45 Best Holidays Gift Ideas for Seniors
Shopping for gifts for a loved one can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be! Whether you’re looking for an elaborate gift or a great last-minute gift, we’ve got something that’s right for you and your elderly loved one.
6 Gifts for Seniors Who Have Everything
You delicately ask the senior in your life about things that they would like and quickly you get the response “Nothing, darling, I don’t need anything.” Yet you know that you will be getting them something. For the senior who has everything, here are a few suggestions that might just surprise them with the perfect gift:
- Digitize home movies and photos. Feeling nostalgic? Scoop up those old home movies or old photo albums and have them digitized. This helps not only create an archive of the family, but it may also help rekindle some wonderful memories.
- Ancestry tests. Want to discover your family tree? To go a little deeper into family history, you may want to gift a DNA ancestry test. Using a service such as 23 and Me, you can provide a kit and possibly discover more about the family. These are gifts that will endure and also inform future generations.
- Wildlife and environmental organizations. Does your family member have a love of all things wild? Support wildlife organizations like the World Wildlife Fund. It has a program where you can virtually adopt a wild friend like an elephant, tiger, gorilla, or for whatever endangered animal your senior has a soft spot. You can also make a donation to Heifer International. Your donation on your loved one’s behalf gives people in various communities around the world, chickens, goats, and bees that empower families and communities.
- Star registry. Stargazers in your life? For the astronomers or romantics, you can have a star named for them. There is an official star name registry that will log a specific star and give it the name of your choosing. Please note that this purely a gesture and your gift does not grant ownership to a corner of the cosmos.
- Flowers subscriptions. Who doesn’t like to get flowers? For many, a fresh bouquet every month might be just the ticket. Subscribing to a service that delivers something fresh and a little different each month is one way to delight your loved one and put a smile on their face. If flowers aren’t the right choice, there are many options including foods, wines, beers, or a pampering service of some sort like a monthly spa facial.
- Grocery delivery services. Who doesn’t need groceries? Offer to gift grocery delivery. Let your loved one skip having to go to the grocery store and sign them up with their local market for weekly or biweekly delivery of the essentials. There are several different services, ranging from organic to budget to large corporate services.
7 Inexpensive Gifts for Seniors
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give a useful gift that will be appreciated. Here are some great gift ideas on a budget:
- Gift cards. This is one of the easiest ways to give somebody a gift that they will use. Chances are that there is a gift card for a store, restaurant, or movie theatre chain that your loved one really enjoys.
- Personal products. Give a special natural lotion, lip balm, or beauty product that your loved one uses or would really like to try.
- Gifts for the home. How about novelty items that make them laugh? Magnets, coffee mugs, picture frames (with a picture of a loved one in it) can be useful and a daily reminder of you. There are also gifts like memory foam or gel seat cushions that make life a little more comfortable. You could try LED lights that are motion activated and can be stuck anywhere. These work well in closets and can help reduce the risk of falling by brightening places where a lamp doesn’t work.
- Technology gifts. These can be pricey but you can find helpful items and accessories that are budget-friendly. Everyone can use an extra pair of headphones for their phones. Do they need a phone or tablet case? There are pill organizers that will let you know when it is time for their medication. What about a little gadget that helps you find the keys or phone?
- Crafty gifts. On the creative side, there are many ideas for seniors. Consider art supplies or coloring books. As they get older, many people have rediscovered the relaxation of a box of colored pencils and a coloring book. Which also brings to mind the fun of doing puzzles of all sorts jigsaw puzzles, word searches, or brain teasers.
- Give time and help out. Gift yourself! If there is something that you know your loved one needs done or would really enjoy, do it yourself. If a special occasion is around the corner, plan on cooking or baking them something special. Offer to come by and do a household project that they have not gotten around to doing.
- Mastermind an adventure. Share time and experience. Get tickets for a special show at the museum that you know they like. Plan a picnic or a visit to your local observatory when meteor showers are expected. What is your loved one interested in? Take a hint from that and use your imagination to create a wonderful memory.
10 Best Gift Ideas for Seniors with Dementia or Alzheimer’s
We spoke with our Cognitive Interventionist, Michelle Wile, to bring you the best gifts for seniors with memory impairment. Here are her top two aspects to consider when giving a gift to a senior with dementia:
- Overstimulation. If you are giving gifts in a large family setting, it may be overstimulating to actually try the gift in that moment. As hard as it may be, try to be prepared for an underwhelmed reaction. Remember that there are lots of factors affecting how your loved one responds in that moment.
