By the time a man reaches his senior citizen years, he may well be the "man who has everything." This can make purchasing a gift for Grandpa especially challenging. But a little insight into your relative's lifestyle and a quick look at your own budget should help you figure out a gift that will be truly appreciated.
If Grandpa is a CNN fan, consider giving him a subscription to a weekly news magazine. If he’s a collector, choose the magazine that matches his interest. Buy one copy of the magazine and wrap it up with a notice of the continuing subscription and a pair of “cheater” drugstore reading glasses. Or choose a few lively audio books in a genre he’ll enjoy and present them with a new personal CD player.
For someone with a less active lifestyle, new comfort items can be a treat. Consider a plush, absorbent bathrobe or a pair of suede slip-on shoes that can be worn when he steps outside to get the mail.
If you’re handy, install sturdy “grab bars” near the tub, toilet or even sofa. Replace loose carpets with low-pile, glued-down carpet tiles. Install convenient light fixtures and remote-controlled window blinds.
Create a photo album or scrapbook. A few emails to relatives might encourage them to contribute. Label the photos with names and dates, if possible. Leave space for a photo of the two of you together. If Grandpa is still active and computer savvy, a new digital camera with a vision-friendly 2-inch monitor screen can be a wonderful gift.
Gift certificates take the guesswork out of gift shopping, but many elderly people have trouble getting to a store. Consider a gift certificate from a major catalog outlet, or from a novelty or specialty outlet. Present the catalog and certificate together.
Your own time might be the most treasured thing you can give, especially if he lives in a nursing home. Spend a whole afternoon with Grandpa, and bring supplies: snacks, photos, and books, magazines or CDs you’d like to share. Take him on a daylong ride in the country (or even on a cruise, if budget allows). A 15-minute weekly visit to drop off a snack and give him a hug can mean the world to someone who lives in a nursing home.
Some Grandpas would really appreciate: Your cell phone and help calling a distant relative for a 15-minute chat. Use of your laptop on visits, with instructions on how to send and receive emails. A selection of birthday and condolence cards with postage stamps. A drive to the cemetery to put flowers on a loved one’s grave. A ride to participate in Veteran’s Day activities, or to see the July Fourth fireworks. A voice-activated digital tape recorder and encouragement to record some of his stories. A visit to the eye doctor and return trip to pick up new eyeglasses. Memory foam pillows and chair pads, especially if he uses a wheelchair.