The 10 Best Gift Ideas for Seniors Not to be Missed part 2

In this episode, John and Lisa discuss 12 of their favorite gift ideas for Christmas that every Senior will enjoy! (Part 2 of a 2 part series).

Episode Transcript
Lisa
(This is part 2 of a 2 part series. Click here to access Part 1)

Yeah. No, I can't get that link to work, but we'll get that figured out.
John
One of these days. You know, unfortunately when you're doing things that are live…
Lisa
And new.
John
…and new, you can't really test out live without it being live. That's kinda how live works. But that's all right. We pulled up our list of stuff here. Of course, we have lots and lots of stuff that we could have talked about, but these were just the ones that really kind of struck Lisa and I as being particularly important. We were trying to get the little small link instead of a big link.
Lisa
Now I love the fact, too, that all these can be mail-ordered, you know, because I've just got to where, you know, getting out and about with the people in the parking lots and, you know, a lot of times you've gotta park way out, or even all the handicapped spots are taken, if you have handicap tags. So it can be challenging to get out there and get shopping. So mail order and online shopping, the best thing ever.
John
That's right. That's good stuff. Let me see. And we're back in about 10 seconds.
Lisa
… going, yeah.
John
I feel like I've been looking at this computer screen the whole time. All right, here we go.
John
Welcome back to "Aging Insight," everybody. This is your host, John Ross, here live in the studio with Lisa Shoalmire, and, you know, we're in the Christmas spirit, although we didn't…you and I did not necessarily participate in Black Friday.
Lisa
No.
John
We participated in Green…
Lisa
Yeah, it's called…
John
…Friday.
Lisa
…Go Green Friday.
John
And basically what this is is….in fact, this was a big thing that was pushed by the Arkansas Parks Association.
Lisa
Yeah. Arkansas State Parks said, "Hey, you know, instead of going shopping, why don't you get out in one of the state parks?" And we took 'em up on that.
John
That's right. Also, you know, we went out and enjoyed the outdoor wildlife instead of the wildlife that permeates the shopping centers during this season.
Lisa
Yes. We saw lots of deer, and even a snake friend on our little trek through Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas, beautiful place, and weather was perfect, so couldn't ask for better.
John
But, you know, we're still gonna end up having some shopping to do out there.
Lisa
Yeah. So we're kind of talking about some of the gifts that maybe older members of the family could actually use, and would actually appreciate instead of just giving 'em, you know, a cookie jar or something to sit on the counter.
John
That's right.
John
Sure.
Lisa
So having a reminder of what day it is, and all that is good. Also, John, even for folks that are at home, this gift is really nice. If you have a senior family member that you suspect may be having just…they're just a little…maybe a little bit of memory loss, I mean, they're fine to be at home, they don't need any, you know, special care really, but sometimes they get a little confused or, for instance, they lay down for an afternoon nap, and when they wake up they're just a little disoriented, you know, don't know if they've slept through the night or…
John
No, that's right.
Lisa
So this clock can help them kinda keep all that straight, and the reviews of this clock have been fantastic, and a lot of family members have given it to seniors and have just…you know, the seniors have just…you know, just some piece of information that they have, that they can just feel confident about.
John
Well, and this is in a very large format. You know, sight being what it is, I know so often when we're maybe executing a will or a trust, or something in the office and, you know, the clients have a hard time seeing the small-type prints, particularly some of the older clients. You know, it's one of those things where the eyesight just…it does go bad.
Lisa
Yeah, it does.
John
Over time, you know. I mean, that's not something that's particular to you, it's just particular to everybody. Every time I go to the eye doctor, Dr. Allen over there, he says, "Well, your eyesight is perfect right now."
Lisa
Right now, but he knows that it's not gonna stay that way, or our bodies just don't stay perfect our whole lives. And we have some challenges, and our eyesight's part of that, but this extra-large display clock can kind of help us navigate that a little bit, and runs about 50 bucks.
John
Yep, absolutely.
Lisa
So far, John, we kind of started with two-dollar kind of stocking stuffer, and those motion lights run around 20 bucks, so our extra-large display clock with…by the way, has battery backup, so if the lights go out the clock is still there…runs about 50 bucks.
John
Yep.
Lisa
And the Amazon Echo is just…it's a black cylinder, or I guess now they have different colors. It comes in white, and silver, and…
John
I didn't even know you can get 'em in all kinds.
Lisa
But it's just a little cylinder-shaped, maybe…what? About 12 inches tall, and it can sit on your countertop, and, in fact, I can talk about this because I have one.
John
Right, yeah. I think they were just talking about it on the "Kim Commando Show…"
Lisa
Really?
John
…right before you showed up.
Lisa
She must have stolen our playlist, or something, for today.
John
Clearly.
