(MoneyWatch) Welcome to my second post on holiday gift ideas for that hard-to-buy-for older friend or relative. If you've been struggling to think of something to buy for someone in that category, these nine ideas -- plus the nine ideas from my previous post -- can help. Happy shopping!
$50 to $100
1. Budgeting software, such as that offered by Quicken. When you're working, one of the biggest obstacles to saving for retirement is freeing up money from your budget. And during retirement, you need to make every dollar count. Budgeting software can help with both of these goals. Hint: If your loved one is technologically challenged, include a coupon for free help from you.
2. A trip to a movie, concert or play. Staying active and social is especially critical as we age. You can help your favorite older relative by taking them out on the town. This is a particularly thoughtful gift for people who don't get out much and value the gift of your time. (This is one of my mother's favorite gifts.)
3. Dance lessons. These offer an opportunity for great exercise and fun. The recipient of this gift will also meet new people, and for married couples it's a wonderful way to rekindle the romance. (Husbands: Take the hint! This works better than jewelry, and it's a lot cheaper. I can personally attest to the success of this gift.) Dancing is also rated highly as an activity that can keep you mentally sharp in your later years.
4. A gym membership, some walking shoes or anything else that might get someone out of the house. Help your loved one kick-start an exercise habit with the gift of exercise gear. Regular exercise is critical to keeping healthy in your later years.
5. Local, fresh produce. On the subject of kick-starting a healthy habit, why not help those you love eat more fruits and vegetables to improve their health? You can arrange for regular delivery of locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables through a community-supported agriculture program. It's win-win, as you'll also help local farmers in the process.
6. A class of interest at a local community college or senior center. This helps get your giftee out of the house to meet new friends and learn new things, both of which will improve their well-being.
7. Coupon for a massage or spa treatment. This will also help your friend or relative's feeling of well-being and make them feel like they're well taken care of.
$100 and higher
8. A Kindle, iPad, Nook or other electronic reading device. These gadgets have many advantages. For the elderly with arthritic hands, e-readers are easier to handle than conventional books. If your gift recipients are sight-challenged, you can show them how to increase the font size. They can also buy books from the comfort of their own homes, without having to drive to the bookstore. And you can introduce them to a whole new world of technology.
9. A coupon for a session with a professional retirement planner. This can be particularly valuable for someone who doesn't know how to get started planning for retirement. Make sure the planner is independent and doesn't sell investments or insurance. The Garrett Planning Network is one such financial planning forum with a national list of planners who only consult by the hour.
If you have any more great holiday gift ideas for the older person on your shopping list, please share in the comment section below.
Make someone happy this holiday season!