Northwest NEWS

December 18, 2000

Entertainment

Holiday shopping for seniors

from Home Instead Senior Care
   Forget that paisley dress tie you found on sale. Chuck those chocolate-covered cherries and save that scented candle for a dark and stormy night. When it comes to the gifts they would like for the holidays, America's seniors have spoken and the message is this: Think Big.
   In a survey, the top gift choice was a large-print calendar highlighting family members' birthdays and anniversaries. Among other top 10 gift preferences were a framed, enlarged favorite family photograph and a large-numbered television remote control.
   Seniors surveyed were not eager to air any complaints. Only 34 percent responded to the question: "Besides a fruitcake, what is the one gift you don't want this year?" The most disliked gifts mentioned were chocolate-covered cherries, a dress tie, jewelry and candles.
   Seniors had plenty of favorites, though. Among the other top 10 gift choices in order, following the calendar at 87 percent, were: gift certificates to a grocery store or pharmacy, 84 percent; gift certificates to a favorite restaurant, 82 percent; cordless telephone, 81 percent; box of assorted greeting cards and postage stamps, 79 percent; a framed, enlarged favorite family photograph, 76 percent; easy chair or recliner, 75 percent; heating pad/water bottle, 74 percent; slippers, 72 percent; and large-numbered television remote control, 70 percent.
   The desire for companionship and items than seniors can use in their homes to maintain their independence, such as cordless phones, also played prominently in the survey results.
   Another prevailing message from the survey: You don't have to spend a lot of money to make your senior happy. Fifty-seven percent said a gift of $25 or less was the most appropriate.
   At 78 percent, a replaced piece or two of china or silverware was at the top of the list of least-preferred gifts from among the 25 choices presented in the survey.
   Following, in the least preferred category, were: reputable appraisal of antiques or collectibles, 65 percent; coupon organizer, 56 percent; basket of treats or toys for a pet, 43 percent; long-handled shoe horn, 41 percent; book of personal service coupons from grandchildren to do chores around the house, 40 percent; prepaid long-distance telephone card, 39 percent; fire extinguisher, 36 percent; and assembled family photo album, 35 percent.
   The company distributed 1,800 surveys to its clients with 536 (82 percent) females and 116 (18 percent) males completing the survey for a return response rate of 35.7 percent.