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Best Gifts for Assisted Living Residents

Written by Michaela Kitchen
25 minute readLast updated October 5, 2022

Whether it’s for their birthday, a holiday, an anniversary, or just a moment to celebrate, selecting gifts for a loved one in assisted living can be tricky. It’s more than just trying to figure out what they want. You also have to consider facility restrictions and space limitations. With the following list of gift ideas, you’ll find gifts that your loved one will find thoughtful, useful, and comforting.

Key Takeaways

  1. Picking out gifts can be difficult. Picking out a gift for assisted living residents can be even more difficult due to facility restrictions.
  2. Sentimental gifts add emotional and personal touches. Gifts can adorn your loved one's suite in assisted living and remind them you care.
  3. Practical gifts offer convenience and ease. Some gifts can simplify daily tasks and help seniors with their regular activities.
  4. Gifts for hobbies show relatives you’re paying attention. These gifts indicate that you know your loved one well and give them something to add to their personal hobby collection.

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Different gift options for loved ones in assisted living

When considering what gift to get for a loved one living in assisted living, there are a lot of factors to consider. Remembering appliance restrictions, suite- and apartment-size limitations, and rules for décor and other facility policies is important while shopping. You’ll want to pick out something that’s valuable or adds convenience to daily life. It helps to think about what role the gift will serve. With this high-level list, you can begin brainstorming general gift ideas that add meaningful value to seniors’ lives. 

  • Sentimental gifts
  • Practical gifts
  • Hobby gifts
  • Comfort gifts

Sentimental gifts

A great way to add a personal touch to assisted living is with sentimental gifts. These are gifts that remind your loved one of special memories, and they regularly remind the senior that you love and cherish them.

  • Scrapbooks

Memory lives forever and becomes easily accessible in scrapbooks, making them great gifts for assisted living residents. Scrapbooks are easy to store, and they don’t need electricity or outlets like digital picture frames do. Plus, putting them together yourself adds an extra touch of care.

  • Framed pictures

Pictures capture special memories in time and allow us to look back fondly on those moments. Remember some assisted living homes don’t allow nails or screws in the walls, so check first before hanging anything. Free-standing picture frames or photo collage towers are great ways to bring special memories back to life in assisted living. You can also consider hooks that adhere with gentile adhesive stickers.

  • Customizable gifts

Whether it’s a blanket with a picture of the family farm printed on it, pillows with a wedding date embroidered on them, a homemade holiday decoration like a wreath of holly from bushes back home, or a coffee mug featuring a favorite religious verse, there are many customizable items to choose from.

  • Cookbook

A cookbook of family-favorite recipes a great reminder of family traditions, memories, and dishes. Be sure to keep the assisted living facility’s cooking amenities in mind when thinking about recipes to include. If your loved one’s suite only has a kitchenette, it may be hard to make more complex meals that need full kitchens. If any of the recipes make your loved one particularly happy, you might ask the facility staff if the community’s kitchen staff can prepare it. 

  • Friendship lamp or bracelet

Friendship lamps and touch bracelets are a unique way to connect from afar. These items come in sets of two, and with just a tap or press, your loved one’s lamp or bracelet illuminates, letting them know you’re thinking of them.

Practical gifts

These gift ideas can make life easier around the home and assisted living facility. These are gifts that cater to daily wants and needs, with convenience being the focus.

  • Keurig/coffee maker

Make coffee time a little more fun with a Keurig or another small single-serve-coffee-pod machine. With these machines, seniors can quickly and easily make themselves a cup of tea or coffee, and there are more flavors available than you can count. These machines don’t take up a lot of space, and they are easy to clean.

  • Smart speaker

Smart speakers allow you to preload apps that your loved one might like. These speakers are easy to use with voice commands. If your loved one is cozy with tech, consider signing them up for a Spotify subscription and making a playlist of their favorite songs. With just a voice command, these speakers can look up facts, tell your loved one the weather, offer medication reminders, play music, and so much more. Additionally, Amazon and other companies are offering more and more speaker products that can integrate with several home systems.

