A Place for Mom

Marvelous Gift Ideas for Seniors in Assisted Living

Merritt Whitley
By Merritt WhitleyJune 12, 2020

You realize it’s not a good idea to give your senior loved one a tie or a glitzy pair of high heels, but what would they use and enjoy? Older adults in assisted living may have physical health issues or memory loss that make some gifts useless and others lifesavers. Sometimes the most appreciated senior gift ideas don’t immediately come to mind.

If you’re looking for the best holiday, birthday, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, or just-because gift ideas for elderly loved ones in assisted living, try these ideas from people with experience: our blog readers and pros at senior living communities.

Reader-suggested gift ideas for senior citizens

Make new memories! A Place for Mom readers agree that sharing time together is one of the most rewarding and inexpensive gifts to give your senior loved ones.

Even when visiting isn’t possible, there’s still plenty you can do. Check out more of our readers’ suggestions.

Personal senior gift ideas

Give a meaningful gift with these personal yet simple ways to show your love and appreciation to seniors in assisted living communities:

  • Send a bouquet of their favorite flowers with a thoughtful message
  • Call and talk about memories or their favorite topics
  • Put balloons and a card outside their door
  • Write a personal letter or paint a picture
  • Video chat and include friends, pets, or family
  • Order and send a personalized GrandBox

Activity books or games

Finding an enjoyable family activity for older adults and children is a great way to bond and celebrate together. It can also be an interactive and creative gift idea. Check out some of the best board games for seniors, and consider some of these additional gift ideas for senior citizens:

  • Crossword or sudoku puzzles
  • Deck of playing cards
  • Adult coloring books
  • Video games

Music gifts for seniors

Does your loved one have a favorite artist? Purchase the musician’s music or merchandise for them to enjoy. Record players can also be a fun way to listen to music and can be quite decorative as well. Check out this stylish suitcase record player as a fun gift option for music lovers, or consider a small traditional music box.  

Recreate a special memory

Do you know your loved one’s favorite memory, vacation spot, or time period? Recapture and relive a special moment together by recreating it.

  • Does your dad love baseball? Watch an old World Series game together and bring hot dogs, peanuts, or his favorite ball park food
  • If your mom’s favorite vacation memory or city is Paris, order her some French cuisine and decorate her place with small trinkets or photos that help her remember the City of Lights

Spend the day at the salon or spa

Treat them to a personalized day of relaxation and pampering. Some assisted living facilities have hair salons and other self-care options as amenities. Otherwise, find a local spa or salon in your community, and spend the day with them enjoying a warm sauna or other services like:

  • Manicure or pedicure
  • Hair cut or hair coloring
  • Massage
  • Facial
  • Eye brow wax or threading

Digital photo frames

Put your family’s favorite photographs in a digital frame and set it up for them. It’s an easy way to display photos for an older person with dementia. Add or change the images as major events occur throughout the year, or purchase multiple frames to showcase specific memories. Here are some digital picture frame options for seniors.

A photo album or scrapbook

Order a custom photo book from a photo website or have prints made of family and friends and craft your own scrapbook. You could highlight a memorable family gathering, vacation, or birthday, adding in any of their other favorite photos over the years.

Help pay for bills or fun activities

Consider covering the cost of their cable or phone bill for a month or two. You could also give them a gift card to pay for fun extracurricular activities such as shopping or a night out with friends.

A meaningful way to give a gift card is to pair it with a handwritten card. Write a personal message letting them know how much you care about them — and how you’d like to spoil them.

Senior gift ideas from senior living communities

Senior living communities know seniors well. They interact and assist them every day. From comfort items to technology, here are some of their top gift ideas for seniors.

Calendars for seniors

Desk and wall calendars come in a wide variety of designs, prices, and sizes. You can purchase a themed calendar based on their interests — or better yet, create a customized calendar on a photo website. This allows you to add pictures of children, grandchildren, friends, or past vacations for every month throughout the year.

Cozy bathrobes and slippers

A robe and slippers are usually well-received, and are relatively low-budget items. Keep the resident’s safety in mind by finding slippers with non-skid soles.

Depending on where you shop, a plush robe can cost between $25 and $60. Sites like Amazon.com offer a variety of prices and comfortable styles.


Whether they enjoy reading, listening to music, or watching movies, there are devices that make these everyday activities even simpler:

Fitness items

Many at-home workout items help seniors care for their overall well-being while having fun. Low-impact exercises for seniors can include the following equipment, which also make great gifts:

  • Light weights
  • Yoga mats
  • Dumbbells
  • Stretch bands
  • Water bottles

Senior gift baskets or meals

A home-cooked meal is always a thoughtful and delicious gift. You can also prepare a larger gift basket or home-cooked dish for your loved one to share with their friends in the community.

Homemade senior gift basket ideas include:

  • Cookies, chocolates, or candies
  • Coffee or tea
  • Spices, hot sauces, and salsas
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Meats and jams

If cooking isn’t your forte, you can always surprise them with a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Using your smartphone, you can easily order meals and have them delivered to their community using apps like DoorDash, Postmates, or GrubHub.

Miscellaneous gift ideas for seniors in assisted living

If you’re looking for a last-minute gift, or you’re still unsure of what to get someone who’s living in assisted living, some of these senior gift options can work well for any occasion:

  • A fashionable yet protective phone case for their cell phone
  • Bath and body items such as lip balm, body spray, or lotion
  • A reading lamp or book light for reading
  • A creative journal for writing or drawing
  • Netflix or Hulu subscription to watch unlimited movies and TV shows
  • Craft items such as yarn or patterns used to crochet or knit
  • Office supplies including pens, tape, and writing tablets
  • Personalized coffee mugs, tote bags, T-shirts, or paperweights
Merritt Whitley
Merritt Whitley

Merritt Whitely is an editor at A Place for Mom. She developed health content for seniors at Hearing Charities of America and the National Hearing Aid Project. She’s also managed multiple print publications, blogs, and social media channels for seniors as the marketing manager at Sertoma, Inc.

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