Senior Living: This holiday season, why not give ‘the best gift’ … you!


By Beth Dow, Solutions by Beth

What is the best gift you have ever gotten?

From childhood, I have two gifts that stand out. The first was my 
Chatty Cathy doll. She could talk! She was bigger than other dolls. She was most like the real thing! And she was the best gift ever!

The second “best” gift I remember was a record player with separate speakers. I was way past the age of believing in Santa Claus, but that year, Santa made a surprise visit and delivered this very special gift. As a teenager, I listened to my records over and over and sang every word to every song.

As an adult, my most precious gifts very often came from my granddaddy. These were not expensive gifts. They were not practical, nor were they anything that I wanted. But each gift had a story behind why he bought it for me.

The connection between me and the gift would never be clear until he got to the end of his story, and then it was crystal clear. No matter the gift, I always knew that it was picked 
specifically for me because of his love for me.

The best gifts in life are not those that cost the most. They are not the ones that are the “next best thing”. They are not the ones that are repeated on the television commercials throughout the holiday season.

The best gifts are those that say the giver thought about you. That is all we really want. To know that we are on our loved one’s minds and hearts. That we are not just a “check” on their to-do shopping list.

So, this holiday season I want to challenge you to gift the unexpected. Instead of giving movie gift certificates, give a movie date. Instead of restaurant gift certificates, take them out to dinner. Instead of pajamas, have a pajama party. Give a gift that has a back story, like my granddaddy did. And most important, give a gift that includes you.

Your parents, your grandparents, and your great-grandparents really only want you for Christmas. You are the best gift you can give them – your time, your words, your attention. It is never too late to make the best memories.

Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season.


Beth Dow is a Dementia and Alzheimer’s Educator, CAEd, 
Geriatric Case Manager and 
Certified Senior Advisor. Contact her at [email protected].

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