Dads and Grads Gift Guide – Part V – For the Super Senior Dad

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Our challenge in coming up with gifts for the Super Senior Dads was trying to decide who they are.  Are they the folks out there playing golf several days a week?  Or are they the folks who may be spending their days largely homebound?  We’ve tried to come up with gifts that would be fitting for a whole range of Super Seniors aware that it’s as much an issue of aptitude and attitude as it is a matter of age.

Nucleus Anywhere Intercom – Back in the days of analog communications, if you were in one room and wanted to talk to someone in another room in the house, you could use an intercom.  They were clunky but they worked.  Now comes the Nucleus Anywhere Intercom which can connect two rooms – even if they are in different homes thousands of miles apart.  In terms of your own house, this may be a little redundant.  But if Dad is living somewhere else it can come in handy.  It combines many of the functions of a Skype call, a tablet, and a two-way security camera.  You can check in on Dad with the touch of a button and he can do the same with you.  It’s got big buttons and easy instructions.  You’ll need at least a pair to get started.  It comes equipped with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Price is $300 for the pair.

All-In-One Printer – Canon’s Pixma G4200 – This is a great low-cost all-in-one printer that uses 4 containers of liquid ink (a large black, smaller magenta, cyan and yellow) to give the user almost two full years of ink supply.  This printer is very easy to set-up and use.  Its graphics are average but text and photos are better than the usual inkjet printer.   While it connects to a computer via USB or to a network via Wi-Fi this printer is also AirPrint compatible which would allow Dad to print directly from an iOS or Android device.  The liquid containers might be a little tough to squeeze for someone who has weak or arthritic hands but the ink lasts so long this shouldn’t be a problem.  Absent a USB/SD card input, this printer is a little slow but the price per page for printing more than makes up for this.  Price is $400 .

Picture on Corning Gorilla Glass – Masterpix – Is there a moment in time that you or someone else has captured that’s really important to your Dad?  The folks who invented Gorilla Glass, the thin, durable glass now on most smartphones, are now creating photos on that same glass that are almost impervious and are downright beautiful.  Photos are printed using UV-cured inks for vibrant, long-lasting color.  We tried it out and it genuinely creates a unique keepsake.  Prices begin at $30 for a 6″X 6″ collage and range up to $145 for a stunning 16″ X 24″ print.  You pick a photo, decide the size and finish, transmit it to Masterpix, and they send back something Dad will always treasure.

Pedego Adult Electric Trike – Does Dad still enjoy being mobile, even if he no longer regularly drives a car?  This might be an ideal solution.  It’s an easy to ride, upright electric trike.  It’s got a comfortable seat with support for his back, and there’s plenty of room to carry groceries or other items in the back.  It will be easy for him to use to get around the neighborhood and be able to see his friends.  It has adjustable handlebars, front and rear lights, and a display that he can use to charge his smartphone.  Yes, this is the most expensive item on our list at $2995, but depending on Dad’s situation this might be the best gift he could get (short of a visit from the grandkids).

Classic Bedside Radio – Tivoli Model One Digital – This is a digital redesign of Tivoli’s classic tabletop radio, ideal for lazy Sunday mornings listening to jazz or a great classical performance. Its melodious character is also a welcome balm compared to the harsh sound of many of today’s wireless speakers. It not only tunes in FM stations, but also can play streaming services, like Spotify, or act as a wireless Bluetooth speaker. It can also accommodate a wired input and be used in conjunction with other Tivoli speakers as part of a multi-room setup.   In an attempt to retain as much of the traditional knobs-and-dials design as possible, the Tivoli Model One Digital uses a small silver knob on the front that acts as a volume control and, by pushing it in, as an input switch for toggling between the FM radio, streaming services (via Wi-Fi), or a Bluetooth connected player.  It has a large silver ring next to the smaller volume knob, replacing the traditional tuning dial; in the center of the bezel, he’ll find an LCD screen. The display provides subtle information (the time, track, station and song titles, for example) without glowing conspicuously like a smartphone. While it’s easy to use, you might want to help Dad with the initial setup. 

Sennheiser Television Listening System – Flex 5000 – For many seniors watching television, or more specifically listening to television, can be a real challenge.  Often the dialog sounds muffled.  Often they have to turn up the volume to the point where it may be annoying to others in the room or nearby rooms.  The Sennheiser Flex 5000 system solves both those problems.  It is a listening system which will let Dad use his favorite headphones, though it has in-ear phones included.  This sleek and elegant transmitter/receiver set uses Sennheiser audio expertise and leading edge digital wireless technology to create a personalized listening experience. With three different hearing profiles to enhance TV, movies or music, to choose from. Plus a unique Speech Intelligibility feature that reduces TV background noise for added clarity. Price is $199.95.

