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Gifts for seniors

Happy Holidays! If you have seniors on your gift list, (or as I prefer to refer to us, Perennials), I have some tips as to what we really want for Christmas.
As I think back on some of the Christmas gifts I witnessed my grandparents open on Christmas mornings throughout the years, I realize now that they must have been terribly disappointed. Surely the thought must have crossed their minds, “What in the world were you thinking? Do you know me at all?”
Did we have selective amnesia and forget that we’d given Grandma slippers every year for the past ten Christmases? If Grandma wore a FitBit, we’d soon see that her footstep count didn’t warrant having 10 pairs of any type shoe in her closet. Did we consider that perhaps a long, fuzzy bathrobe might be a slip and fall hazard for a 90 pound woman or that Grandpa no longer envisioned himself as Cary Grant in silk smoking jackets?
I’m pretty sure that no senior wakes up one morning and thinks, “I sure hope someone gives me another tchotchke to dust!”
In other countries, the elderly are revered for their longevity. It is understood that their years of life experience have garnered a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. In the U.S., it’s almost as though the aged become curiosities with minds that are assumed to be failing, as are our sense of style and class. Cartoonists show us in ridiculous attire that emulates bag ladies and hobos. We are gifted cheap perfumes, talcum powders and plaid flannel clothing that we silently pray we don’t die wearing.
If you have yet to begin your holiday shopping, please allow me to be your Personal Shopper for anyone over the age of 60. One gift for Perennials that will never be exchanged or relegated to the back of the closet is cash. Even if your parents and grandparents still have the first dollar they ever earned and are living on Easy Street, they will welcome more cash.
Second only to cash are gift cards, but be advised that there are often service charges, expiration dates, and penalties associated with some gift cards. Be sure to read the fine print before purchasing any gift card. Also, don’t give gift cards to stores and places that the Perennial will likely never visit or that has nothing they could ever possibly use..
A gift card to their grocery store would no doubt be welcomed by anyone in any age group or income status. Visa and Mastercard allow the recipient to choose where they shop and what they purchase.
Perhaps the gift that keeps on giving and might be the most appreciated and unexpected would be to pre-pay any of their monthly bills. Pre-paying for prescriptions at the Perennial’s pharmacy would no doubt be much appreciated.
However, there is one more gift that will cost you nothing. This gift doesn’t require a greeting card with elaborate artwork and a heartfelt message written by an anonymous author. The gift, of course, is your time. Spending time with your loved ones is the ultimate gift from your heart.
Have a wonderful holiday and may joy and peace carry you into 2020.
Anne Carmichael is a columnist who contributes monthly to The Jessamine Journal.