family relationships are complicated but, if you can, push the "nearby" family to visit more.

    If she isn't active in her community, help her to find ways to become active in a senior group or a church group or a bridge club or a golf foursome. Our daughter-in-law's mother became a part of The Red Hat Society and participates in local chapter events, trips, etc. She appears to flourish in the company of these active women.

    Or maybe she can find a forum like this one that would involve her mind - something related to hobbies or other interests.

    She probably is worrying more than she might let on about the fact that her "eyesight is not great" and "hands shake a lot." For some, it helps to be around other people who share the aging experience. Some who prefer to push themselves do better being around more active, younger people. And, of course, sometimes eyesight and shaking hands are problems that can be fixed.

    Finally, keep in mind the adage we say. We get up in the morning with nothing to day and go to bed at night with it half done. That isn't a bad thing in a senior's life, especially one that recently spent 2 years dealing with a spouse's terminal illness. She has only had 8 months to deal with and recover from that experience. But, yes, she does need to move beyond it, tough as that may be.

    It appears, though, that she's lucky to have you in her life.;)
  10. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

    May 17, 2010
    Have you considered getting her a low maintence pet (cat or dog)? A pet will give her years of love and affection and provide companionship and interaction. The loss of your stepfather will always be with her. A pet can help fill the void and distract her from her grief.
  11. HDJulie

    HDJulie Icon

    Aug 10, 2008
    Thanks,everyone, for the suggestions. My mother used to be technologically savvy before my stepfather's cancer so she has a smartphone, has high speed Internet, has a tablet. If this were 3 years ago, I would probably get her a Kindle. She is just not currently up to learning & dealing with new things. I'm hoping that will change as time goes by but for now I'm looking for something for her to do that will give her a sense of accomplishment & occupy her time. I was hoping some of your parents might have hobbies that would give me some ideas. Oh, she also has 4 dogs & a rooster so she is set for pets :).
  12. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

    Jun 6, 2009
    Your last post answered a couple of questions. Unless she has mobility issues, I'd stay away from too much tech stuff. I don't find that TV or web keeps me all that sharp-minded. If anything, just the opposite.

    I'd be looking at things to help her keep active. Does she have much of a yard? Must have some to have the rooster I guess, eh? What about something to help in that area? Maybe some kind of yard machine or gadget to make it easier to take care of the place?

    If she lives alone, do neighbors look in on her? Would they notice if she wasn't around for a day or two? Maybe one of those LifeLine type things where she can get help with the push of a button?
  13. HDJulie

    HDJulie Icon

    Aug 10, 2008
    She does have a yard. Her neighbor across the street is a handyman & he did a large rework of her backyard to make it easier for her to maintain & also fixed some issues with her gutters. She is on friendly terms with several of her neighbors & my brother & one of his daughter's families both live close enough to check on her every few days. It's too cold & wet in winter for her to do much in the yard this time of year. I'm going to look at the local Hobby Lobby to see if anything there looks interesting.

    SPACEMAKER Freethinker

    Dec 11, 2007
    Mason, MI
    Maybe some new doilies. Or a knitting basket. A big bag of Worther's Originals. A new plastic cover for the davenport.
  15. Karen

    Karen Godfather

    Oct 4, 2007
    Do you have an iPad? If so, get both of you the Scrabble app and play each other online. You could stretch a game over an entire day, or even longer. I just started playing Scrabble online with a friend and find myself really enjoying it. You can even chat while your playing.

    My Mom belongs to the Red Hat Society and loves it. See if any of her friends belong. It might help her get started. You could buy her a really fancy hat! <g>
  16. Drucifer

    Drucifer Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    NY Hudson...
    You can put me in that class. Even the best techies reach a point in their lives when we become tired of rapid changes and upgrades. Don't get me wrong, we still like improvements, but we just prefer them in smaller dosages and a little slower.

    Ever do genealogy? I started by scanning old photos into my computer and asking my mother questions. She had answers, but was missing a lot of facts. That hobby will keep your mother in touch with all her relatives as the both of you build your family tree.
  17. HDJulie

    HDJulie Icon

    Aug 10, 2008
    Oh my goodness -- davenport! I haven't heard it called that in years. We are originally from Wisconsin & that's what my grandmother called the couch -- a davenport :)

    My stepfather did geneology for his family for a few years. I might mention that to her to see if she is interested. My father did some of his side of the family.
  18. F1 Fan

    F1 Fan Icon

    Aug 28, 2007
    If you have an ipad then I would suggest sitting with her and showing her some things.

    Such as Skype so you can facetalk often - we video call to family overseas every week - so much better than on a phone. Makes a huge difference!

    Then there is the kindle app so she has her books.

    Hundreds of games - words with friends (dont play with Alec Baldwin - I think he is a sore loser :lol:) to keep the mind active

    And then Pinterest - should keep her going for hours on many new hobbies! The beauty of the ipad and other tablets is that they help you do your outdoor and other hobbies instead of replacing them. So if she likes crafts she can get the ideas from Pinterest but do them herself.
  19. Drucifer

    Drucifer Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    NY Hudson...
    My online tree brought in relatives that had no idea that my mom's family even existed.

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