Golf Watch – Garmin Approach 20 – If your senior Dad is spending a lot of his retirement on the golf course, he’ll appreciate a golf watch that multitasks as a stylish watch and an activity tracker.  It comes pre-loaded with 40,000 golf courses.  It will give him his distance from the pin, and the layout of the green he’s shooting for.  It has a big, easy-to-read display.  It will notify him of incoming phone calls.  It creates a digital scorecard and will analyze his shots. It will automatically update his frequently played courses with pin placement.  It comes in a choice of four colors. Price is $200.

Solar Powered Watch – Armitron Adventure Solar – The best thing about this watch is that your senior Dad doesn’t have to worry about charging it or changing batteries. It charges from any light source. With just one full charge, his watch will continue to work for up to 4 months. It’s stylish with a steel case, leather or nylon strap and outdoor design.  Among its features: Mineral crystal lens; matte black easy read dial with white markers and printed outer minute track; date calendar window at three o’clock; silver-tone luminous hands; red sweep second hand.  Water resistant to 50m (165ft: in general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling).  Price is $95. 

Philips Wake-up Light – Help Dad wake up naturally with a simulated sunrise, taking 30 minutes to go from a soft orange glow to bright, room-filling daylight. He can include a choice of 7 different natural sounds such as birds or piano to add to the gentle wake-up experience, instead of being jolted out of sleep by a buzzing or beeping alarm clock. Your older Dad likely has to get up in the middle of the night to use the, eh, facilities, and this Philips orb will glow a gentle orange to help light the way. The light can also brighten up a dark room for reading, or slowly dim while Dad goes to sleep. There’s also a built-in FM radio if Dad prefers waking up to that, and of course a snooze button. Price is $200.

Fitness Tracker – Fitbit Flex 2  No matter his age, it’s important that your Super Senior Dad stays as fit as he can.  Fitbit’s Flex 2 is compact, lightweight, with a lot of functionality for an entry-level price.  It fits in Fitbit’s thinnest wristband, but Dad can also use it with a pendant. It will track his steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, hourly activity and stationary time. It automatically tracks activities like running, sports and aerobic workouts.  All the results can be viewed on the Fitbit app. It will automatically track how long and how well sleeps.  It will vibrate to let him know he’s been sitting still too long. And if he gets a text or a call on his smartphone it will gently vibrate.  It comes in four colors and prices start at $59.95.

Portable Long Range Multi-Band Radio CCrane CCRadio2E – For the senior Dad who really wants to know what’s going on, the purpose of the CCRadio-2E is to make weak signals strong and also to produce crisp, accurate audio for the spoken word. AM performance comes from a patented Twin-Coil Ferrite® AM Antenna and traditional FM reception is exceptional in its ability to bring in a weak station clearly. Audio can be adjusted for accurate and warm voice rendition and good musical performance. This radio also has the weather band and alert along with the 2-meter Ham band. Price is $170.

Muse Personal Meditation Assistant  – Muse Meditation Headband – People of all ages are getting into meditation, as a way to relax, reduce stress & anxiety, and cope with all the trials of daily living. This “brain-sensing” headband may make it easier for Dad to meditate, as a smartphone app sends sounds of a beach or rainforest to his ears. The headband is said to be able to tell whether the wearer’s mind is calm or active and guide it with natural sounds. When the session is finished, the app helps Dad review how he did with graphs that measure progress. $249 in black or white.

Senior Tablet Computer – grandPad – This is a big button tablet for seniors who are not that tech savvy but would like to be able to communicate with family and friends, and share photos.  You don’t buy the tablet, you buy the subscription service and the tablet comes with it.  It includes simple video chatting, as well as games, and curated music.  Using the app you can build a private network just so family members can stay connected to your Super Senior Dad.  We’re told that generally, it’s the kids who are buying these.  Not surprising given the price.  There are several different plans.  The month to month plan starts at $75 with all the hardware, software, white glove support, internet connectivity with 4G LTE, insurance, unlimited phone and video calls. The grandPad also includes the ability to add favorite music and 20+ personalized content feeds.  With a yearly plan, you can save $114 and the setup fee.  Right now there’s also a Father’s Day Discount, that will save another $87 off the annual fee.

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Gary is an award-winning journalist who has been covering technology since IBM introduced its first personal computer in 1981. Beginning at NBC News, then at ABC News, Ziff Davis, CNN, and Fox Business Network. Kaye has a history of “firsts”. He was the first to bring a network television crew to the Comdex Computer Show, the first technology producer on ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, the first to produce live coverage of the Solar Power International Conference, and the creator of the Fox Business Network signature series, “Three Days In The Valley”. Along the way he created the History Channel Multimedia Classroom. He has been a contributor to both AARP’s website and to AARP radio, as well as to a handful of other print and web-based publications where he specializes in issues involving boomers/seniors and technology. He has been a featured speaker and moderator at industry events such as the Silvers Summit and Lifelong Tech Conferences at CES, the M-Enabling Health Summit, and the What’s Next Baby Boomer Business Summit. His column, “Technology Through Our Eyes” appears in half a dozen newspapers and websites across the country.

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