Gifts for Seniors: Clocks, Phones, and Remotes

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Make Life Easier with Large Numbers

It can be very difficult to buy gifts for an aging friend or relative.  Lifestyle changes narrow the buying field considerably.  Few need any fun new kitchen supplies or tools to putter in the workshop.  Even clothes are far less important to most.  There is no doubt our needs are different when we grow older.

In general, most aging seniors have thinned what they own, some planning ahead, some because of a need to move to assisted living or a smaller space.  If you have helped them accomplish that, you have seen how much we tend to collect.

Nevertheless, there are certain gifts that always come in handy.  Some things that even sedentary people can use and appreciate.

Large clocks

This is the first that comes to mind since I have seen how useful it can be.  Time orientation often goes for the aging senior, partly because most of seniors face at least some dying brain cells.  While my mother has full on Alzheimer’s, my father didn’t lose much of his mental capacity until the last year or two of his life.

One of the most surprising examples of that was his time awareness.  There were a number of times that he would wake mom, tell her it was time to get dressed for breakfast, only to go down to the dining room at their assisted living facility and learn it was two in the morning.  A few nights he did that more than once.  Somehow, he couldn’t keep the hours straight, day or night.

That is why this would be my first choice for a clock for seniors.  There are lots of options, and if your senior is still date conscious you might prefer the second one.  For my folks, it would have been wonderful for them to look at a clock that said morning, afternoon or night.  It seems that knowing the day of the week is more important than knowing the date itself.

It might not have stopped Dad from getting up to check, but it might have saved Mom from having to dress three or four times a night.

If date isn’t an issue anymore, it is very helpful for them to know it is “sunday morning,”  Monday afternoon”…



Otherwise, if the date itself is still of interest, I would suggest one like this, large letters and numbers that tell them the time.  No need to figure out where the hands on the clock are to tell them what time it is.



Large/photo phones

Next is a phone they can see.  It gets more and more difficult not only to see, but also to remember phone numbers.  Which is why my preference is this phone with large numbers and photos.  Program everyone’s number in with their picture.  Then all they need to do is hit one button to call.  If they don’t need photos, at least provide large numbers to make it easier to see.

Photo phone

Large Number, Sound Clarified

If they are growing hard of hearing, as many do, this is a good alternative.  Imagine how frustrating it must be to know someone is talking but only picking up a few words.  It was so sweet with my parents.  Dad couldn’t hear well, so he would often hand the phone to mom since her hearing is fine.  But with her Alzheimer’s she wouldn’t know what to do with the phone, so she would look at it and hand it back to Dad.  Alzheimer’s can be its own comedy routine sometimes.  And it is okay to laugh.



Large remotes

Since often seniors will spend a good amount of time watching television, make it as easy as you can.  Maybe many of them are able to figure out the complicated remotes that come with cable boxes, but they are confusing at any age if not used often.  They may reach the point that dealing with a DVR or anything that plays movies is more frustrating than useful.

At that point, a cable connection with a single remote would be the easiest to use.  Large numbers and arrows, clearly marked with on and off buttons will eliminate the angst associated with electronics and still allow them to change channels and watch their favorite shows.



Each of these gift ideas I have seen put to use.  At whatever stage your aging loved one might be, these gifts may be handier than you realize.  Save them the frustration of having to admit it!


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry Citarella

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