Christmas Stocking ideas for older family members
A visit – the most precious gift of all
Older family members are likely to find it almost impossible to cram one more towel, coffee mug or pair of socks into the already full drawer. The following may be more welcome:
a bag of potting mix and offer to re-pot their favourite house plants;
an offer to clean out the pantry and the pots and pans cupboard;
(from more tech-savvy younger family members) – computer or mobile phone lessons, along with a downloading of Skype, Facetime or zoom to stay connected with absent friends and family;
an offer to walk the dog, or to take the family pet to the vet for vaccinations and a check-up;
a month of delivered gourmet meals, or a weekly box of grower direct fruit and vegetables;
a project to scan the family slides and photo albums, or to write down their story;
an offer to weed the driveway or to paint the front fence; or
an offer to take them to visit an old friend, or to bring the friend to visit them for afternoon tea.
Yet don’t forget that what would be appreciated most of all by many older people in our lives, particularly those that live alone, or may be living in aged care, is a visit and a chat, and a promise to come back soon.
Social isolation and loneliness are two of the biggest health risks as we get older. It is important not to underestimate the value of social contact and staying connected. As we navigate our way into the brave new world ahead of living with COVID, it is critical that we look at how to keep safely connected with our older and more vulnerable family members and friends.