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This year, instead of socks and perfume, consider gifts which will make life better all year round.

Gifts which make it easier, safer and more enjoyable to live at home are available for every budget.

1. Gifts with safety in mind

With a screwdriver and a hammer, you can replace door knobs with levers, install a flexible showerhead and grab bars, or build a ramp out the back door. Don’t install a ramp to the front door as that would be a dead giveaway to scammers and thieves.

2. Technology gifts

A computer-savvy teen can set up Skype or Facetime to chat with distant relatives, medication or other reminders on the cell phone, or an eyes-on app which notifies you and the doctors if meds are taken within 30 minutes of the time they should be.

3. Transportation

Have you considered a gift book of rides from a driving-eager teenager? Uber and Lyft both offer gift cards. Having a “chauffeur” does not mean losing the independence that comes with driving.

4. Money Management

Is money management becoming an issue or an irritation? You can help set up automatic withdrawals for utilities and other regular monthly bills. Credit cards can be replaced with a TrueLink Financial debit card. Limits can be set on where it can be used: no more QVC or impulse internet purchases; no more giving out the card number to fake charities dialing for dollars.

5. Call Blockers

Call blockers, such as the Sentry 3.1, can block those calls which get through .

6. Fall Management

Fall management slippers and rides to free fall prevention classes at the Y or the Capital Area Agency on Aging can be a wonderful gift. One out of three seniors falls in a given year. Falls are the greatest cause of injury in seniors and often lead to loss of independence and even death.

7. Cell Phone or Apple Watch

Grandma might appreciate an easy-to-use cell phone or an Apple Watch which monitors for falls and checks heart rhythms.

8. Hearing Products

If Gramps is losing his hearing, he might like one of the many products available on

9. Vision Products

If vision is becoming a problem, he might like something from

10. Calendar Clocks

Large calendar clocks can help remind people of the time, day and date.

11. Appointment Tracker

Whiteboards can keep track of appointments.

12. Medical Alarm

Med alarms can remind people to take their medicine.

13. Gardening

If Grandma can no longer garden, she might enjoy indoor plants.

14. Pet Birds

If it is getting hard for Gramps to walk the dog and you fear he will trip over a cat, he may enjoy looking after a pair of birds.

15. Crafts and Puzzles

If arthritis is not a problem, craft supplies and jigsaw puzzles may bring hours of pleasure.

16. Compiling an Archive of Family Information

Grandma might enjoy compiling a book of “Our Family Recipes” using scrapbooking supplies. Subscriptions to online genealogy sites offer a treasure trove of historical information allowing your loved ones to explore their family history. Artifact Uprising offers photo books, frames, calendars, and other collections of prints for your family photographs. Upload your photos to their service. It’s as simple as it is thoughtful.

17. Recording/Writing Grandparents’ Stories for Grandchildren

She and Gramps might enjoy writing or recording “Stories for My Grandchildren,” collecting pictures and memories from earlier days. There are even talking photo albums which they can record.

18. iPod

Both Grandma and Gramps are likely to enjoy music from their youth. You can record a personal playlist on an iPod using instructions at

19. YOU

The best gift of all is you. Knowing that the people into whom we poured so much of ourselves, whom we spent so much of our lives loving and caring for also care for us is the best gift of all.


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Estate Planning attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is active in the Texas and Austin Bar Associations. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

She assists families of people with special needs, people planning for the retirement years and people administering estates.

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