Finding the perfect gift is challenging under any circumstances but buying for an aging loved one can be particularly difficult. Obviously you want to get them something they want but it really no longer makes sense for you to get them yet another doll for their doll collection or yet another tie because, hopefully at this point, they\’re getting rid of stuff.

So what do you do?

Think in terms of what they really want but that they may not know they want.

FOR EXAMPLE:

Put old family movies onto DVDs for them – and give a copy to everyone else in the family, too. Just keep in mind that this process doesn\’t happen over night so start NOW.

If music is more to their liking, a CD of “old time” music – either from a play list purchased through iTunes or from their own record collection if you have them (& before you get rid of them) – is just the thing! Check out Favorite Melodies http://www.favmelodies.com/. They can make CD\’s or put them right onto an iPod (which you can also get from them). Just remember, as with converting your old movies, it\’s not something that happens over night.

And, if you give them CDs or DVDs, perhaps someone else in the family can buy them the iPod, CD or DVD player.

“Professional” Gift Certificates

Professional gift certificates (such as from a clothing store) is always an option. But if they have enough clothes, how about gift certificates for their local movie theatre, to have their hair or nails done at a local salon, for a car service (especially if they\’ve just given up driving) or the services of a professional organizer (http://www.napo.net/).

Home Made Gift Certificates

Often your aging loved one needs help but won\’t admit it or accept it when offered. A home made gift certificate is great way to provide help without them having to admit they need it or ask for it. For example, mowing the lawn (by you, a neighbor kid or a professional service); spring and/or fall house preparation; cleaning out the garage or attic; once-a-week housecleaning . . . or anything that needs doing!

While you\’re at it, don\’t neglect the relationship. For example, a gift certificate good for lunch or afternoon tea with you. Or perhaps a night out together.

When you give a “home-made” gift cert – make it into a really big deal. Box, bows, etc – everything you\’d do with a store-bought gift. And because it\’s a gift, they can\’t really turn it down!

Shopping On Line is a great option – especially if your loved one lives at a distance. It can be something practical such as weekly or monthly food orders (http://www.freshdirect.com/), some frozen steaks, entrees, or fully cooked meals. Or how about something more fun – and a gift that gives all year long – such as a gift-of-the-month club. (It can also come every 3, 6, or 12 months or seasonal). For example, through www.flyingnoodle.com/clubs.html (as seen on the Today Show) you can sign up for Desserts, Chocolate, Cigars, Beer, Coffee, Pizza, Fruit, Pasta, Cake, Wine, even Hot Sauce and Salsa, Flowers and plants- and lots more!

For the readers, consider magazine subscriptions – most of which also come in large print.

Give To Their Favorite Charity

Another great idea is making a donation in their name to a charity that means something to them. Last year my sister “adopted” a pygmy elephant for me through the World Wildlife Fund (www.worldwildlife.org/gifts). I received a card with an adoption certificate and his picture. (Some also come with a little stuffed animal.) Since I love elephants, it was a great gift that meant a lot to me and didn\’t add to my “stuff” either!

If you\’re looking for just the right charity, Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.com/) is a great site. In one location you can check out thousands of charities including their history and financial health. You can donate there or click the link to the website of the charity of your choice.

Or you might want to make it even more local and personal and give in their name to their local house of worship, library, school, etc.

If There Are Special Needs, here are three suggestions for websites for products that are useful for a whole range of disabilities.

For products for all other disabilities, check out first STREET for Boomers & Beyond at www.firststreetonline.com/index.jsp

For a comforting therapeutic gift for a senior parent, grandparent, aunt, friend or anyone who benefits from active warm hands, check out TwiddleMuff! (http://www.twiddlemuff.com/). I got one for my mother and it\’s adorable!

And if they have Dementia, why not have the whole family make or contribute to memory books or check out Ageless Design at www.agelessdesign.com for a wide range of dementia products.

Speaking of Dementia . . . .

Although it\’s not for your aging loved one, something that would be great for your family members, friends, and business associates to help them understand their loved one with dementia and how to help them is my CD Is It Simple Forgetfulness or the Real Thing. I\’ve just listed it (and the downloadable MP3 and Transcript) at a special holiday price of 33% off so the CD, which is usually $14.95 is now ON SALE for only $9.95. To purchase the CD, download the MP3 and/or the Transcript, please go to www.AgeWiseLiving.com/Shop.

And last but by no means least, home-made options are always a welcome gift.

Have your young kids make something like a picture or a handprint in ceramic for them. If they draw a picture, consider framing it – or give them picture frames for pictures they already have. Or homemade candy, cake or cookies, or something you knitted, sewed, embroidered, or otherwise home made.

That should give you a pretty good start so I\’m off to work on my own holiday preparations. Until next year, Merry, Merry!

© Copyright AgeWiseLiving® 2007 You can find information about Generational Coaching, AgeWiseLiving® seminars and free teleseminars, and to sign up for Barbara\’s free monthly newsletter at http://www.agewiseliving.com/ or by calling toll-free (877) AGE-WISE. Barbara E. Friesner is the country\’s leading Generational Coach and expert on issues affecting seniors and their families. She is an adjunct professor at Cornell University, where she created and teaches “Seniors Housing Management” at Cornell\’s School of Hotel Administration.

Barbara Friesner is the country's leading Generational Coach and an expert on issues affecting Seniors and their families. She has been interviewed for Advising Boomers magazine, featured on NY1 TV's Focus on Seniors and Coping with Caregiving on wsRadio. She has also been quoted in newspapers and magazines across the country and her articles have been published in the CAPSule, the Children of Aging Parent's newsletter.