Gifts for Elderly Friends: 100 Ideas
March 31, 2021General Retirement
When it comes to choosing the right gifts for seniors or elderly friends, make sure that the gifts are practical, functional, and sometimes sentimental.
Choosing the perfect gift for elderly individuals can sometimes be quite challenging. In addition to having varying tastes and perhaps more stuff than they actually need, it can be pretty hard to know whether they’ll appreciate the gift. Again, there are a lot of options that figuring the best gifts for your elderly friend or loved one can be tough! Luckily for you, this all-encompassing guide walks you through the best gift ideas for the elderly. Whether you’re looking for a retirement, holiday, or birthday gift and whoever it is for, you’ll find a suitable gift on this list.
Sharing time with your elderly loved ones can be one of the most inexpensive and rewarding gifts, but it’s not always possible. Choose a gift that makes them feel special while at the same time is practical and functional. It should make their lives healthier, easier, and more fun.
This gift guide has a plethora of ideas for older men and women. The information herein is derived from several senior living facilities across the country including Cedar Hill Continuing Care Community and Home Care Assistance as well as sites such as GreatSeniorLiving.com and aPlaceforMom.com. Whether your elderly loved one is a hard-to-buy-for person or he/she is dealing with a couple of health issues and challenges, read on and learn how you can make his/her day much better with a perfect gift.
Table of contents
Spending Time with the Elderly
Spending time with your elderly loved one is, without a doubt, the best gift you can give. In addition to being priceless, it’s a perfect way to create new lasting memories while revisiting cherished old ones. The fact that you put an effort and create time in your busy schedule to visit them is a superb way of showing them that they’re still valued.
Here's an excerpt from a true-life story as narrated by Bethany Meola in Grotto, which is a network where people share stories and insights about living life boldly.
According to Bethany Meola who has a master's in theological studies and served the U.S. bishops for seven years; “Spending time with the elderly is refreshing, incalculable, and undeniably meaningful.”
Meola and her husband first met Louise in 2012. This was after a friend asked them if they were willing to take Louise (an elderly widow) on her weekly shopping trips. Louise was in her late 80s when Meola and her husband met her. Her beloved husband had passed away a few years earlier and she was living with her cat.
The couple’s friendship with Louise blossomed and they were even by her side when she passed away in 2017. “We shared meals, celebrated birthdays together (including Louise’s 93rd birthday),” says Meola.
Meola believes that they brought true love and happiness to Louise in her twilight years and that experience remains priceless.
How Much Time Do You Have to Spend with an Elderly Loved One?
You’re probably wondering how much time you should spend with an elderly loved one. Well, in his post, Tim Urban uses these insightful charts to show that spending quality time with a senior loved one matters a lot.
Urban examines how much time we have in a 90-year human life. He sees them as often as possible but at least 10 times a year. You can consider using Urban’s perspective when assessing how much time you spend with your elderly loved ones and do not make excuses not to spend time with them because it is invaluable, especially if you visit them unrequested.
“There should be no excuse when it comes to visiting an elderly loved one, in person or virtually,” says Sarah Stevenson, a senior writer for aPlaceforMom.com. “There are numerous benefits of visiting and elderly. Visiting them makes them happy, makes you happy, and is essential in keeping them healthy and young,” she says.
How to Spend Time with Elderly Loved Ones
How you spend time with the elderly depends much on their health, their health conditions, and interests. Consider the things that he loved doing in their own free time and find related activities that you can both engage in. You should also communicate with them and determine what they are willing to do.
Some of the things that you can do include:
- Asking their advice
- Listening to them
- Spending time with them
- Visiting or calling them
- Eating together with them
- Appreciating them
You can also take it to another level by doing the following:
- Going for a drive
- Watching a movie
- Playing a board game
- Reading old documents
- Preparing a meal together
- Bird watching
- Looking through a photo album
- Visiting favorite locations and many more
As we noted, it all depends on his/her condition. No matter how you choose to spend time with the elderly, keep in mind that it is invaluable and they’ll always appreciate your time and effort.
