What NOT to give an older person

I’ve made my share of gift gaffes in my time, but Caroline’s gift to her elderly father – a copy of Betty Friedan’s The Fountain of Age (a study of aging and how people face aging) – is quite breathtaking.

In fairness to Caroline, she was just trying to give her much-loved dad a thoughtful gift and, as he was entering his seventies, the aging process was a very real part of his life.  Perhaps a topic he might want to read about and explore, she thought.

Whereas many people would see a gift like that as a big banner with the words “YOU’RE GONNA DIE!” emblazoned on it.  Not too many people are queuing up for those sorts of gifts. 

Caroline’s dad wasn’t offended, exactly…but neither was he thrilled with the gift.  I think he’d’ve preferred a bottle of aftershave, any day.  Or a good bottle of wine.  Or a book that wasn’t about his own mortality.

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