As the holiday season rolls around, everyone is shopping for the perfect gifts for their friends and families. Some people may seem impossible to shop for, and many find it especially difficult to think of gift ideas for the seniors in their lives. Below are some ideas to help you find the right gifts for your elderly loves ones.
Fun and Games
If a senior loves to play games, word games like Scrabble, Boggle, or Bananagrams make great gifts. Not only are they fun, they also stimulate the brain, which is essential for a senior’s mental health. A book of crossword puzzles would have a similar effect. A deck of large-print playing cards can give family and friends an opportunity to get involved and play along with a senior. Other ideas for fun-loving seniors are gift cards to their favorite restaurants or tickets to a local theater event. These will give the senior an opportunity to get out of the house while also making new memories with loved ones.
Most seniors desire to age in place at home, and some gifts can help them do that by making their lives easier and safer. For seniors who love to read or sew, a lighted magnifying glass can allow them to enjoy these or any other hobbies even if their vision worsens over time. A single-cup coffee brewer is practical and efficient for those who live alone, and is easy to use. A robotic vacuum will keep the floors clean and take away that responsibility from the senior who may no longer be able to push around a vacuum. Cozy blankets, throws, and slippers will keep seniors warm as the winter season sets in. To make a house feel homier, homemade photo gifts like books, calendars, magnets, and coffee mugs will surround the senior with pictures of their loved ones and remind them of cherished memories.
For those seniors that struggle with shaky hands or stiff joints, handy household items can make great gifts. Openers for pull-tab cans, jar openers, and electric can openers will make cooking easier. Oversized zipper pulls, button hooks, shoehorns, and elastic shoe laces will make it easier for seniors to get dressed. For those with limited mobility, a grabber for picking things up or retrieving them from high places is a great gift idea. Bed rails or a bed cane can provide assistance when getting out of bed, and wheelchair clips attach frequently used items to a wheelchair.
Safety may be a big concern, especially for seniors who live alone. A bath safety grip will provide assistance when entering and exiting the shower or tub, and safety grips that can attach with suction cups are great for travelling. There are also similar products small enough to be stored in a car door pocket that can help seniors get in and out of a car safely. Alarm systems that flash a light along with a sound can be a good addition for seniors that have hearing impairments.
If a senior in your life is tech savvy, then tablets and smartphones may be the perfect gift for them. Tablets are especially good for seniors because they have large screens and can be used anywhere. These devices can help them stay in touch with family and friends. You could also include a gift card for a class that teaches them how to use their new device. Audio books are great for seniors whose vision or other health problems make it difficult to read, and headphones and other personal listening devices help those who have hearing impairments.
Assisted Living Gifts
Those seniors who live in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility most often have small rooms and not much space to put new belongings. In these situations, smaller gifts may be best. The following is a list of small gift ideas: (source: Caring.com)
- Framed piece of a grandchild’s artwork
- Memory journal
- Pens, assorted greeting cards, postal cards, stationery, and stamps
- Desk-quality address book or guest book
- Shower tote filled with bath gels and moisturizers
- Assortment of current magazines tied together with a colorful ribbon
- Jigsaw puzzle (500 pieces or more)
- Pencil box with pens, paper clips, and colorful post-it notes
- Decorative glass jar filled with their favorite candies
- Prepaid long-distance phone cards
- Desk clock with big numbers
- Decorated box for keepsakes
- Desktop Christmas tree
- Sewing box with supplies
- Colorful knitting or crocheting yarns
- Flashlight for a nightstand
- Soft makeup brush and some face powder
If the senior in your life already has some of the items listed above, or if you are looking to give a different kind of gift this year, gifts of service and companionship are always a good option. Many seniors could use some help around the house. One idea is for children or grandchildren to make their loved one a book full of coupons redeemable for household chores such as washing the car, mowing the lawn, or a full house cleaning. Seniors may feel isolated and lonely during the holiday season, so making an effort to spend time with your love one can be a great gift itself, especially if they live in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. Taking the time to find the perfect holiday gift can mean a lot, but spending quality time with senior loved ones is priceless.
“Holiday Gifts for Seniors,” written by Taylor French, Amada contributor.