Fun and Practical Gifts for an Elderly
Here are some of the best practical and fun gifts that you can get for an elderly loved one.
Pill Organizer with Reminder Alarm
Keeping track of medication and how and when to take them becomes increasingly challenging for many people as they age. Fortunately, pill organizers with reminder alarms can be of great help.
This device can help your elderly loved one sort out a day’s. a week’s, or even a month’s medications. It also sets automatic alarms to help your elderly loved one get reminded when it’s time to take medication. Make sure that you choose a pill organizer that comes with easy-to-open partitions.
Games and puzzles that engage the brain offer several health benefits to the elderly. Brain games such as Sudoku books, word searches, and crossword puzzles are among some of the best gifts for seniors who love a mental challenge. You can consider adding a personalized pencil for extra magic and special touch.
There’s probably nothing that can soothe an aching back, spinal cord, or neck like a warm and nice massage. Choosing a warm and heated massage pillow for your elderly friend or loved one can be of great help, especially if he/she experiences the usual back pains and neck aches that often come with old age.
If anything, attaching, attaching this massage pillow to his/her favorite armchair can bring welcome relief.
Light Therapy Lamp
Winter days are dark and can drag anyone down but more so the elderly ones. Fortunately, a light therapy lamp that looks like the natural outdoor light can surely brighten up your elderly loved one’s day. It’s also superb if your senior is mobility-challenged and he/she finds it hard to go outside to enjoy the natural light.
Sleep Sound Machine
One of the most common issues among elderly people is lack of sleep. Luckily, a sleep sound machine can be a perfect gift and the right solution if your elderly loved one is suffering from a lack of sleep.
These devices are designed in such a way that they generate natural sounds and white noise that have calming effects and can help the elderly relax and fall asleep faster. You can choose a model that can adjust sound levels depending on the surrounding noise.
If you’ve been thinking about getting your elderly loved one a gift that brings to the fore functionality and fashion in one package, then the non-slip socks can be a superb choice. These socks are designed with rubber grips on the bottom to help keep your senior’s feet pleasantly warm while preventing him/her from falling.
These socks are available in a wide range of colors and styles.
It’s a common trend for the elderly to misplace their house keys. Well, you can get your elderly loved one a key finder to help him/her find the house keys whenever it’s misplaced. Most of the available models vary in range with some working up to a range of 300 feet away.
If your elderly loved one has a smartphone, you can consider going for a finder that uses Bluetooth as it can be a lot easier to use than the ones that rely on radiofrequency.
Earthly Unpaper Towels
These are reusable towels that are washable and can be used in place of paper towels. The elderly can use them for cleaning up spills, as napkins, and for wiping their faces or sticky hands. These fabrics cannot be bleached, are absorbent, durable, and environmentally friendly.
If your elderly loved one is energetic enough and wants to walk through the muddy fields, a boot jack can be ideal when it comes to taking off the boots or any other footwear after a day in the fields. It’s ideal, especially for the seniors who struggle with bending.
Portable Induction Cooktop
If you’re worried about the safety of your elderly loved one in the kitchen, you can choose a portable induction cooktop as an ideal gift. This device only heats the pot and not the stovetop. As such, it can help in minimizing the possibility of setting anything on fire when cooking.
Gifts for Elderly People with Dementia or Alzheimer’s
When choosing a perfect gift for an elderly loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s consider the type of gifts that can reduce or even eradicate anxiety, stimulate their minds, or even soothe their agitation. The following are some of the best choices.
A wheelchair blanket is unquestionably one of the most practical gifts for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients who are on wheelchairs. This is a soft blanket that your elderly loved one can use to wrap his/her legs without necessarily getting caught in the wheels.
Most of these blankets are designed with Velcro loops to help in keeping them in place as well as handwarmer pockets.
A jigsaw puzzle can help your elderly loved one engage his/her brain while also promoting relaxation. In addition to the nostalgic imagery and large pieces, such jigsaw puzzles are elderly-friendly and can be ideal for any senior with memory issues and dexterity challenges.