  • Able tray for couch or chair

With an able tray, seniors have extra support when getting up or sitting down. These trays are great for small suites because they can be used with chairs, beds, or couches. Able trays are also multifunctional and can hold a plate, tablet, or book.

  • iPad or tablet

Tablets are great as they have so many uses, are small, now sometimes relatively inexpensive, and just need a charger and Wi-Fi connection. Whether your loved one is a game and puzzle lover, an avid reader, or a movie watcher, tablets have them covered. Tablets are also great as many can support video calling, helping your loved one stay in touch with family and friends.

Hobby gifts

Add to your loved one’s favorite pastimes with gifts that cater to their hobbies. No matter what it is they like to do, hobby accessories are sure to make your family member happy.

  • Sports memorabilia

Just because they’re in assisted living doesn’t mean your loved one’s passions have waned. Gift your loved one a favorite team’s history in book format, a signed ball, or an item featuring a team logo — a poster, pennant, jersey, or sign. Sports memorabilia is a quick and easy way to personalize their suite and remind them of the things they love.

  • Personalized hobby gifts

If your parent enjoys playing cards, consider getting them a deck with a favorite picture on the front. Or, if they love puzzles, have one made with a photo of a favorite event. If they love to write, get them a personalized notebook — one with their name in stylized font across the front, perhaps. This way your loved one can continue doing what they love with items made especially for them.

  • Sewing/knitting kit

Sewing, knitting, and crocheting are all popular hobbies for many in assisted living. Consider a kit that has everything a craft enthusiast might need for their work. Many kits for beginners up to experts now exist. Also, check if the facility your loved one lives in has a craft room. Find out what tools they already have available, and give gifts that complement those.

  • Gardening tools

Does your loved one have a green thumb? Gift them gardening accessories that’ll make their time in the garden even more relaxing and enjoyable. Whether it’s a weeding kneeler, a gardening bag with space for all their tools, outdoor gloves, a foldable chair for comfort, or an outdoor umbrella, there are many gardening accessories to choose from. Does your loved one only have access to a window? Potted plants still need plenty of care. Watering cans, pruners, odor-free fertilizers, and many other tools all make great gifts.

Comfort gifts

Make life as relaxing and homelike as possible with these gifts aimed at optimal comfort. 

  • House slippers

Add comfort to your loved one’s stay in their assisted living home by gifting them a nice pair of house slippers that can be worn in their room or around the property maybe even a pair for both! When picking out a pair of slippers, consider those that are easy to wash and have grippers on the bottom for extra support when walking to avoid slips and falls. Also, consider those that hold the entire foot — open-backed slippers may slide off and could be a tripping hazard.

  • Shower gels/bath bombs

Even if your loved one needs assistance with bathing, shower gels or bath bombs are a great way to add luxury and relaxation to the routine. Think about a fragrance your loved one enjoys, and pick out a shower gel or bath bomb with notes of that scent. Scents are a great way to remind your loved one of a special time in their life and bring that feeling into their new home.

  • Gift Basket

Putting together a basket of your loved one’s favorite things is a great way to make them smile. Think about favorite snacks, lotions, reading and puzzle books, drinks, or other small items they use. Add flowers from the region or even those they may have grown at home to complete the presentation. Gift baskets are maybe the perfect gift if you’re not sure what to get because they bring many things your relative loves together.

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Having fun with the challenge

No matter the occasion, picking out gifts for assisted living residents can be challenging. You have to consider not only what your loved one wants and needs, but also the restrictions and policies their assisted living facility has in place. But, with the right frame of mind, finding the perfect gift can be a source of joy for you and your loved one. The gesture will be something they and you remember a very long time.


Meet the Author
Michaela Kitchen

Michaela Kitchen is a copywriter at A Place for Mom. She focuses on senior living trends, resources relevant to the families of seniors, senior lifestyle tips, and healthcare. Previously, she worked in television and print journalism, social media management, and marketing. She holds a bachelor's degree from Kansas State University in journalism and mass communication.

Edited by

Jordan Kimbrell

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