Holiday gift suggestions

Ron Smith Maricopa
Ron Smith

In an attempt to reduce holiday stress, I’m going to provide you with some gift suggestions for friends and loved ones. Of course, in the spirit of my monthly articles, my suggestions will focus on gifts that might help improve the lives of loved ones or friends who have faced some of the challenges to aging well.

Ensure that your friend or loved one is living in a home that is comfortable and safe for them by performing a home assessment. You can procure a HomeFit Guide from AARP to assist you in the assessment. You can go to: to either download or order a printed guide. It is available in several languages and will lead you through a room by room safety review of all the areas in and around the house.

For those who are suffering from arthritis, the OXO Good Grips line of products has many innovative and helpful tools, storage containers and gadgets designed to make life easier. Potential aids include a button hook tool or a motion sensor trash can. Adaptive eating utensils are great for people with severe cases of arthritis.

Vision changes as we age are inevitable. Hopefully, many people will be able be keep their vision sharp with annual check ups and revised prescriptions, but that’s not true for everyone. Good lighting is very important. Check your loved one’s home. Upgrade bulbs or add lamps to help improve lighting where needed. If there are ceiling fixtures, upgrades to LED lighting can not only improve lighting quality but reduce maintenance and the need for a ladder to change bulbs. It can also reduce the chance of falls.

For those living in nursing homes or assisted living, consider adaptive clothing to make dressing/undressing easier. A digital photo frame can help keep family close between visits; A comfortable blanket has many uses, or a Wheelchair friendly blanket. Consider a puzzle board that can hold the puzzle being constructed when it needs to be moved. Get them a personalized pouch or bag for a walker or wheel chair. Moisturizers and cosmetics are welcome or a credit for the beauty salon.

COVID taught us many lessons about isolation. For your friends or family living alone, consider increasing visits or phone calls. Arrange for a trip to the park, the senior center or a day trip. Get your loved one a monitor that can detect falls or emergencies. This can be a wonderful solution. Consider registering your loved one with the Maricopa Police Department’s Y.A.N.A. (You Are Not Alone) program. Y.A.N.A. provides regular phone calls, planned home visits and referrals to community resources when needed. They work with service agencies to meet the needs of residents with limited mobility. Combating isolation is one of the most beneficial gifts that can be given.

If your friend or a loved one is a diabetic, I would like to recommend that you encourage them to enroll in the Diabetes Self-Management Workshop sponsored by the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens. This is a virtual healthy living with diabetes workshop that is intended to help you learn how to take control and manage your health.

Happy holidays everyone! Let’s be kind to each other. Safe travel and happy family gatherings.

Ron Smith is an aging-in-place advocate, a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) and a Certified Living in Place Professional (CLIPP™).

This story was first published in the December edition of InMaricopa magazine.