Gifting your elderly loved one with robotic pets is a creative way of allowing him/her to experience the companionship of a pet without having to go through the stresses of caring for a living creature. These robotic pets are generally designed to comfort the elderly and come with sensors and realistic furs that respond to human touch.
Offering a day clock that displays the time of the day, the date, and the day of the week to an elderly loved one dealing with memory issues or dementia can be a superb way of helping them orient themselves. You can choose the Alzheimer’s clocks as they offer easy viewing and can also adjust the dimness level.
A picture phone is a wonderful way of helping your elderly loved one to easily connect with the people in his/her life. It comes with enlarged numerical buttons that can be programmed and each has a space for a photo of the person. It allows the senior to push a single button to dial the right person’s number.
Another perfect gift for an elderly loved one with dementia is a customized photo book that has detailed captions to help him/her identify people and places. You can find easy to upload photo books from Wal-Mart and Shutterfly and create a book that your recipient will love.
Fidget hand muff or Blanket
Having an item such as a fidget hand muff to fiddle with can be fantastic in soothing restless hands while also reducing anxiety. These items have a variety of textures and colors and can be a perfect gift for the elderly with Alzheimer’s.
Gifts for People with Hearing Impairments
If your loved one is suffering from hearing impairment, the following items will be perfect for him/her and will show that you care.
A video doorbell is a perfect gift for an elderly loved one with hearing impairment since he/she will not stress about not hearing the doorbell. The device sends an alert to his/her smartphone whenever there’s someone at the door. It also allows him to see and speak to the person at the door.
Hearing Aid Charms
Hearing aid charms are a fantastic way of helping your elderly loved one with hearing issues. There are various designs including flowers, jewels, and heart symbols.
Vibrating Alarm Clocks
You can use vibrating alarm clocks to ensure that your elderly loved one doesn’t oversleep. Instead of producing a sound, this clock vibrates and can be ideal for those with hearing impairments.
You can choose to gift an elderly friend with the best sound-enhancing headphones for hearing impairment. They are designed in such a way that they allow the user to choose the sounds to filter out and the ones to focus on.
Buying hearing aids can be costly, so you can consider gifting your elderly loved one with ear gear to protect these devices. They’re generally designed with spandex nylon sleeves to keep the hearing aids from dirt and moisture.
TV Listening Device
If your elderly loved one loves watching the TV and doesn’t want to miss out on the action, you can consider this TV listening device as a gift. It will allow him/her to enjoy his/her favorite programs without being bothered by other things or people around as it allows him/her to increase the volume of the TV without interfering with others.
Your elderly loved one will not miss a word of what you’re saying when you’re speaking on the phone with a captioned telephone. This is because it instantly displays a written record of the conversation.
Sign Language Letter Tiles
If your elderly loved one loves playing scrabble or using common American Sign Language, the sign language letter tiles can be an ideal gift. It puts a unique twist to an old scrabble game and can be of great help to him/her.
Gifts for Visually Impaired People
Do you have an elderly loved one who is struggling with low vision? Here are a few great gift ideas for the visually impaired.
Large Print Measuring Cups
These are large measuring print cups that can be ideal for a senior adult who loves cooking and wants to measure ingredients and other stuff in various quantities.
Tip n Split Magnifier
Tip n Split magnifier is a creative device that allows your elderly loved one to easily read restaurant menus and bills, figure out a tip, and calculate everyone’s share. It comes with a simple-to-use calculator, magnifying lens, and built-in LED light.
You can consider paying for your elderly loved one monthly audible subscription so that he/she can access one free audiobook from thousands of books available. He/she can listen to the audiobook via a computer or mobile device.
Low Vision Keyboard
You can make your elderly loved one’s computer a lot easier to use by gifting him/her a low vision keyboard with high-contrast oversized keys that have bolder and larger letters. You can choose either a wired or wireless version.
Big Button Phone with Braille Keys
Using normal phones can be quite challenging for a blind person. You can simplify the process by gifting your elderly loved one with a specially designed phone that comes with Braille-type oversized keys.
Magnifying Glass Necklace
A magnifying glass necklace can be ideal for an elderly woman who needs something to help her in reading various things.
