Many times with our busy schedules or the geographic distance between us, we may be hard pressed to come up with a gift that truly combines the recipient’s pleasure and a feeling of fulfillment for the giver.
A good solution might be to appropri-ate, to perform or arrange a service. Used as verb or adjective the word appropri-ate seems, well, appropriate.
Appropri-ate: Your Gift of Service
- NAVIGATE NC Gift Certificate: (OK, we’ll go first) Purchase an Assessment, a Plan, or choose from a menu of hourly/ongoing services. Use your certificate as a starting point, implement a Plan, or augment services already underway.
- Monthly “care package”: Arrange for arrival of gifts on a regular basis, designed with your senior in mind. NAVIGATE NC can steer you to resources like http://mygrandbox.com/ which offers monthly and subscription care packages for your older loved ones.
- Lawn care: You may perform the service yourself, or NAVIGATE NC will arrange for it.
- Car detailing, tune up, or headlight restoration: Cars are very important to some folks so why not pay for their baby to have a little TLC? (Headlight restoration is especially welcome for seniors who may have challenges with night driving).
- Food delivery: if there is no food delivery vendor available in your senior’s area, then turn your idea into a “Something”-of-the-Month service. Locate food, chocolate, cheeses, fruit, spices, gluten-free, snacks, fair trade items, world bazaar stuff and more… all available for delivery, your or theirs.
- Transportation: Just as my friend had a standing Thursday “coffee date” with her father, planning a standing outing could be a highly anticipated treat. Search for (or let NAVIGATE NC locate) transportation providers that will make life easier when it’s time for regular appointments or outings.
- Shake things up, break the routine: Offer to step in for the caregiver so they can take a break or leave early. Enjoy a nice visit, work on a project, or just watch TV together.
- Organization: Probably one of the most important gifts of service can be compiling important papers. Gather and organize documents and emergency information (including the numbers of family, neighbors and physicians). Begin a notebook, folder or accordion file. A professional organizer can get your senior squared away, and your Advocate from NAVIGATE NC can take this to an even higher level, ensuring that important information is accessible by those who would need it in an emergency. Nothing pays off like having all your affairs in order.
- Gift certificate to Barber/Beauty Parlor: for seniors on a fixed income taking care of this expense can help.
- Hospital, Rehab or Facility visit: An important bit of service, it can be both meaningful and fun. While hospitalized our mom liked to pass the time overnight by playing cards with a certain caregiver. Create a hospital card kit with a deck of cards, a pad, pen and a prize (and be sure to include some toothpicks or pennies for the competitive types). Keep score, take notes, leave phone numbers- – the notepad can go on to serve patient and visitors.
- Be a “Personal Shopper”: Be a shopper or a runner, for new clothes, specialty items, offer to help with your senior’s holiday gift procurement.
- Housecleaning and organization: NAVIGATE NC can refer a cleaning service (licensed and bonded) for a deep clean or regular service. Some folks like the house cleaned before holiday guests (and that is an IN for a reluctant recipient). The right service provider can take on chores that become difficult to perform, like changing sheets or storing items on top shelves. Getting out or putting away seasonal decorations can be a good time to organize (and downsize).
- Refrigerator purging and cleaning:This is especially helpful for someone who has trouble reading the expiration dates on food containers. Move on to the pantry.
- Grocery shopping: -And stowing the groceries, especially in advance of inclement weather.
- Battery check: What in the house requires batteries? What size, how many? Check the smoke and other alarms or detectors. Make sure spares are on hand in case of winter power outages.
- Picking up medications: Better yet, arrange for delivery. Many pharmacies offer synchronization of medications to a monthly date, will check for and verify changes with a physician, and now offer packaging that help to regulate a senior’s medication routine.
- Make a list of those emergency numbers (family, neighbors, and physicians) and put them by the phone(s). While you are at it make a set of emergency numbers for your household, a little self–service.
- Concierge services: Purchase blocks of time as a service, for companionship or extra help. NAVIGATE NC searches for resources if someone no longer drives. Hire someone to take your loved one for outings (we can vet them). Or, set up an account and put money in it for rides. Concierge services may include other options such as dog-walking, or helping with phone calls when confusing phone queues become barriers.
- Assist an elder on a shopping trip: Make a date, go along, drive, carry the parcels, and spend some time helping out. This provides a great opportunity to determine what else might be needed or helpful. Look for the needs of the person and the residence, wherever your seniors live. Ask yourself: what would make things easier?
Service: that along with Time, Purpose and a little innovation may ease a difficult time or solve a problem for your senior friends and relatives. Give the gift of service.
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