• Laurie Bell

Tis the Season


My mantra at gift giving times is fairly simple.  Consider giving experiences, services or consumables. 

If my older clients are representative, your Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Dorothy probably have more things than they know what to do with.  We have all been in that situation where we want to provide the perfect gift to those we love but are a little short of brilliant ideas.

What do we do?  We search stores and on-line retailers hoping for inspiration and, while we occasionally strike gold in the inspired gift-giving department, the majority of the time we settle for something, anything that will show that we care.  We have to have something to give after all and if it’s not quite perfect, well everyone knows that we are dreadfully time starved and it’s the thought that counts… .

I help older adults and their family members to select the items that make them smile as they prepare to move to smaller space.  These are the things that they want to ensure will stay with them.  Many times these clients are transitioning from three, four or five bedroom homes that they have lived in for thirty, forty or fifty years.  Space has always been available to tuck things away in drawers, cupboards and closets and the items remain there, sometimes forgotten, until we start helping them to prepare for their move…

The feelings of guilt that plague these older adults can be immense.  They don’t want to seem unappreciative and they believe that they are somehow betraying their much loved sons, daughters and family members if they opt to let go of some of these items.  The challenge, of course, is that they are moving to greatly reduced space and they no longer have the luxury of storage in basements and spare rooms that are no longer occupied by these same sons and daughters.

So what can you give your older family members and friends?  How about a shared experience?  Can you take them to brunch or dinner or how about an evening at the theatre?  If that isn’t feasible, what about an experience that they can share with a friend?  What about a spa day or a wine tour that they can enjoy with someone other than you?  If your parents are still driving and that isn’t a bone of contention between you, how about a defensive winter driving course? Could that potentially boost both their skill level and their confidence?

A gift of services can be terrific too. How about a snow removal service if Mom and/or Dad are still living in their home?  What other services might be appreciated in their particular situation?  What sort of service can you provide to help to reduce their stress?

If experiences or services don’t seem to be a fit for your elderly loved ones, how about consumables?  Taste treats that they might not purchase for themselves will ensure smiles all around and they won’t add to the collections of things in their lives that can overwhelm them when it’s time to move.

Wishing you and your older parents a safe, happy and healthy Holiday Season that is filled with love, peace and the spirit of giving.

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