Low vision can make it extremely challenging to see the digits on a standard wristwatch. This is why talking watches are a perfect gift for those with low vision. They generally have a button that you can press and the current time will be announced.
A probing cane is, without a doubt, one of the most important gifts for the elderly with vision issues. It can allow him/her to move around confidently by detecting obstacles such as curbs and stairs. You can choose to go for folding canes that are easy to store or straight canes that give more sensory feedback.
Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is a specially designed smartphone app that can pair a blind person with a sighted volunteer via a video call. The volunteer can then assist him/her with various activities such as checking food expiration dates and adjusting the thermostat.
Gift for an Elderly who has Everything
Pleasing an elderly who has everything can be quite difficult. He/she may not be pleased or satisfied with material gifts, so you should focus more on experiences and unique services, or even DIY gifts that they cannot get somewhere else. Here are a few ideas.
You can use a needle and thread to create a customized memory quilt that integrates materials that have special meanings for the elderly loved one. You can incorporate these memory quilts into his/her favorite dress or shirt.
Restore Old Photos
If your elderly loved one has decades-old photos that need to be restored, you can take the initiative and restore them as a gift. You can learn a thing or two on how to restore old photos using Photoshop.
Gift Cards for Experiences
You can take your elderly loved one out for a treat. In addition to the activities that he/she loves, you can take him/her to a spa, cinema, or restaurant.
Home-cooked Meals Frozen
Cooking and freezing home-cooked meals for your elderly loved one can be a thoughtful way of making his/her days better.
If your elderly loved one is into coffee, you should consider surprising him/her with a subscription to a coffee club that delivers the best coffee flavors to his/her doorstep.
Charitable Donation in their Name
Your elderly loved one probably doesn’t need anything but why not make a charitable donation in their name to an organization that you know he/she can support?
Help your elderly loved one learn a new cooking skill and help his/her brain remain sharp.
Grocery Delivery Service
Make his/her life much easier by ensuring that groceries are delivered to his/her doorstep through services such as Instacart.
Concerts, Theatres, or Sports Event Ticket
You can treat your elderly loved one to an evening out to enjoy the performance of his/her favorite sports team or performers. There are lots of concerts, theatres and sports events to choose from.
House Cleaning and Yard-care Service
An elderly loved one will appreciate it if you have someone cleaning their home and taking care of the loan. You can either arrange the services regularly or do it as a one-time deal.
Many people including senior adults are interested in knowing and documenting their family histories. A membership to this platform can help your elderly loved one through this interesting genealogy research while also helping them fill out the branches in their family tree.
Gifts for Your Elderly Parents
Your parents are getting old and you still want to show them that you value them and cherish them. Well, here are a couple of gift ideas for your aging parents.
If your parents are globetrotters who love visiting various places around the world, you can get them a scratch map, which is a unique and enjoyable way of scratching off and documenting the places that they’ve visited. It’s also a nice and decorative addition to the wall.
You can get a few practical eyeglass holders if any of your parents wear eyeglasses. This can help them keep their spectacles safe and clean.
Your elderly parents will most likely appreciate knowing what the weather is like out there before stepping out or indulging in a particular activity and that’s why a weather monitor can be an ideal gift.
Big Button Universal Remote
Big button universal remote is a channel changer with large and easy-to-find buttons works with all major cable boxes and TVs can be ideal. You can pre-program them to your parents’ TV system so that they start using them right away.
A soft and cuddly throw blanket can be a thoughtful gift for your parents as it’s comfortable, easy to clean, and is available in various styles to suit their tastes.
Family Name Art
You can get your elderly parents a unique family name artwork to help them display the family name on the wall.
Gift your elderly parents with an easy-to-use coffee maker that doesn’t require them to go through the tiring process of having to dig around for coffee grounds.
Golf Range Finder
A golf range finder can be a perfect gift if your elderly parent or loved one is still a golf person and loves spending time on the golf course. It’s a superb device that measures the distance to the pin and can help him/her when planning for the next shot.
