I fear this is going to be one of those threads in which everything everybody suggests is going to be shot down. It’s not my intention, but I’ve lost hope.
My father-in-law’s 83rd birthday is coming up. He has poorly controlled diabetes and the onset of dementia. We’ve given him and my MIL the Fruit of the Month Club, and they constantly remark how much they enjoy the fruit, but I think any other food gifts are unwise. His diabetes has affected the feeling in his feet, so he can’t walk much, so museum visits and other “experience” gifts won’t do, and he won’t use a wheelchair. He’s in denial about a lot of this.
He has magazine subscriptions and books enough to keep him for many months. I need help. Please.
When my father started traveling the dementia road, Bits and Pieces was my go-to place for gifts. They have beautiful puzzles for all skill levels along with unique toys.
Are there older movies or TV shows that he really likes? My father is a few years older than your FIL, and I’ve given him DVDs of old John Wayne films, and TV series that he had enjoyed in the '60s and '70s. Particularly last year, when he and my mother were largely homebound due to COVID, they were welcome gifts.
I know the feeling! Nothing we can think of seems useful or a need. Food, clothing, assistive devices, reading material, entertainment, means less and less?
Sweatshirt / cardigan
Baseball cap/ men’s cap
Slipppers/ slip ons
A nice cushy rug ( sheepskin) to rest his feet. I saw this in a nursing home, on the footrest of a wheelchair.
My folks are 89&87. I’ve keep trying to hit it right. I never want to let a birthday pass without a gift no matter what.
Sheepskin rugs, slippers and throws are very plush and comfortable and can help prevent pressure sores in people who don’t move around much or have good circulation. They do make good gifts for people with those problems (and you don’t have to mention the medical benefits to him if you think it would cause a problem).
This past Christmas, we gave my husband’s folks Coffee-of-the-Month for their Keurig. Apparently they also got tea and hot chocolate in the mix. They really enjoy it, but they’re big coffee drinkers.
I like the idea of DVDs of shows or movies from the parents’ era. But then, I’m not all that great at gifting…
My 93 year old grandmother’s birthday is coming up, so I’m hoping to mine ideas out of this thread as well!
Just to make a contribution of my own, at Christmas I gave her an adult coloring book and some nice colored pencils. I don’t think she’s ever used them, but maybe for someone else they’d be just the thing.
Perhaps a digital picture frame. They have ones that can download pictures from the cloud so you and other family members can upload photos and they’ll show up in his frame.
There’s this GrandPad, which is a simplified tablet designed to allow older people to easily do video calls.
There’s a frozen food delivery service called Schwan’s. They have all kinds of stuff that’s easy to prepare and tastes great.
A video doorbell so they can see who’s on the front porch without having to get up.
My parents are in their 80s in a house full of stuff, so giving them more stuff is counter-productive. My mother is thinking about how to empty out the house, preferably before she and my father pass. So in their case, at least, perhaps the best gift would be to take some of the accumulated stuff so they have less to deal with. For example, she’s been pushing me to take the formal china, which is completely useless to me.
So for some older people, the best gift might be negative stuff.
How about a spa type indulgence? Manicure, pedicure, massage? Several years running, we gave my FIL a 4-course dinner for his birthday: each of us (me, my husband, and our two kids) took over one of the courses, so we’d have an appetizer, soup, main dish, and dessert, plus it gave us all the chance to spend time together with him and my MIL. Last year and this, my husband took the lead in improving their home tech so that they could text and Zoom better with the family and their friends.
Here’s your clue:
They clearly like the fruit thing, so I’d stick with that. A few pieces of fruit every month aren’t going to do him any harm.