Lisa
But the Amazon Echo is this little cylinder tube, and you connect it to the Wi-Fi or the internet at the house. So, yeah, this is one of those things that if your senior parent doesn't have internet, well, then, you need to get them.
John
That's right.
Lisa
But essentially this thing, you can ask it what the temperature is outside and it will talk to you, and it will tell you. And you can ask it to set a timer, or to play music. You can even tell it what kind of music to play. If you want to listen to Elvis Presley gospel, you can ask the Echo just with your voice. You don't have to get on a keyboard, you don't have to get on an iPad.
John
But you know that particular one based on personal experience?
Lisa
Yes. Hey, you know, Elvis can…he can call down the gospel. But, you know, you just say…you call the name of the thing…I think it's called an Alexa, and you say, "Alexa, play Elvis Presley gospel music," and the thing starts playing Elvis Presley gospel music. And so, you know, it's a nice companion. It can read books. So if you have a senior who has been a reader, but maybe their eyesight has gotten really too difficult to read, the Echo will read audiobooks, too.
John
Yep, it will.
Lisa
So it's just a great little handy product. You know, if you're cooking and you can't remember, well, what temperature does chicken have to be at before it's done? You can just ask it, and it will tell you. If you want to know the score of the Dallas Cowboy game, you can ask it and it will tell you. So I really like this Amazon Echo. I know there are some folks, John, who don't like the idea that you have something in your house that could listen to you.
John
Well, that was actually what they were talking about on the "Kim Commando Show."
Lisa
See, I missed it, but I guess I just listen to boring…like, I'm not really too worried about what my Amazon Echo might listen to.
John
No nefarious plots going on in the house.
Lisa
Yeah.
John
Well, you know, now I will say, a lot of folks, particularly as they age, become more and more intimidated by the technology out there. I visited with a lady, which is probably just a month or two ago, in fact, lives over there right next to our office, pretty close, and very nice, lives in town, in large part because her daughter and son-in-law live here in town and they kind of help her up, and last year, son-in-law said, "You need an Amazon Echo." Said, "This is great." It's still sitting in the box in her house…
Lisa
Oh, my goodness!
John
…a year later.
Lisa
She doesn't know what she's missing.
John
She doesn't, but you know what? She doesn't know how to hook it up.
Lisa
Well, see, that was where her son-in-law messed up. He should have ….
John
Exactly right. Yeah, he should have been on top of that. So, you know, again, don't feel like you…most of these things are, once created, once established, once set up, the actual operation of them is very, very user-friendly.
Lisa
And I just want to jump in real quick before we go to our break, on this Amazon Echo, they have created all sorts of partner products that go with this Amazon Echo. For instance, there are thermostats that you can put on your home air-conditioning heating system, that connect to the Echo. So, for instance, if you have a little trouble transferring and getting up and down, instead of getting up to turn the heat up, you can just say, "Amazon Echo, you know, turn the heat up to 72," and it will do it. Or, you know, you can tell it to turn the light on in the room that is connected, that has a particular kind of light bulb that matches with the Amazon Echo. And there's just more and more products coming out like that. So frankly, you know, it's just a fantastic product to help us with accessibility issues.
John
Again, people will say…they'll say, "John, you know, the most important thing to me is that I'd be able to age in my own home. I wanna stay there as long as I can." Well, okay, that's fine. What are you doing to make that happen?
Lisa
Right. You know, have you remodeled the bathroom to make sure it's a little bigger?
John
When it's difficult to get up and down, then every time you do that, you're creating a strain on yourself and on your body, and you're creating a potential hazard that could jeopardize your ability to stay there in your home. So as mobility becomes a problem, you can do things like use Amazon Echo to connect to your thermostat, to your lighting systems. In fact, I think you can even go all the way through into your appliances and other things, but again, if you can at least control some of the basic functions like light switches…
Lisa
With your voice.
John
…with your voice, then, you know, now if it's difficult for that person to get out of bed and back into bed safely, and all they've got to do now is just say, you know, "Amazon Echo, turn on the lights…"
Lisa
It's a lot better.
John
Now that person is staying at home longer.
Lisa
I understand, John…I haven't used this feature yet, but I understand you can now even use the Amazon Echo to make calls. We talk about those commercials that are, you know, "I'm fallen, I can't get up," or, you know, the…but if you can speak out to the Amazon Echo, you know, "Amazon Echo, call Jennifer," who is your daughter, because you have fallen, well, then, how fantastic is that? So the Amazon Echo itself runs a hundred bucks or less. They're always running specials. I think right now an Amazon Echo cost about $80, and, you know, you just order from Amazon, and you get it set up. Now, the thermostats, and the lights, and the different things, yeah, they're sold separately. I feel like a commercial. But…
John
But I bet there are people out there that would be happy to also come and set these sort of things up for you.