Netflix Gift Card
Introduce your elderly loved ones to the experience of streaming entertainment on their TV through the internet. You can pay all or part of the Netflix subscription, which enables them to watch their favorite movies and TV shows.
Amazon Echo is a Wi-Fi-connected, voice-operated digital speaker that can perform a wide range of tasks including playing music, offering alarms and reminders, giving the weather forecast, and controlling the lights.
Wi-Fi Digital Photo Frame
You can set a Wi-Fi digital photo frame on your elderly loved ones’ home and upload pictures directly from your phone to the frame. They also have motion sensors that can display the most recent photos whenever someone walks into the room.
If your elderly loved one is into reading books, you can consider getting him/her E-reader to give them easier access to lots of books.
Perfect Gifts for People with Arthritis
You can consider gifting senior adults living with arthritis presents that can help in easing their pain while promoting comfort. Here are a few suggestions.
Power Lift Chair
A power lift chair can give an elderly loved one the ability to get into and out of an armchair with perfect ease. Some even have massage features.
Wearing a magnetic ring can alleviate the pain in the wearer’s finger joints. They’re also practical and stylish.
Paraffin Wax Bath
Get your elderly loved one a heated paraffin wax bath to help him/her soothe the sore joints.
Heated Mattress Pad
A good night’s sleep is of great importance and can never be underestimated. You can give your elderly loved one a heated mattress pad to help him/her relax and wake up feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
Grocery List Organizer
If you want to get your elderly loved one a very practical gift, then a grocery list organizer should be a superb option. It’s a voice-operated gadget that organizes and prints grocery lists, especially for senior adults who find it difficult to write. All they have to do is push a record button and the device will remember the items that they need.
Pushing the print button will spit out a list of items that had been recorded and this will make grocery shopping a breeze.
Automatic Jar Opener
An automatic jar opener is a gift that will make your elderly loved one’s life a lot easier as he/she won’t struggle to open jars. This device will open it for him/her.
Knee wraps are superb gel packs that can be shaped around the knees to offer much-needed pain relief. It can be used to provide both hot and cold therapy.
Extra Long Shoe Horn
An extra long shoe horn can help an elderly loved one slip in his/her shoes without having to bend over.
Perfect Gifts for Grandparents
Here are some thoughtful gifts to offer your elderly grandparent.
Grandparent Talk Game
One of the best ways to bridge the conversational gap between the young generation and senior citizens is through the grandparent talk game, which is a superb conversation starter. It has over 100 questions that grandparents and their grandkids can indulge in and learn about each other.
Adult Coloring Books
Coloring isn’t just for kids; it can be a fantastic pastime activity for your elderly loved one and a great way to relieve stress and boredom and adult coloring books can be a great way to do this.
Birthstone rings are among the popular gifts for the elderly. So if your senior citizen enjoys having some bling, why not get him/her a birthstone ring? Some can hold up to five different stones.
Memory and Keepsake Journal
You can help your grandparent detail his/her life in these memory and keepsake journals. The ideas may be hard to come by at the beginning but he/she can start with cherished photos and mementos.
A photo locket for your grandma for her photos and those of her children and grandchildren is not only gorgeous but also sentimental. Most lockets can hold up to four pictures and can have special messages.
Daily Instagram Photo Calendar
You can offer your grandparents something to look at every day with this daily instagram photo calendar gift that can be personalized with various photos of his/her children and grandchildren from Instagram.
Whether you choose Lego kits or other building blocks, these are very fun ways to keep your grandparent busy and creative.
Automatic Card Shuffler
If your elderly loved one enjoys playing cards but doesn’t love shuffling the cards perhaps because of their weak motor skills, these automatic card shufflers can be of great help.
Recordable Book from Grandchildren
A recordable book from grandchildren can be a personalized gift that the grandparent will probably cherish forever. The grandchild can record the book in his/her voice as he/she reads it and offer it as a gift to the elderly.
Gifts for Special Occasions (Birthdays and Anniversaries)
Whether it’s your senior citizen’s birthday or anniversary, there are loads of thoughtful gifts for him/her. Here are a few.
