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  2004 Press Releases  

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Nikki Smith
Phone: 1-217-785-3371, TTY: 1-800-252-8966

December 15, 2004

Help With Gifts for Elders

SPRINGFIELD – Looking for gift ideas for an older friend or relative?

Here are a few suggestions from Illinois Department on Aging Director Charles D. Johnson.

"The best gifts for older people say that you understand the reality of getting older, and that you respect the elder’s needs and limitations," Johnson said. "The very best gift is the presence of family and friends in the life of an elder and practical assistance with everyday tasks.

"Most older people would appreciate help with shopping, chores or a special meal on a regular basis. One family told me that they give their grandmother handmade coupons that promise a weekly meal, regular help handling insurance forms and yard work," Johnson said, "I cannot think of a better way to help."

The best gifts, he said, are practical, something an older person can use. He suggested gift coupons from a restaurant or beauty shop regularly frequented by the older person, stationery, a selection of greeting cards, subscriptions to favorite newspapers and magazines – in large type, if possible.

If money is a problem for the elder on fixed income, Johnson suggested gift certificates from a local grocery store or pharmacy, postage stamps or a subscription to cable or satellite TV for a year.

Other gifts meet the need for assistance: a large-faced alarm clock that "speaks" or projects the time, easy-grip can and jar openers, the installation of grab-bars or other safety features for the bathroom, non-skid shoes with Velcro fasteners.

"But the best gift of all is the acknowledgment of the older person’s past contributions. A simple 'thank-you' can go a long way," Johnson said.

For more information, call the Senior HelpLine: 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY) .

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