Best Gift Ideas for Seniors
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present and "I love you" sign

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Ancestry tests. Want to discover your family tree? To go a little deeper into family history, you may want to give your loved one 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.
  3. 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 the option to give support to whatever endangered animal your senior has a soft spot for. 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 access to chickens, goats, and bees that empower families and communities.
  4. 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 is purely a gesture and your gift does not grant ownership to a corner of the cosmos.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. Solar charger. Solar chargers are not too expensive but can be just what is needed should there be an emergency. For well under $100 you can give the gift of peace of mind should the power go out. These devices work with iPhone, iPad, Android, and Samsung devices. These high capacity batteries can be charged by sunlight, USB cable from a computer, any indoor bright lamp, or through a wall adapter. Many of these solar battery packs are a little larger than an iPhone, and store enough energy to charge a smartphone or a tablet several times before needing to recharge.
  8. Teas from around the world. A simple and sophisticated gift of a variety of teas from around the world is a thoughtful and lovely way to not only introduce someone to the world of tea but could also be a great way to make an excuse for a tea party with your tea-loving friend. Be sure to bring the scones as well!
  9. Personalized picnic table. A hand-crafted and personalized picnic table for those who love picnics is a great gift option that contains both a bit of flair and comfort. This gift offers a great way to take the gathering with friends outside for some quality time together as well as for some fine snacks.
  10. Fitness mirror. A customizable video/mirror that shows workout instructions from a wide variety of trainers and workout studios. Since exercise for seniors should be prioritized, this gift allows your loved one to focus on maintaining their physical health in a fun way! It allows one to see and learn an exercise program from the comfort of their own home. The benefit is that while watching the workout video, your loved one can see themself doing the workout at the same time. It is a great gift for the exercise maven in your life.

10 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Personal products. Give a special natural lotion, lip balm, or beauty product that your loved one uses or would really like to try.
  3. 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 lighting can help reduce the risk of falling by brightening places where a lamp doesn’t work.
  4. 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 also 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?
  5. 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.
  6. Give time and help out. Give the gift of 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Gift basket. Make your own gift basket or order one to have delivered to your loved one on a specific day. These do not need to be expensive items. For under $50 you can send a delightful surprise anywhere.
  9. Unique neck wrap. It is still possible to send some comfort during a time when hugging is not an option for so many. A neck wrap filled with flax is a great option; it can be heated or cooled, or scented with aromatherapy scents that calm or invigorate. This is a thoughtful gift that will also soothe an achy neck.
  10. A cozy robe or slippers. Given so many are spending most of their time at home a pair of cushy slippers or a snuggly robe might be the perfect gift for your loved one. They range in price but are an affordable and useful gift.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Reminiscing books. Try 1950’s Fashion or The Splendor of Babies as another topic of interest. These are books with large, engaging pictures and limited to no text.
  3. 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.
  1. 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. This is a perfect gift for creative individuals.
  2. Games for the whole family. Give Connect 4, UNO, Scrabble, or Pop-Up board games a try. Brain games for seniors are a great way for your loved one to stay mentally sharp and entertained!
  1. Indoor sporting activities. Indoor bean bag toss, horseshoes, or golf are all fun for seniors to do with grandkids.
  2. 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.
  3. Lacing cards. These are a great activity for those with advanced dementia who enjoy keeping their hands busy.
  4. Music. Try a compilation CD from the decade when they were in their late teens through early 20’s. You may be surprised at the power of music in dementia care. 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.
  5. Table Topics. These table topic cards are fun conversation starters 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Heated mattress pads. These heatable pads add comfort and warmth to your loved one’s mattress to help reduce stiffness and pain in joints and muscles. This is a great gift that your loved one may not go out and get for themselves.
  3. Slippers. Everyone should have non-slip slippers but those with mobility issues really need them.
  4. 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 for seniors.
  5. A car service gift card. Teach your loved one how to use a ride-share company such as Lyft or Uber. If your loved one doesn’t use a smartphone, give them a taxi card.

17 Gifts Ideas for Seniors from the Home Care Assistance Team

"I love you" written in sand

“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.” – Francesca Vogel, Home Care Liaison in Alamo, California

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!” – Carrie Burggraf, Home Care Liaison in Saint Louis, Missouri

“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.” – Bridget Lynch, Director of Client Services

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.” – Jessica Pascasio, Head of Operations in Corona Del Mar, California

“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!” – Francie Bedinger, Client Care Manager in Marin, California

"thank you" and iphones

“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 the fine print.” – Jesse Walters, Director of Operations for Washington and San Francisco Bay Area

