10 min read
Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternatives.
A 70th, 80th, 90th or even 100th birthday is an awesome milestone to celebrate and one that should recognized.
But what birthday gift do you give?
That's certainly a topic worth careful consideration, especially since seniors and grandparents are less likely to need more "stuff" and may also have less space as they've downsized.
My favorite way to handle birthdays for grandparents and senior citizens is a coordinated approach among family and friends.
By doing so, everyone's good intentions can be channeled into a gift idea that the birthday person will love.
Keep reading for more details, as well as a bonus idea that is one of my all-time favorite gifts!
My mom celebrating her birthday. It turns out the Celebration Stand was a great gift for her, because she can change the banner for the next occasion herself. Plus, in the limited amount of space she has, it doesn't take up much room.
At the risk of stating the obvious, seniors have lived a long time and touched many people’s lives.
A sentimental gift is a great way to celebrate the highlights of their life and reflect upon the impact they've had on others. Putting together a Keepsake Birthday Memory Box is a wonderful way to package all that goodness into one gift.
Ask family and friends to contribute memories and special wishes for your birthday person.
Some ideas that work well:
Gather everything together and put into a box that says Happy 90th Birthday! on the top or another cheery sentiment.
Add a birthday card explaining the person is about to receive 70, 80 or 90 memories/wishes, or just mention there’s a whole lot of love inside!
I wish I had numbered the envelopes in this Keepsake Birthday Box for a friend.
70 seconds doesn’t sound like a lot. Nor does 80 or 90 seconds
But 90 birthday wishes or memories?
That might sound overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a lot of contributors!
You can always round out memories and wishes from family and friends with:
You can find a variety of resources online for newspaper headlines. Some of the sites require you to pay, while there are also some free options, like this Pinterest board from Ingrid Summa.
Another gift idea is to pick a "theme" based on the birthday person's interests and have everyone contribute a small gift accordingly. This coordinated approach allows the overall gift to have "heft", plus the birthday person avoids receiving random things they may have no use or space for,
For example, if their cooking was legendary and they still love making dinner several nights a week, you might ask everyone to gift their favorite kitchen gadget. Similarly, if the person loves German literature, you could suggest everyone gift a book in this vein.
Draft (or just assign someone 😀) to be The Gift Quarterback.
This person provides direction to guests about what to give and how to give it. They can indicate whether gifts should be brought to the party wrapped or if all unwrapped gifts will go into one large box that is given to the guest of honor.
In my experience party guests are DELIGHTED to be told how to handle gifts because it saves them time and energy, plus no one wants to be the odd one out.
It’s hard to imagine our lives without our smartphones, computers and the Internet.
For most senior citizens?
The majority of their lives were spent without any of that stuff and they managed to fill their days just fine, thank you very much.
As a result, many individuals over the age of 70 aren’t well-versed in technology. Still others have a device, but it may be outdated. (You'll find plenty of flip phones in retirement communities!)
For a milestone birthday gift, family and friends can pool their money and buy the birthday person that technology item that might otherwise be tough to afford on a fixed income.
Whether it's a new laptop computer that has enough memory for all their photos or a smartphone so they can see videos of the grandkids, new technology can help keep senior citizens better informed, better connected and potentially safer.
(Did I mention I worked at Intel for 17 years? 😀 )
But, before you go rushing off to Best Buy or checking out options on Amazon, please remember...
Purchasing a new iPad, smartphone or computer as a gift is the easy part.
The hard part?
Making sure the birthday person can actually USE device!
According to the Pew Research Center, 73% of Americans aged 65 years old and older said they needed help setting up or using a new device. (That compares with 62% of people aged 50-64 years old; 36% of 30-49 year olds; and only 17% of those 18-29 years old.)
I know it’s not fun to think about things like software migration and network compatibility but...
Gifting a senior citizen a bright and shiny new device that doesn’t do what they want?
It's not much different than finding the exact toy you wanted under the tree on Christmas morning---only to find Santa didn’t include batteries.
If your senior citizen is well-versed in technology or is just naturally curious about gadgets and is happy trouble shooting all afternoon, please disregard this section.
On the other hand, if they struggle to find the on/off switch for their cellphone, or swear the "Internet is broken" because Gmail won't send their email, keep reading.
The basics of gifting technology:
If the gift is the first device of its kind for the person:
If the gift replaces an existing device:
This idea is not exactly in keeping with the box of memories..but since we were just talking about historical events and newspapers, I had to mention it.
The New York Times offers a really special idea for any birthday. It's a bound coffee table book containing the front page of the newspaper from the day the person was born---and every birthday after that.
6 reasons I love this gift:
The senior citizens in your life will be glad you took their needs into account and will be thrilled with the end result.
We're so glad you're here! Birthday Butler helps make celebrating easier and more convenient.
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