Your mother might officially be a senior citizen, but that doesn’t mean you should insult her with bathrobes and slippers this Mother’s Day. Today’s seniors are redefining the Golden Years by filling their retirements with travel and activity. Even seniors experiencing declining health value their independence, and you should too by giving your mom something that reflects the quality of life she lives. Mother’s Day is, after all, a celebration of the women who cared for us, and giving a gift to a senior mother does not mean condescending to old-age stereotypes.
On the other hand, if mom is getting up there in years, Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to give her a present that helps her out. To remain independent, after all, she’s going to need a little assistance from her beloved child (that’s you!).
Here are some ideas for Mother’s Day gifts that will help your senior mother enjoy her golden years.
Most senior mothers go gaga for the old Hollywood classics. From Cary Grant to Greta Garbo, the men were debonair and the women were glamorous. To your senior mother, today’s movies just aren’t the same. This Mother’s Day, give your senior mother the gift of instant access to thousands of old movies. Gift subscriptions to Netflix are easy to register for, and you can show your mother how to search for her favorites and add them to her queue. If your mother doesn’t have Internet access, make a list of all the classics she’d like to revisit and queue them for her. It won’t take too much of your time, and your mother will love having movies come right to her door. She won’t be forced to drive to the video store in bad weather or stand in long lines the next time she wants to take a trip down memory lane.
If your senior mother is a bit behind the times technologically speaking, throw in a DVD player and show her how it works. Pick out something small, cheap, and simple with very few buttons.
Garden and Lawn Maintenance
If your senior mother is still living in a house, she probably has trouble maintaining the garden and lawn. Since Mother’s Day falls conveniently at the beginning of spring, plant a garden for your mother to show her how much you care. Let your mother pick out the flowers or vegetables to go in her garden, and let her bring you lemonade while you work. That way, she’ll feel like you’re doing it together.
If your mother has a yard and you have the money, consider paying for a lawn service to maintain your mother’s grass. It’ll save her time and worry, as seniors often have a difficult time pushing a lawn mower, but have a hard time admitting they could use the help. You can either go through a local contractor, or hire a neighborhood kid to come by once a week.
Games, Puzzles, and Mysteries
Studies have shown that seniors who do logic puzzles and crosswords retain their cognitive faculties longer than seniors who do not problem solve on a daily basis. If your mother likes crosswords or logic puzzles, buy her compilation books or subscribe her to a monthly delivery. If your mother doesn’t do crosswords or logic puzzles, buy board games or card sets for Mother’s Day, and then actually play with her. She’ll be grateful for the quality family time, and the games will help keep her sharp.
If your mother is not the game-playing type, mystery novels make great Mother’s Day presents. Look for books that were popular when your mother was young, like Nancy Drew or Agatha Christie novels.
Encourage your mother to take an active part in her lifestyle by getting her magazine subscription for Mother’s Day. There are many magazines devoted to senior health and travel, and your mother will appreciate the valuable resource for information. Senior health care magazines have the added benefit of alerting your mother to possible health care risks and new medications. Senior travel magazines will help your mother find resorts and vacation destinations that cater to the mobile elderly.
Independent Lifestyle Accessories
Use Mother’s Day as an opportunity to assess your senior mother’s living situation for possible risks. Your mother might be independently minded, but chances are that she’s not as good at getting around as she used to be. Years of accumulated aches and pains take their toll on the body and make everyday activities like showering potentially dangerous.
Your mother might not be ready to admit she needs some household modification, but you can make it easier for her by doing it yourself as a Mother’s Day gift. Safety bars installed in the shower and non-skid pads in the bathtub are a good place to start. Also consider non-skid tracks for uncarpeted stairs to help prevent accidental falls. Digital clocks with large LCD screens help moms with dimished sight. If your mother is reluctant to talk to you frankly about her needs, make an appointment to see your mother’s primary care physician to talk about simple household modifications your mother could use.