Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fiona Lowe: What do you buy your Mom when she turns 80?

My Mom is turning 80. Wow!! I won't even mention what that means in terms of my birthday this year, except she was very old when she had me ;-) All her life, my mother has never wanted the spotlight turned on her so although she had a 21st under sufferance, and then she had a large wedding, from that date onwards, she's never wanted a party for herself.

Imagine my surprise when she announced she wanted a party. It's still a couple of of months away but I've been helping her choose paper and fonts and I'm printing invitations because, at almost 80 she's pretty busy. She leaves soon for you do when you're almost 80. Dad, who is a spritely just-turned 79 is accompanying her on the six week trip.

They travel a lot and usually I write to them and fax the letter to their hotel. This year however, my mother's younger sister (aged 67) went on a trip and emailed Mom often. I think a bit of sibling rivalry sprung up and my mother thought, 'Well if she can do it, so can I.' Suddenly there were rumblings about, 'buying a laptop.' We came up with a better iPad 2.

How did we sell this to them? We said, you can email us but you can also watch movies, Dad can load up the holiday snaps and actually SHOW them to us on the iPad...we're two trips behind 'cos they are on his computer 90 miles away and you can Skype us.' Also, the Queen just bought one!

But most importantly, I pointed out she can read my books...I mean, that's important, right, especially as my first single title, Boomerang Bride (Out on August 8th) is a Carina Press book so only available electronically. For now though, I've set her up with, Single Dad's Triple Trouble to take to Europe.

According to sales figures, the older generations are taking up the iPad in droves and I am hoping that Mom and Dad find this new technology a LOT easier than the fight they've been having with Vista for the last few years!

What technology have your parents taken on that you least expected them to?

As well as organizing 80th birthday parties, Fiona Lowe writes medical romances for Harlequin and fun single-title romances for Carina Press. For more information about her books go to


Grandma's scrapbook said...

Interesting post! Thanks.

Melanie Milburne said...

Hi Fiona,
I have elderly friends who still love young gifts. I give vouchers for massage or facials, the little luxuries that they can't always afford. And of course autographed books, the large print ones go down well!

Fiona Lowe said...

You're welcome, Grandma's Scrapbook:-)

Fiona Lowe said...

Melanie, they are some great ideas for gifts. My mom has a massage every few weeks to keep the aches and pains at bay!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Fiona,

Lovely, lovely post! I lost both my parents and I don't have any elder people I know of living close by.

I love the gift you bought for your parents, so thoughtful. Rather than packing up a bag with books they'll have it so much easier now carrying the books on the Ipad!

Pat Cochran said...

Since I am a lady in the same ballpark
(almost 75) you would think I had lots
of suggestions! I don't. Honey gave me
a laptop in January, so there's not a
whole lot to list. On my list of pos- sibilities for me: an e-reader, a
running board/step for our SUV, (I'm a height-challenged person!)and of course, if we win the lottery - a driving tour of the U.S., with a driver, broken down into six segments. (We are old folks who MIGHT tire some-
what easily!) That's a dream of mine
that hasn't come to fruition!

Laney4 said...

My mom died in 1995 at 75 years of age. My mother-in-law, though, turned 80 a few years ago. We had a surprise party for her at her seniors' apartment building. I spent ages going through our old photo albums and made copies of "special" events with Mom. I asked her other 5 children to contribute photos as well. Then I put the copies all in chronological order and used a label maker to date/record the event (no other details), like Oct/89 - Christmas at Tony's. We presented her with her scrapbook, complete with empty pages at the back so I could add more as the years go by. I thought of it because Mom's memory was going (and she has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer's) and she only had 16 of her own pictures. Now she has hundreds and something to drag out to share with company.
Happy birthday to your mom!
BTW, no parents took on any aspect of technology. Mom has a hard time remembering that the CD remote does not turn off the TV....

blackroze37 AT said...

my mom is my friend on facebook, she was actually BEFORE i was on facebook. but she doesnt do twitter, so taht the only thing im ahead of her on,lol she knows the numbers/letters things to make faces, that i do not know,

Jo's Daughter said...

Have you suggested to your mom that she might keep an interesting blog about her life... I bet loads of people would read it.

Serena said...

Loved reading this, Fiona! What a great gift for your mum :) You know if my Mamma were still alive she'd be trying to sell me on getting an iPad :) She was very techno-minded and the only person of her age (s he passed away when she was 72) who knew how to programme her own VCR :)

It's very difficult to buy women of that age something unique - I think you've cracked it.

Annie West said...

Fiona, I hope your mum enjoys her day. We tend to get older relatives quite small gifts but add in an IOU for an outing somewhere they enjoy. I think we'll be heading off for a day soon to the Hunter Valley Gardens or a wonderful art gallery, garden and restaurant we know.

Fiona Lowe said...

Thanks, Nas. I think once Mum starts she'll enjoy being able to read with larger fonts.

Fiona Lowe said...

Pat, that is a fab list! I have a section on my website about ereaders if you want some more information. I helped Nas with her choice!

Fiona Lowe said...

Laney, that is a fabulous gift. Boy Wonder, my 12 year old has been scanning photos furiously for the party. We plan to have a continuous slide show running in the function room with pictures across the years.

Fiona Lowe said...

BlackRoze that is pretty awesome of your mom!

Fiona Lowe said...

Jo, that is a great idea but I think she would probably tell me she was far too busy!

Fiona Lowe said...

Serena, that is so great to hear that your mum was a trendsetter!

Fiona Lowe said...

Annie, we usually stick to $30 gifts but this is a big leap but it's a pretty special birthday. Your outings sound lovely.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Fiona, Hello Pat,

Pat, I took Fiona's advice and bought my Kindle. I even took her choice of the color of my Kindle cover and I love it!

It has a light I can use at night and I can change the font to large. ANd change the reading area to landscape.

And the most important thing Fiona told me about was a software, which helps load all my PDF's and ePub's onto the Kindle!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Happy birthday to your mum and dad, Fiona! It sounds like Mum's 80th birthday party is going to be some celebration! Have fun with the preparations.

My dad, 77 this year, has always been an early adopter of shiny techie stuff. I think I inherited that from him. Mum is a bit younger than Dad. She doesn't even have a computer. :)

My hubby has an iPad2--it's just brilliant! I love playing guitar and drums on it. Touch screens are so liberating and it makes so much sense. I'm seriously thinking of getting an iPad for myself.

Pat Cochran said...

Thanks for the information, Fiona and
Nas! I'm off to Fiona's website to do
some info reading!

Pat Cochran

Fiona Lowe said...

Vanessa, I am setting up the iPad for mum and enjoying a bit of a play too ;-)

Fiona Lowe said...

Pat, I hope you find it helpful. Jane at Dear Author also has a heap of information.

marybelle said...

At 85 my Mother decided to get a mobile phone, in case of an emergency. She curses it out frequently.