Sunday, December 7, 2008

Three Wishes...At Least

I have been eavesdropping on conversations lately, especially the ones that give hints of what might be on holiday wish lists. I linger near the mobility section and bath safety areas watching families discover products they believe will work for Mom or other loved ones they worry about. There are hosts of surprisingly practical, yet unique gifts out there. So, if you are in that familiar state that revisits you this time of year, the one where you spend hours wondering what on earth to buy for Aunt Peg, Grandpa, Uncle Joe or your bingo pal, I have some ideas for you.
For gifts under $25, for example, here are three that have caught the eye of a few shoppers last week:
Tray Mate: this simple and inexpensive tray attaches safely to an arm chair or sofa. Carol told me that her aunt loves having tea in her reclining lift chair, but can't find the right tray to make it work. She spilled tea earlier this year, just avoiding a serious burn. If you want to spend a bit more for your favorite aunt, add some Laughing Coyote Herbal Tea and a Steepware Mug to go with it, and you have just solved another gift giving conundrum.

FlexNeck Reading Light: David spent an hour the other day racking his brain for a small gift for his brother, Mike, who has a developmental disability. Mike lives with others in a small home in town, so much of what David purchases for him, also often gets shared with the others. David always likes to find at least one thing that Mike can keep in his room or in his pocket to have just for himself. I asked David some questions about what Mike liked to do, and when he said that David likes to look at books of maps, we mosied over to the book section and found this great reading light. With its wider clip, Mike can use it on many sized maps and books. It is also small enough to fit in his pocket. David then added a Book Peeramid to his purchase. He knows Mike will most likely share that since it is big enough to move around for others. But he knows that little flexneck light will stay with Mike.

MocSocks: Slippers can be so predictable sometimes as a gift for an older adult in your life. MocSocks, on the other hand, bring comfort and class to what can seem ordinary. Made of comfy PolarTec fabric, these products by the Colorado-based company, Janska, are both stylish and practical. A combination of moccasins and socks, this product features slip-proof gripping material on the soles and outside seams, ensuring that they will lay soft against the skin and not cause irritation. Ann loved this colorful and comfortable option for her friend whose feet are always chilly in the winter. You can add a lapwrap shawl to this purchase to complete your shopping for someone very special on your list.

I also overheard a touching conversation between a son and his mom. The son was clearly visiting for the Thanksgiving holidays, trying to work on some projects and share some quality time with his mother before returning to his home out of town. They happened upon Capabilities. Because her safety was very much on his mind, they ended up spending a lot of time walking around the store. After many suggestions by him and refusals to consider things by her, she suddenly was taken with the tub lift. "Oh, to take a bath again, instead of a shower," she mused out loud, catching herself when he perked up. They argued a bit, she denying that she really wanted something like this. They left. The son called us later, asking us to put one aside for him. He came back, purchased the tub lift and plans on wrapping it with a big bow and hiding it in his mother's house. He will call her on Christmas Eve and give her directions for finding this treasure. Some Boomer children are determined to overcome their parents' reluctance to consider spending some money to make their homes safe.

If you are on the hunt for something practical for the two of you, as you both face some of your challenges with arthritis, COPD or a heart condition, do what the Smiths did a few weeks ago. They came in wondering how they might get out and about again. They had seen others in electric scooters, but had never tried them. "We are just researching," they said. Two hours later after riding around the store and up and down the sidewalks of the shopping center, they bought scooters, one in blue for him, and red for her! "Merry Christmas," they said to each other, as they drove out the door. They are asking their kids to chip in to buy the auto lift that will make it all the easier to put the scooters in their minivan!

So, try not to get discouraged as you think about those "hard to buy for" loved ones in your life. And, certainly do not be curtailed by the older adult who says, "I don't need a thing. Save your money." Resist the urge to buy another sweater or candy dish. We also have a gift registry, so encourage your folks to mention what catches their fancy when they are browsing in our store. That way you can get the inside scoop by accessing their list!

Visit Capabilities in person or online for terrific ideas! Tell us some of your ideas for that special someone in your life who may have stumped you for a while.

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