10 Gifts for Seniors with Arthritis

  1. Electric jar opener. There are several brands of electric jar openers on the market. This small and powerful battery-operated opener weighs a pound and provides a good grip that makes easy work of what can be a painful task for arthritic hands.
  2. Hard-boiled egg peeler. Peeling a hard-boiled egg is a relatively simple task, but arthritis often means that the perfect five-minute egg has to be passed up. For that egg lover in your life, this is a useful gift.
  3. Table Lamp simple touch. This stylish lamp turns on or off with the touch of a hand to the base. It requires no small switches and it uses a three-way bulb that will lighten any room elegantly.
  4. Socks for the holidays. If your loved one has arthritic feet, a bunch of colorful new socks might be a welcomed gift. Compression socks, thick thermal socks, and even battery-operated socks can keep feet and legs warm when the weather gets just too cold. These holiday socks are waiting to warm toes and provide comfort!
  5. Ergonomic mouse. An ergonomic mouse is a great gift for those with arthritis to help reduce pain. It places their wrist in a vertical hand-shake posture. This is a neutral position that also helps to reduce the amount of gripping the hand and fingers have to do to secure the mouse.
  6. TENS unit. A TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit is a device that transmits small electrical currents to targeted body parts. These currents are used to relieve pain for seniors with arthritis and other conditions. There are units that are on the market to use at home.
  7. Weighted blanket. It turns out that many people are comforted by weighted blankets that weigh anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds and come in a wide variety of styles and sizes. Aside from warmth, it is helpful for those with arthritis. These blankets soothe and promote deeper sleep.
  8. Heated foot massager. For relief from arthritic pain in the feet, a good foot massage can make the day much easier. A great gadget is the heated foot massager that everyone will enjoy but your loved one with arthritis will benefit from the benefits of a good foot massage.
  9. Provide a gift-wrapping service. Offer to either be a gift-wrapping elf for your friend or loved one with arthritis this year, or hire someone to wrap presents. All the tasks involved in using scissors, folding paper, tying ribbons and bows, taping, and decorating can be impossible to do with arthritic hands.
  10. Run an errand. Time and effort are often remembered as a very sweet gift. When the weather gets cold and rainy, or snowy and icy, offering to help your loved one by running an errand is not only kind and generous but will keep your friend or loved one safe from risks of falls or additional pain.

10 Gifts for Visually Impaired Seniors

  1. Get a DOT watch. This is the first braille and tactile Bluetooth smartwatch. The design is fascinating and if your loved one is blind this might be a truly appreciated gift.
  2. E-readers. There are several e-readers on the market for your consideration. The Kindle Fire HD is an affordable tablet that is useful to access all sorts of apps and can be used as an e-reader as well. The functionality of the device allows for font sizes to be increased when reading books.
  3. Audiobook subscription. Audiobooks are a wonderful gift for those who have a bit of trouble reading for themselves. It is an enjoyable way to spend time while traveling or taking a walk. They can improve one’s work, life, and just add some pleasure to their day. With an audiobook subscription, a visually impaired person can read the latest published works with ease.
  4. Ray Vision app for mobile devices. Using cloud and mobile technology, the Ray Vision app makes any mobile device accessible to the visually impaired. With a simple app and the offering of various hardware options, Ray Vision has created an eye-free interface that is simple and quick to learn and easy to use. By using simple gestures, touch, voice recognition, and audio feedback this app replaces traditional, vision-dependent smartphone inputs. This is a great gift subscription for those who have trouble using their mobile devices.
  5. Hire a cleaning service. If your loved one enjoys their independence but is living with macular degeneration, their eyesight may not be what it used to be. They have always kept a clean and organized home, but are unable to do this anymore without some assistance. Hire a cleaning service to come by once a month to do some deep cleaning and help your loved one with the areas that they might not be able to fully see.
  6. Large print playing cards. Playing cards is a wonderful pastime that one does not need to stop doing due to vision impairment. The cards have a very large font-size but with the same style and feel of the playing cards that have been around for years. Games of all kinds are making versions that aid those with impaired vision continue to play.
  7. Low Vision Scrabble Tiles. Another option for the Scrabble lover who is experiencing diminished vision is high contrast Scrabble tiles. These are standard-size Scrabble tiles with a large bold print that can be used you’re your own Scrabble board. A great gift for the playful wordsmith in your life.
  8. LED ultra-bright magnifier. A magnifier with a very bright LED light source that is anti-glare, dimmable, and rechargeable will help your loved one read the fine print of a newspaper or a great crime novel. This is a very useful device to have on hand.
  9. Bright portable table lamp. Sometimes just a little more light on the subject is the most thoughtful gift. In this case, literally. A lamp that can be easily moved around the house and used for close up tasks such as sewing, doing crafts, or reading might give your loved one a bit more flexibility with doing tasks that are becoming more difficult with vision impairment.
  10. Talking microwave oven. This gift is fully accessible to your blind or visually impaired loved one. They conveniently announce everything, from “running cook time” to “current power level” to “attend to food”. With a talking microwave, it will be much easier for your senior loved one to heat up his/her favorite meal or snack. You can adjust the speech volume, which confirms your selections of different commands, as you make them.

We hope that the advice we’ve shared helps you find the perfect gift for your loved one this holiday season. Happy Holidays from all of us at Home Care Assistance!

Learn about our senior care services here: https://homecareassistance.com/senior-elderly-care

Resources

Aromatherapy for arthritis

Weighted blankets

New Products: Cool New items

About the Author(s)

As a Volunteer Caregiver to the Zen Hospice Project and a Course Manager at the CareGivers Project, Audrey Meinertzhagen is passionate about improving the standards of care for older adults and educating caregivers on the principles of mindfulness and self-care.

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