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, theres a variety of electronic gadgets on the market that make great gifts.
Some of the most popular include the no-frills Jitterbug cell phone (www.jitterbug.com), which has features like large buttons, simple functions, easy-to-read text, voice dialing, and a cushion that cups around your ear to improve sound quality for $147. Also see the new Coupe cell phone ($50) designed for older adults at www.verizonwireless.com.
How about a senior-friendly camera? Check out Hewlett-Packards 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 youre shooting, an image advice feature, which offers suggestions on how to improve your pictures, along with a menu that provides written explanations on the cameras screen. Or, if youre 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 a large 4.3 inch color screen thats easy to see in bright daylight and its touch-screen controls are smartly designed and easy to learn.
And for the computer-less seniors out there, put a Celery (www.mycelery.com) on your shopping list. The Celery device that prints out e-mails 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. Thats 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.new-lifestyles.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, which minimizes the risk of exercise-related injuries.
And dont forget that seniors need to keep their noggins sharp too! For this, see Nintendos Brain Age and new Brain Age 2 (www.brainage.com). These are senior-friendly electronic games that offer mind-boosting games that are fun and mentally stimulating. Each game cost $20, but to play them, youll need to buy a palm-sized DS Lite game unit which costs $130.
Helpful Household Gifts
Believe it or not, 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 cant go wrong with OXO (www.oxo.com) who makes a fabulous line of good grip products that are easy on aging hands. Everything 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 Bar openers ($20 each; www.onetouchopener.com and www.onetouchjar.com). As the name implies, these small devices open-up any can or jar at the push of a button.
And finally, because seniors are prime targets of identity theft, a Fellowes P-57C ($59. www.fellowes.com) home power-shredder makes a smart gift.
Savvy Tip: If you dont like these ideas, you can find thousands of other gadgets at www.abledata.com, a Web portal that lists whats available and where you can buy it.---
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of The Savvy Senior books.