Whether it’s for a holiday, a birthday, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, or just because, shopping to find the perfect present for your older parents or grandparents can be tricky. Sometimes, walking store aisles or browsing the internet isn’t enough.
Gift giving is challenging because older adults have diverse and evolving needs. Some seniors don’t want a lot of “stuff” just sitting around or taking up space. For loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living, physical health issues, memory loss, and lack of space may make some gifts impossible to use. But other gifts that bring joy or address day-to-day needs could be lifesavers.
Consider these gift ideas from people who know best: our readers and staff in senior living.
Give a meaningful gift with these simple yet personal ways to show your love and appreciation:
Listening to music is a relaxing way for seniors to pass the time and recall favorite memories. Plus, music therapy for seniors with dementia has proven positive effects. Ask yourself these questions when shopping for music-related gifts: Does your loved one have a favorite musical artist? Will they be entertaining others? What types of technology are easiest for them?
Here are a few ideas:
Reducing monthly bills, even by a small amount, can help relieve stress for your aging loved one. Consider covering the cost of their cable or phone bill for a month, or going in with extended family to pay for a longer period of time. If they have a car, prepaid gas cards could be a useful gift.
Are there community activities they used to enjoy but haven’t attended lately? Purchase a gift card or tickets for them to attend in the future. It’s exciting to have something to look forward to, whether it’s a museum, the zoo, the ballet, or a favorite sporting event. If they prefer stimulating activities at home, consider a gift certificate for an online art, language, or computer class.
Pairing money or a gift card with a handwritten note adds meaning to something that may otherwise feel impersonal. Write a message letting them know how much you care, what your favorite qualities about them are, and how you look forward to spoiling them.
Pairing money or a gift card with a handwritten note adds meaning to something that may otherwise feel impersonal. Write a message letting them know how much you care, your favorite qualities about them, and how you look forward to spoiling them.
It never hurts to give a gift that can either simplify daily tasks, provide knowledge, or add enjoyment. Think about their personal likes, hobbies, and consider these options:
Whether your loved one enjoys reading, listening to music and podcasts, watching movies, or playing on the computer, there are many devices and electronics to enable entertainment:
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 makes for great gifts:
For seniors with limited mobility and health challenges, comforting gifts are ideal. So are items that help them recall special memories and feel close to those they love.
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
Affordable and cozy, slippers or socks with non-skid soles are safest for seniors. Robes come in a variety of styles and fabrics, so consider whether your loved one prefers shorter or longer styles, lightweight cotton, or thick terrycloth. Not sure? Brainstorm with their caregiver or choose something in between.
A home-cooked meal is always appreciated. If you live near your elderly family member, prepare their favorite dish and drop it off. If that’s not possible, your loved one’s assisted living community or nursing home may make the meal if you share the recipe.
A basket of goodies makes an impressive, feel-good display. For seniors who like to practice hospitality, snacks that are easy to share make a great gift basket idea.
You might fill a basket with:
Seniors with Alzheimer’s may become agitated or restless as the disease progresses. Often, these behaviors occur in the evening, and this evening onset of agitation or restlessness is known as sundown syndrome. Fidget quilts, also called activity blankets, provide tactile stimulation that can calm agitation. Not only can they be a helpful distraction and calming mechanism, but they’re also vibrant and a great custom gift idea!
If you’re looking for a last-minute gift — or if you’re still unsure what to choose — these senior gift options work well for any occasion.