Buying presents for parents is no easy feat, especially those who are getting up there in years. It's not like you can just wrap a bag of Werther's Originals and call it a day. And if you ever watched Everybody Loves Raymond, you know a fruit-of-the-month club isn't a good choice. It's time to get a little more creative — and maybe a little more practical as well. With that in mind, I've rounded up 10 gifts to buy for aging parents, all of them intended to be useful in some way — to make life a little easier, a little safer and maybe a little more entertaining.
Cheap, simple, practical: Greenic's plug-in night-lights activate only when they detect motion, making them ideal for nighttime trips to the bathroom or any other circumstance where a little light is needed. And these glow a pleasant blue, just enough to help with navigation but not so bright as to wake anyone else.
Jars can be hard to open even if you don't have a weak grip or arthritic hands. This simple appliance eliminates the frustration altogether: Just place it over a jar (it can work with just about any size and shape), press a button and voila: Even the toughest lids pop off.
It doesn't have to be this exact one (see below), but some kind of Amazon Echo device is definitely a good idea. Your parent can "ask Alexa" for just about anything: news and weather reports, music and podcasts, jokes and more. Plus, Alexa can control various smart-home devices, including lights and door locks. And Amazon's optional Alexa Together service can handle caregiving services like medication reminders and even fall alerts. This Dot includes a clock, making it an even better bedside companion.
Modern TV is surprisingly complicated, what with all the different streaming apps and services. Roku's interface is by far the easiest to use, and the Ultra makes life even easier thanks to its user-friendly remote. It includes a voice-command button ("start Netflix," for example), a headphone jack for private listening, two programmable shortcut buttons and even a lost-remote finder. The Ultra can easily integrate with any existing cable-box setup, too.
Losing stuff sucks. Losing stuff when you're older and have less mobility is even suckier. That's why I recommend a Tile Pro tracker for every keychain, purse, bag and so on. If something goes missing, just fire up the Tile smartphone app to help located it. Even better, if the phone itself goes missing, just double-press the button on the Tile Pro and the phone will ring — even if it's set to silent. (That incredibly useful feature isn't supported by Apple AirTags.) I speak from experience: Tile trackers are indispensable.
There's no better gift for aging parents, period, end of discussion. Think about it: An endless slideshow of beloved memories, with new photos arriving as if by magic from friends and family. Aura Carver, on sale at an all-time-low price, is the best digital photo frame to give as a gift, because you can not only pre-load it with images but also preconfigure it for the the recipient's Wi-Fi network. That means they can just plug it in, and it should be good to go. New photos can be sent via app or email, and Aura provides unlimited storage with no monthly fees.
The Echo Show 10 offers all the aforementioned Alexa benefits, plus a 10-inch screen atop a rotating (!) base that's also a powerful speaker. That means during video calls with friends and family, the screen can pivot as you move around so you stay "on camera." The Show 10 is also a digital photo frame, YouTube viewer, information hub, security camera and mini-TV, able to stream from Amazon, Netflix and lots of other services. Be sure to wait for a sale, though, like the one that's happening right now.
Does Mom or Dad have a hard time hearing the TV? That could be because the built-in speakers are terrible. Zvox's soundbar not only improves overall sound quality, but it also employs special technology to boost hard-to-hear dialogue. And it works! I especially like the remote, with its large, clearly labeled buttons. This model is designed for smaller rooms and TVs; check out the Zvox AV355 if you want something larger.
Three reasons to buy Mom or Dad an Apple Watch: 1. Irregular-heartbeat detection. 2. Fall detection. 3. Emergency SOS (with a cellular plan). Heard enough? Of course the Apple Watch offers lots of other benefits as well, including notifications (no more missed text messages), reminders (time to take meds!), even real-time navigation to help anyone who might get a little lost while out for a walk. There's a learning curve, as the watch interface isn't super-intuitive, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges.
Aging makes household chores a little tougher as well — especially vacuuming. Roborock's Q7 Max+ to the rescue; it's not only a high-suction vac, one that'll empty its own dustbin when it's done, but also a mop for kitchen floors. An app controls nearly everything, including when and where the robot should go, though you can also set it up to respond to Alexa, Siri or Google voice commands. This particular model is expensive, but right now it's significantly discounted. You can also find more basic sweepers for as low as $200, in case your gift budget doesn't extend quite this far.