Gift Ideas for the Elderly
Since I am classed in the category of the elderly,( I'm 87 ), I suppose I'm a judge of what are good and bad gifts for the elderly. In the first place, if someone wants to give me a gift, I'd appreciate it a lot if they asked me what I would like before they go out and spend a bunch of money foolishly for something I have absolutely no use for.
This reminds me of a few years ago when I was a resident in an Assisted Living facility. Here is my story.
I looked forward to the resident Christmas Party in the living room of Shady Oaks, the assisted living place where I lived. The residents arrived in wheel chairs along with those pushing their walkers ahead of them, and the few of us who were able to walk on our own. We all gathered around the beautiful Christmas tree, loaded underneath with gifts. An air of expectancy filled the room.
The manager announced the staff had gotten each resident a gift because they wanted to show us how much they appreciate us. We didn't have to wait another minute. She and a couple other members of the staff began passing out gifts.
Finally, my name was called and there came my gift. Al large piece of yellow tissue paper came loosely wrapped around what looked like a bundle of dried hay sticking out from underneath. Leaves and dried stems tumbled from the package as it was handed to me. Shocked, I managed to come up with a weak "thank you". I peeked under the yellow tissue paper to see what I held on my lap. There I saw a white and gold bow in the middle of some rust-colored dried flowers with dried leaves and branches around it.
Disappointed, I tried not to let it show. What would I do with it when I got it to my small apartment? Every time I touched it, something else fell off. We all hung around half expecting something else to happen, maybe some Christmas music to celebrate the occasion? But the staff left. Finally, one of the care givers came in and said, "You may leave now if you want to".
Evident the party was over, I picked up my big bundle of "weeds" and started up the stairs to my room. What would I do with it? I left a trail of dried leaves and stems behind me -in the elevator, in the hallway and all the way down the hall to my apartment.. I met the maintenance man at the top of the stairs and asked him, "Where do you think I should hang this?" He suggested it would look nice above the door on the outside of the apartment. "Good", I whispered to myself. "Then I won't have to look at it and it won't drop dried weeds all over my apartment." But we couldn't put it there because the fire light there had to be left uncovered.
Reluctantly, I took the bundle into my room and had him place it between the bathroom door and the closet door. He pounded a nail in the wall and hung it up, scattering dry leaves all over the carpet as he did so. There it was for all to see, but I tried very hard not to look at it myself. I told my husband, "It looks like the stuff we used to rake up in the yard and throw onto the burn pile."
My daughter came that evening and she said, " I think it's kind of pretty, Mom." I was glad to know someone liked it, at least a little bit, and I said, "Maybe it's just my failing eyesight," but I asked her, "What's pretty about it?" and she remarked, "The colors in it are pretty."
I really hate to admit I'm an ungrateful old woman. I have examined my heart carefully. I have concluded that whoever picked this gift out for me probably thought I would love it. They all know I like artificial flowers and real flowers so decided I would also love dried ones. I know it's hard to buy gifts for people who don't have much room, and I am happy they didn't give me something to take up space on the floor, or some perfume I don't like, or cheap jewelry, or a box of fattening chocolates. It really isn't a bad bouquet when I look at it with a positive attitude.
Every now and then, I can look at my bouquet on the wall and see a little beauty in it. The more I look at it, the more I appreciate it, and I feel terrible was such an ungrateful slob when I received it. It will have its place on my wall until someone comes along who loves it more than I do, and I will give it to them, knowing someone will appreciate my gift for what it really was, a gift of LOVE.