Holiday Gift Gadgets
I'm looking for some neat holiday gift and gadget ideas for my retired parents, who have almost everything. Any tips?
Shopping for Seniors
Gadgets make fantastic presents! Everyone loves to receive gifts that make their life a little easier or more fun, and today there are thousands of gadgets for boomers and seniors that can accommodate almost any need. Here are some popular items to consider.
For technology-adverse seniors who like things big and simple, there's a variety of electronic gadgets on the market that make great gifts. Some of the most popular include the no-frills Jitterbug cellphone (www.jitterbug. com), which has features like large buttons, simple functions, easy-to-read text, voice dialing, and a cushion that cups around the ear to improve sound quality for $147. Also, see the new Coupe cellphone ($50), designed for older adults, at www.verizonwireless. com.
How about a senior-friendly camera? Check out Hewlett-Packard's Photosmart R927 ($279; www.shopping.hp.com), an 8.2- megapixel digital camera that has simple functions, a 3-inch-wide color screen that makes it easy to see what you're shooting, an "image advice" feature, which offers suggestions on how to improve your pictures, along with a menu that provides written explanations on the camera's screen. If you're interested in a camcorder, the Flip Video ($150; www.theflip.com) is a wonderful product, and simple to use.
What about an easy-to-navigate GPS system? The TomTom One XL ($350; www.tomtom.com) and TomTom Go 910 ($500) are dandy, with their large, 4.3-inch color screens that are easy to see in bright daylight and touch screen controls that are smartly designed and easy to learn.
For the computer-less seniors out there, put a Celery (www.mycelery.com) on your shopping list. The Celery device prints out emails and pictures sent via the Web, and gives seniors the ability to send handwritten letters as e-mails, all without a computer. It uses a color fax/printer ($99) connected to a standard phone line instead of a computer. Service fees are $140 per year. Also, check out the HP Presto at www.presto.com.
Healthy Living Gifts
Staying healthy as we age is a huge priority for most seniors. That's why exercise gadgets like pedometers (step counters) make wonderful gifts. For around $20, a pedometer can help supply motivation to get moving, and the Digi-Walkers (www.newlifestyles. com) and Omron HJ-150 and HJ- 151 (www.omronhealthcare.com) are nifty little devices that are accurate and simple to use.
Another great gift idea to help keep your elder loved ones healthy and strong is the
Resistance Chair ($240; www.continuingfitness. com). This all-in-one, home strength training tool is designed for seniors because it allows them to exercise in a safe seated position, using low-impact resistance bands that minimize the risk of exercise-related injuries.
And don't forget that seniors need to keep their noggins sharp, too! For this, see
Nintendo's Brain Age and new Brain Age 2 (www.brainage.com). These are seniorfriendly electronic games that offer mindboosting mental exercises that are fun and mentally stimulating. Each game costs $20, but to play them, you'll need to buy a palmsized DS Lite game unit which costs $130.
Helpful Household Gifts
Magnifiers are a favorite gift idea among older boomers and seniors, and Great Point Light (www.biggerandbrighter.com) offers a variety of styles in a rainbow of colors to meet almost any need, all for under $20.
For help in the kitchen, garden or tinkering around the house, you can't go wrong with OXO (www.oxo.com). The fabulous line of OXO "good grip" products are easy on aging hands. From kitchen utensils to hardware and garden tools, OXO makes over 500 different products at prices starting at around $5 per item. Two other great kitchen gadgets are the new "One Touch Can" and "One Touch Jar" openers ($20 each; www.onetouchopener.com and www.onetouchjar. com). As the name implies, these small devices open any can or jar at the push of a button.
And finally, because seniors are prime targets of identity theft, a Fellowes P-57C home power shredder ($59, www.fellowes. com) makes a smart gift.
Savvy Tip: If you don't like these ideas, you can find thousands of other gadgets at
www.abledata.com, a Web portal that lists what's available and where you can buy it.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to "The NBC Today Show" and author of The Savvy Senior books.
Jim Miller will demonstrate many of the gadgets he discusses in this column on "The NBC Today Show" Thursday, December 13. It will be his 30th appearance since his debut on the show July 15, 2003.
The Gazette does not endorse the contents of The Savvy Senior. Check with professionals about the contents of this column.