Lisa
Yeah, you know.
John
So anyway, check some of that stuff out. We've got a couple more we want to talk about, but we got to take a break. So for those of y'all listening over-the-air, you gotta stick around 'till after these commercials. If you're on Facebook Live, well, then…
Lisa
You're stuck with us.
John
You're stuck with us. The show keeps on going. Stick around, we'll be right back.
Lisa
Yeah, I'm perfectly happy with the Amazon Echo. There's just nothing that goes on in my house, that if it listened, frankly it would…my Amazon Echo, if it were listening all the time, would just be bored, but…
John
Yeah, that "Kim Commando," it said that she's taking hers out of her kitchen. What's she doing? What's she plotting in there?
Lisa
Well, my favorite play spot's in the kitchen, because when I'm cooking I like to listen to music, which it will play, which I don't have to…you know, if my hands are dirty from cooking or chopping onions, I don't have to touch the radio or anything, I can just tell it, or if I need…how many tablespoons are in a cup? I can just ask the Echo and it can tell me. So, I mean, the kitchen is the perfect place for it myself, but I certainly can see folks having that concern. And then there's the whole Internet of Things, you know, with your thermostat, and all connected, and some people are…but again, I'm just not too worried about it.
John
Yeah, no, I'm just not too worried about it. Yeah, I just don't think it's that big a deal, but it is a big deal for us to get back on the radio. So here we go.
Lisa
Welcome back, everyone, to our final segment on today's gift guide… "Aging Insight Gift Guide." I'm Lisa Shoalmire. I'm here live in the studio with John Ross today, and we're just kind of going through a little list of gifts that we think seniors would really appreciate. We talked about some pens, and some lights, and, you know, some clock…we talked about a big clock, and then we talked about the Amazon Echo, one of my favorites. Also, John, there is…you know, few years ago they came out with those electronic picture frames? Because really what I learned that older family members really liked are pictures of all the grandkids, and great-grandkids, and all that stuff, but frankly, the old-style picture where you print them out and hung them on the wall…
John
Are just about gone these days.
Lisa
Yeah, and ... stay updated.
John
In fact, with those Millennials, I mean, they're saying that this will be the most photographed generation of people of all time that there will be no record of.
Lisa
Right, because they won't print out any pictures. But, John, you came across a photo frame that, instead of pre-loading photos, electronic copies of photos, that would display like a slideshow. You found a photo frame that you could update from afar.
John
Right. I think this one was kind of cool, because the deal you run into…and you and I have bought the digital photo frames in the past, and, you know, usually you have to sit there and you plug it into your computer, and…
Lisa
You download the pictures.
John
…you pick a couple of pictures, and, of course, it's got its own memory and so you're limited into how many pictures you can upload into it. Of course, memory is a lot cheaper now, but ultimately you're then stagnant, and if you want to change those photos, you got to go through this whole process again. And anyway, this one that I saw…and again, there's a link to it on the Facebook Live video, this one is actually app-based, so you're able to…you know, if I were to give my parents this frame, and then they can hang it in their house, or set it on a cabinet, or whatever, then I can go into the app on my phone, anywhere I am…
Lisa
Anywhere who you are.
John
…and I can change the pictures on there, and I can upload new pictures and all kinds of stuff. And so, you know, you're constantly being able to refresh it, and being able to change it and set it up, really pretty neat.
Lisa
Yeah, no, I like that idea because, you know, a lot of times…you know, a lot of seniors…the families live in different places now and, you know, they're just not right down the street like they used to be, so getting, you know, little grandchild's tee-ball picture from the tee-ball game that day. I mean, that would be super-cool.
John
Yeah, that's pretty awesome.
Lisa
Yeah. So, all right…
John
I think that one's pretty neat.
Lisa
But how much is that photo frame …?
John
They're a little pricey. They're a little pricey. Let's see. I think…let me see if I can look what that thing is.
Lisa
Let me see. Oh, yeah, just found it. It's 169 bucks.
John
Yeah, about 160 bucks, $169.
Lisa
So that is more of a…it is a pricier item, but, you know, that's just cool.
John
Yes, it is kind of cool. Now, that being said, you would have to be careful what photos you're putting on that thing.
Lisa
Sure.
John
I mean, if you're clearly a politician these days…
Lisa
If you're a congressman who is sharing inappropriate…
John
Congressman, celebrity, or…you might not want to just automatically sync it with your phone, or anything like that.
Lisa
Things to think about.
John
Things to think about. On that note…
Lisa
On that note, …
John
Oh, no, no. Moving on, here's one that I think is kind of a neat deal. Everybody likes a blanket.
Lisa
Yeah. You know, and so a lot of times…
John
In fact, we got blankets as gifts in our office.