- Safety. Make sure new items aren’t tripping hazards or choking hazards if small pieces end up on the floor or are mistaken for a food item.
“Don’t stress too much about how to explain or introduce the items to your loved ones. If you are enthusiastic and begin engaging with the materials, chances are your loved one will follow your lead,” says Wile.
Try one of these great gift ideas for your loved one with dementia:
- Joy for all companion pet. These are life-like pets that move and make sounds like a real cat or dog. They are great for individuals with more advanced dementia who are no longer able to have a pet but enjoy the company of an animal pal.
- Reminiscing books. Try 1950’s Fashion or The Splendor of Babies or another topic of interest. These are books with large, engaging pictures and limited to no text.
- Reminisce Magazine by Reader’s Digest. This is a magazine written for and by seniors. It includes stories about events, cars, fashion, pop culture and more from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.
- Washable paintbrush pens. These pens are low-mess and easy to manipulate. The paint is contained in the pen and they have a large grip base. A perfect gift for creative individuals.
- Games for the whole family. Give Connect 4, UNO, Scrabble or Pop-Up board games a try.
- Indoor sporting activities. Indoor bean bag toss, horseshoes or golf are fun for seniors to do with grandkids.
- Personalized puzzle. Upload a family photo to Active-minds and they will create a puzzle with 13, 24 or 35 pieces. The larger pieces are more manageable for individuals with cognitive decline.
- Lacing cards. These are a great activity for those with advanced dementia who enjoy keeping their hands busy.
- Music. Try a compilation CD from the decade when they were in their late teens through early 20’s. A smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home can be linked to a playlist of favorites, but consider what will be most easily accessible for your loved one or their daily care partners. Sometimes a very basic CD player actually gets the most use.
- Table Topics. These are fun conversation starter cards that can help you have more quality time with your loved one.
5 Gifts for Seniors with Mobility Issues
For some, mobility issues become a limiting factor as we age. There are new products on the market all the time to meet the needs of those with mobility issues. Here are some great gifts that make life easier:
- Speech recognition software. For those who can’t type due to inflammation or arthritis in the hands, speech recognition software can allow your loved one to use their computer to the fullest.
- Heated mattress pads. These add comfort and warmth to help reduce stiffness and pain in joints and muscles. A great gift that your loved one may not go out and get for themselves.
- Slippers. Everyone should have non-slip slippers but those with mobility issues really need them.
- Offset cane. They can stand on their own and provide a more secure footprint. If your loved one needs to use a cane, this can provide increased stability and reduce the risk of falls.
- A car service gift card. Teach your loved one how to use a ride-share company such as Lyft or Uber. If your person doesn’t use a smartphone, give them a taxi card.
17 Gifts Ideas for Seniors from the Home Care Assistance Team
“I love to give gifts that keep on giving. Personalized DVD’s of family videos or slideshows with pictures of loved ones are always fantastic. An iPod loaded with your loved one’s favorite tunes is another great idea and brings with it the healing power of music, as shown in the documentary an aging ‘Alive Inside’. Taking your senior loved one on a special outing is also a great way to show how much you care. Attend a local concert, organize a picnic in the park; I promise it will be a lot of fun and you can take plenty of pictures for next year’s customized DVD!”
“Tickets to an event that you can attend together and perhaps a restaurant gift card are always a great idea. Both can be done online and spending time together is usually what family members value most!”
“Gifts can be simple and meaningful at the same time. A framed photo of a loved one in his or her heyday or a framed version of his or her family tree are great ways to reminisce. If you want to take your loved one out, I would recommend going to a theater for a play or musical performance.”
“Photo blankets of family or pets are great or tickets for a play, concert, or museum that they really like. Go on a lunch date to their favorite restaurant or try somewhere new together. Spa baskets with lavender massage lotion or oils with a cold/warm compress are soothing gifts. Personalized wind chimes can be a great way to remember the loss of a loved one.”
“A clock with a large display screen that shows the date, time, weather etc is a useful gift for seniors. Good slippers that have non-slip soles keep seniors comfortable and less likely to fall.”
“Framed photographs are a great idea; I love to take it up a notch by ordering the big canvas prints from Costco. They look beautiful and are easier for those who are visually impaired to see. A more costly item, but worth every penny, is an iPad for FaceTiming with family members who don’t live nearby. Audiobooks are also fantastic for stimulating the mind without having to read fine print.”
We hope that the advice we’ve shared helps you find the perfect gift for your loved one this holiday season.