Home Support: The Perfect Last-minute Holiday Gift for Seniors

If you’ve put off holiday shopping this year until the last minute, you’re not the only one. Between taking care of your job, your kids, and yourself, it’s hard to make time for major purchases. If you’re looking after a senior loved one as well, it can be even more challenging. It’s difficult to know what to get them, and you do want to provide a thoughtful gift that shows you care. But rather than buy something material that may not suit them, consider giving the gift of home support instead.

How home support can help your special senior

Think about it: unlike a gift card (which the house-bound elderly may have difficulty using anyway), home support never expires. It’s not a holiday sweater that may not fit correctly. And you’ve never heard anyone say, “Gee, more help around the house? What on earth am I going to do with that?”
Here are just a few examples of services at home that seniors are sure to appreciate:

Light housekeeping

A wonderful thing to do for your loved one is clean those hard-to-reach places in their home, like crevices in kitchens and bathrooms. And in addition to easy tasks like dusting, you can also perform chores that can be physically demanding for the elderly, such as vacuuming. Outside, you can do general yard clean-up such as mowing, mulching, raking, shoveling, and salting steps and walks.

Meal preparation

Making nutritious meals customized to their preference and dietary needs is a heartwarming way to show seniors you care. Of course, it’s always advisable to check with their physician, dietician, nutritionist, or other healthcare professional before deciding what to make. Don’t forget to freeze extra, individual portions for the times when you can’t be there!


One of the biggest issues seniors face today is a lack of adequate transportation. Offering them a ride to the doctor’s, pharmacy, or wherever their errands take them is a huge help and relief for many.

Personal care

Sometimes seniors don’t like to admit it, but they often need assistance with private matters, such as dressing and bathing themselves. If you notice you loved one looking a little unkempt lately, and their doctor has ruled out emotional causes like depression, it may be because they’re physically having trouble with such tasks. A few hours a week to take care of these issues will leave the senior feeling cleaner, fresher, and more dignified.
Of course, not everyone is comfortable performing such intimate tasks on another person, and that’s understandable. It may also be awkward for your senior to have a loved one handle things like giving them a bath. That’s why personal care – as well as many of the jobs mentioned above – can easily be contracted to an outside agency.

Delegating home support

The advantage of delegating home support to an outside agency is that you get professionals with the skills and knowledge to provide excellent care, as well as take the burden off you. This way, you can relax and enjoy time with your senior, instead of spending every moment of your visits on chores.
A qualified agency should have licensed, bonded, and certified aides, nutritionists, case managers, and other capable healthcare workers to fulfill this role. The individuals will be experienced in anticipating, strategizing, and providing for the needs of the homebound elderly. They can customize a plan for your senior to cover all aspects of their daily care, from helping them brush their teeth in the morning to providing supervision overnight.

Home support: the gift that keeps on giving!

So if you’re looking for gift suggestions for an elderly friend, parent, or other relative, you can never go wrong with a little bit of home support. Rather than a trinket or piece of bric-a-brac that may be destined to become another dust-collector, home support is the gift that keeps on giving. Year-round care is a present that invests in your loved one’s health and well-being, and extends their enjoyment of life.
Happy Holidays!
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.

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As we approach the end of #SocialWorkMonth, Institute on Aging would like to take a moment to recognize and celebrate the incredible work being done by all of our Community Living Fund and HomeSafe social workers.

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Sophia became a part of the Community Living Fund team in December 2022, joining at a critical time when additional coverage was required for certain cases. Additionally, CLF was in the process of introducing a new assessment and implementing CalAim services for San Francisco members.

Sophia has been an essential contributor to these ongoing initiatives while effectively managing a caseload of Intensive Case Management (ICM) clients. We were thrilled to receive positive feedback about her support for the TRCS program, which demonstrates her dedication to the agency's mission. CLF is grateful to have a Case Manager like Sophia, who is passionate about serving San Francisco's vulnerable population.

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Three and a half years ago, Maggie Fang started her journey as an Assessment Specialist in the Support at Home Program at IOA. Her excellent people skills enabled her to manage a caseload of older adults and individuals with disabilities, helping them receive homecare to age in place. Maggie was selected to pioneer the Temporary Respite Caregiver Support program, and we are delighted to have such a skilled and dedicated individual leading our newest program at IOA. Thank you, Maggie, for your exceptional work! 

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