Lisa
We did. We had a precious, wonderful dear client, who stopped by the office before Thanksgiving and brought us all big, warm, fuzzy blankets to have on the couch while you're watching football or movies, and very generous special shout-out and appreciation to our little client.
John
Yes, that's awesome. But, you know, everybody likes a blanket, and, of course, you know, you get cozy, you fall asleep, get a good night's rest, but, you know, rest cannot come easy for some folks. And I think this is a problem, particularly as you get older and you have, whether it's just some old age issues, or whether it's some things like dementia and Alzheimer's, sleep can become a problem.
Lisa
Yeah, and they've actually done some study. So we put on our gift list, a particular type of blanket that is supposed to help with these things, and it is a weighted blanket, John. And so, you know, it's almost kind of like the same philosophy as swaddling a baby, but here it's for an adult. It's a weighted blanket that…and they've done studies about weighted blankets, and they seem to decrease the agitation level of folks who have some dementia issues, cognitive issues. They just seem to bring a sense of calm to the adult who is lying there beneath that weighted blanket, and, you know, it's just a little extra weight, John. It's not like it's a led piece of advice.
John
Right. Has to hold you down. It's something…and I think you know, you'll see little memes and stuff about this on the internet, people that…you know, like a big pile of blankets on top of them, and I think that's because we do get some very base…
Lisa
Evolutionary-type security from…
John
Exactly.
Lisa
So this is a weighted blanket, and I know that the Alzheimer's Association, the big national group, and a lot of…like I said, there's a lot of studies about using weighted blankets. They do use weighted blankets in some facilities, memory care facilities and all, and so if you have a loved one who, you know, is always agitated, can't seem to get settled and get to sleep, maybe a weighted blanket is a gift. It is a little pricey, runs about 160 bucks.
John
Yep. And it depends on the size there. You can find them a little cheaper for maybe like a twin size or something like that, all the way up to your big king size that can go all the way up into the $200s and stuff. So they're a little different depending on the size and everything that you're looking for.
Lisa
So a weighted blanket, that's a potential gift out there. And now, John, I guess we kind of saved our big-ticket item…
John
That's right.
Lisa
…for last. And, you know, one thing that I have noticed, we try to be very thoughtful in our office as far as if we have people coming into our office, who maybe are on walkers, are on wheelchairs, or using some sort of assistance to get around. And so, you know…
John
In fact, when we bought our office, that was a big part of it, was making sure we had accessible entrances, and all of that sort of stuff.
Lisa
All right. And so we've got, you know, zero entrance where you can just come right in the door without having to go up any stairs, and we have a flat surface, non-carpeted floor so you can kind of get…you know, you can roll your apparatus around without being stuck in the carpet or a rug, or something. But, you know, a lot of times, when people face mobility issues, as far as walking and getting from place to place, boy, that just really limits their world and their experiences, and what they're enjoying in life. And so this last gift, John, it is a wheelchair, but it's a pretty fancy little wheelchair. It's called an EZ Lite wheelchair, or EZ Lite Cruiser. I like that.
John
So this is actually a folding, electric wheelchair. So, I mean, think of a wheelchair that you could just, like, push a button and it folds up small enough to be able to fit into a trunk or even a backseat of a car.
Lisa
Yeah, you don't have to have a special bracket or anything on the car to hold it.
John
No, it's heavy at 50 pounds, but I don't know how much heavier that is than just a regular wheelchair, especially some of the older ones that are, you know, big-steel tubing, and things. But it's completely electric, so once you get that thing out, you got several miles of charge.
Lisa
Yap, and you can run about 10 miles on a charge. So, you know, especially when I've seen couples where one of them has some challenges with mobility, and the other one is, you know, older themselves, just getting the wheelchair out and then pushing your loved one. It can be pretty exhausting. Here this little…this little EZ Lite Cruiser wheelchair with the electric, you know, once you get where you're going, you just pop in there, and then the person who's got trouble walking can just zoom right around, do their shopping, and then, you know, whoever's with them doesn't have the strenuous task of…
John
You know, pushing a wheelchair is not easy.
Lisa
Yeah. So anyway, this item is, of course, a little pricey because, you know, a compact fold-up electric wheelchair…but even so, I think it runs, what? A couple thousand dollars. So I think's the…
John
Yeah, no, that's gonna be about…I mean, that's about a $2200 deal, and unfortunately, this is not something that's typically going to be covered by Medicare.
Lisa
This is what they call a personal mobility device. This is not one of those old scooters, but…
John
But there are…you know, you might double-check with any other private insurance that you have, because it might actually be covered by some other insurances out there.
Lisa
And you can check out the links to the different gift ideas on the Facebook Live comments section. It will remain after today's show.
John
That's right. It'll be there, so…otherwise, we'll see you next weekend. Bye-bye.
Lisa
Bye-bye.
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