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Hunting for holiday gifts for your older friends and relatives can be tough. You want to remember them with something special, yet the seniors in your life may be at a place where they’re trying to downsize, not add a pile of new bulky belongings to their homes.
It’s possible to do both. Here are a dozen gift ideas that are suitable for anyone, but might especially please the older folks on your list.
1. Scan their photos and slides
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This is a service best for older folks who have at least a bit of computer savvy. If they’ve got boxes and boxes of photos, slides and negatives that are just too awkward to enjoy, help them send those images off to a photo scanning service, such as Scan Cafe. The service will computerize the images, review and color-correct as needed, and send your gift recipient a DVD or CD so they can view and share those treasured times of long ago. (About $175 for 500 images.) Click here to read more about the service.
2. Send a monthly care box
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My Grand Box is a monthly subscription box service that’s a bit more personalized than most. Each box includes a themed collection of products meant for older folks, from snacks to personal-care products, but the company takes it one step further. Each month’s gift box also includes 5 photos and a note from you, the sender, to further brighten your recipient’s day. (About $30 a month.) Click here for more details.
3. Easy-to-grip kitchen gadgets
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Is that tiny little carrot peeler or grater getting tough for mom or dad to use, even though they’re still perfectly able to cook for themselves? Upgrade those old kitchen gadgets and replace them with this six-piece Good Grips set, which all fit comfortably and softly in a home cook’s hands. (About $40.) Click here to buy.
4. Amazon Echo
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Grandma may not have the same musical tastes as you do, but with Amazon Echo, and a little explanation, she can play DJ in her own home. The recipient just commands, “Alexa, play Elvis Presley,” and soon, she’s “All Shook Up” and on the way to “Heartbreak Hotel.” Alexa can also read the news, answer questions, report sports scores and weather forecasts, and more. (About $179.) Click here.
5. Magnetic jewelry clasps
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Let’s face it: Necklaces are hard to fasten, even for the young. Give mom or grandma these magnetic clasps, and be sure to install them on her favorite jewelry for her. Now all she needs to do is hold the two ends close to each other and in a snap, her necklace or bracelet is securely fastened. (About $5.) Click here to purchase.
6. Plastic packaging opener
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Opening a gift is only half the chore these days. Once the wrapping is torn off, good luck burrowing through the inevitable thick plastic clamshell that almost always surrounds the item — a task made even worse for those with arthritis or reduced hand strength. This battery-powered opener mows through the thick wrapping and sets the articles inside free. (Around $20.) Click here for more details.
7. Personalized tea box
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If your gift recipient is a fan of tea for two — or even for one — help him or her organize their different flavors and brands with this elegant hinged box, sized just right for tea bags. The box can be laser-etched with your recipient’s initial for that personal touch. I’ll drink to that! (About $40.) Click here.
8. Touchless salt and pepper grinders
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Replace those old salt-and-pepper grinders that may be a pain for arthritic hands. The battery-operated Touchless electronic stainless steel pepper and salt mill/grinders work at the touch of a button, and even come with an automatic guiding light to help see how much spice is being used. (About $20 each.) See them here.
9. Trace the branches of a family tree
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After retirement, many people realize they finally have the time to delve into genealogy and begin tracing their family tree. If your gift recipient is comfortable using a computer, an Ancestry.com membership is one of the most helpful presents you can bestow. It’ll open the door to millions of historical online records that would be otherwise off-limits. (About $189 for a year’s membership.) Click here.
10. Personalized photo ornament
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If your gift recipient decorates a tree, help warm up its boughs with a personalized photo ornament. Unlike some decorations, these round ornaments are two-sided, so you can use a family photo on one side, a meaningful message on the other. There’s even an “In Loving Memory” ornament to honor a loved one who’s passed away. (Around $10.) See numerous choices here.
11. The ABCs of DNA
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Most Americans have only a vague idea of the nationalities that make up their background. Grandma came from Ireland, or was it Scotland? Great-grandma was born in Sweden — we think? Let your gift recipient find out if all those years celebrating St. Patrick’s Day were legit with a DNA test from 23AndMe.com. The test is simple, painless, and is done right in the home. You can choose to receive only ancestry results or add health information. (About $99 for ancestry only.) Click here.
12. Now hear this: TV Ears
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Have you noticed your elderly relative or friend turning their television volume up to WHAT I CAN’T HEAR YOU CAN YOU PLEASE TURN THAT DOWN level? Then they may benefit from TV Ears, a voice-clarifying wireless headset that turns the volume up only for the wearer. The set could actually be on mute, so as not to disturb a sleeping or reading companion. (Around $130.) Click here.
What inspired gifts have you given or received that are especially useful for an older person? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.