November 15, 2013

Holiday gift giving ideas

Hi everyone. I’ve been thinking about some unique and thoughtful gifts to give our relatives and ourselves this year. So let’s get right to it:

If your relative has been having foot problems and you can spring for a gift certificate to a specialty shoe store like Comfort One Shoes, Rockport or SAS ,that may make that person’s day! So many people are suffering from foot problems these days.. between plantar fasciitis, neuropathy, corns and bunions, etc. the person who may seem to need nothing new may actually benefit tremendously from having a professional fit them with new shoes. I, for one, have had very positive personal experiences with these shoe vendors and I know that you will also. By the way, I went into SAS to research shoes for seniors and ended up buying and loving a pair of black patent loafers. They a few “younger” styles amidst the old standards. I recommend checking them out. Other brands that are very foot friendly are Merrills, Mephisto, Ahnu, Ecco and Naot . Arche and Taryn Rose come to mind as very fashionable and well designed shoes for women.

I am an advocate of having great shock absorbing floormats . I love my Smartcells Technology Floormat . And I am looking forward to seeing how much it can help when we host Thanksgiving. Those of you with plantar fasciitis know what I am talking about.

One year, my son bought me an electric foot massager. I keep it under my desk;it is a great solution for aching feet and legs.

Of course, you can be creative , gathering a variety of foot care products at the drug store to assemble a basket with lotions, a long handled sponge, over the counter arch supports or gel inserts , socks or slippers.

At one time or another, most of us will experience an aching back. When in doubt about the cause and severity, please see your doctor. But if it seems to be the result of muscle strain or poor body mechanics, there are a variety of products that may be helpful and soothing.
Backrests/supports , The Back Stick , Foam Back Rollers or even foot rests to take pressure off of the back, may be very helpful. Antigravity chairs can be purchased for inside or outside settings and I can personally vouch for the complete feeling of relaxation that they provide.
The Back Store,Target, athletic supply stores, and Brookstone are great sources for these types of items.
For those who enjoy tracking their activities digitally, Lumoback is a posture and activity sensor, worn as a strap around the torso, which provides ongoing feedback to help the user correct their posture and thereby protect their back throughout the day.
My family loves disposable Thermacare wraps for an acute backache. They are nonprescription, disposable and are worn for 6-8 hours under your clothing, providing concentrated heat to a specific area ; this can be very helpfulin addressing muscular back strain if you are going to work and can’t carry around a heating pad all day.


The Radio Reading Service provides through the radio or computer, free access to a wide variety of newspapers , magazines and books on a daily or weekly basis and transmits through the computer or radio. Help your relative connect with this very supportive and valuable program.

The Library for the Blind has been updating their supplies and provides free rental equipment for listening to books, etc for visually impaired or physically disabled .

Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind is a great online resource for specialty products for the visually impaired.( Watches, phones, mobility devices, magnifiers, self care devices, etc)

A simple personal dry erase board with markers may be very useful.

Maryland Relay provides guidance, assistance and telephone communication products for hearing impairments.
A Digital photo frame loaded with family photos.


Familiar music from their youth; many people( including myself) can not remember what they did last week but can remember lyrics of songs from their youth. It is a win -win when everyone can connect on a musical level.

A calendar with stickers and markers to help organize activities and appointments.

Installation or establishment of a shelf or labeled area for keys, phones, wallet, purse with anice picture or photo posted above to cue the person .

Specialized phones support the needs of visually, hearing and cognitively challenged people. Radio Shack, Maxi Aides , Walmart all sell these items.

FOR TREMORS or Weakness:
I recently heard about a new product line called Lift Ware (from Lift Labs in San Francisco )which was developed to help people with tremors feed themselves more effectively. The the goal of the company is to integrate their technology and engineering skillsets to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. I have not tried the product but I believe that it is worth trying and that for those people with Parkinsons Disease and other tremor related disorders, this could be a life changer.
Bath safety equipment can be a stylish and useful gift: Designer grab bars, extra shelving, and a magnifying mirror to improve ease for grooming..

For anyone on your list, it is so important to think about the person’s interests and needs and ability level. Do they embrace the new or prefer variations on the familiar? Do they seem to be able to learn new technology and wish to use it to be able to stay in touch with family and interests. Would they prefer an experience or a concrete gift? Do they need your help to get started and make sure that they can use their new gadget? Would they appreciate a visit as much as anything?

That’s it for now. I will be back with few more ideas before the holidays.I hope that some of these ideas are helpful.


November 15, 2013