GoGoGrandparent Gift card
GoGoGrandparent Gift Card is a great way of ensuring that your elderly loved one goes out on this special day using the on-demand ride service that’s perfect for seniors, especially if he/she doesn’t want to use a smartphone.
We all love to feel pampered, so why not take your elderly loved one for the ultimate spa experience on his/her special day.
Support Wildlife and Environmental Organizations
If your senior citizen loves nature and wildlife, this can be a great time to offer some support to wildlife and environmental organizations.
Does he/she love flowers? Well, this can be an ideal time to offer him/her a fresh bouquet by subscribing to a service that delivers fresh flowers to your loved one.
Gift Certificate to a Favorite Restaurant
You can set a date and take your elderly loved one out for a special meal at his/her favorite restaurant.
Favorite Music Albums and Songs
Music is a great way of improving the quality of life for older adults and this is the right time to get your elderly loved one his/her favorite album or songs.
Technology Gifts for Seniors
The recent happening in the world such as the Coronavirus pandemic has made us rely on technology more than ever. Here are a few technological gadgets to ensure that your senior citizen stays connected.
Emergency SOS Device
An emergency SOS device is like a panic button that can save an elderly life by alerting an ambulance, the police, or emergency services.
GreatCall Lively Mobile Medical Alert Device
GreatCall Lively Mobile Medical Alert Device is a technological device that becomes of great importance when a senior requires an urgent response. It has built-in fall detection sensors that will automatically call for help when there’s a fall.
Motion Sensor Lights
You certainly do not want your elderly loved one to wake up in the middle of darkness and stumble his/her way to the washroom as this is a recipe for a fatal fall. Motion sensor lights can prevent this from happening.
Smartwatch to Monitor Vitals
These smartwatches not only track your steps and movements but can also monitor health measurements and can be an important gift for your elderly loved one.
A GrandPad Tablet is a simple and secure tablet that is ideal for senior citizens to connect with friends and loved ones from all over the world.
RAZ Memory Cell Phone
RAZ Memory Cell Phone is a dementia-friendly cell phone that has a single screen that never goes off and can be ideal in case of an emergency.
Telikin Computer is a modern computer with probably the most intuitive user experience. It has simplified tech programs, which makes it very easy to use.
Compression Socks are technologically-enhanced socks can improve circulation while also reducing swelling conditions that may arise due to congestive heart failure.
Gifts that Make the Elderly Loved Ones’ Lives Easier and Healthier
Here are a few gift ideas to help make your elderly loved one’s life a lot easier.
NOVA Cup Holder for Wheelchair
You can help your elderly loved one stay hydrated with a NOVA Cup Holder for Wheelchair, which makes their cup or water bottle within reach and easy to hold.
You can get your elderly loved one a pair of comfortable adaptive shoes, especially if he/she is suffering from diabetes.
You can get your elderly loved one a dressing stick to assist him/her in putting on socks, shoes, zipping a dress, or even picking an item from the floor!
Improve your senior’s dental health by getting him/her this electric toothbrush that eliminates any strain on the hands or wrists while brushing.
The tote bag is not only stylish but a convenient way for your elderly loved one to carry his/her essentials around.
Memory Foam Seat Cushion
This gel and memory seat foam cushion can help in making it very comfortable to sit for long periods while also reducing pressure sores.
This electric shaver is a clean and safe way to shave any part of your body.
Mobility Gifts for the Elderly
The following gifts can make it a lot easier for your elderly loved one to move from one place to another.
A standing aid is a simple tool that can help your elderly loved one get in and out of a car with ease.
Hugo Mobility Quadpod Offset Cane
Hugo Mobility Quadpod Offset Cane is a handy device that reduces fall risk by increasing your elderly loved one’s stability.
Grab Bar and Pole
Grab Bar and Pole is a sturdy pole that can be installed anywhere to offer extra help to your elderly loved one when getting up from a seat.
An innovative and lightweight rolling walker that can allow your elderly loved one to move from one place to the other with ease.
On-demand Ride Gift Card
You can get your senior Uber gift card to conveniently enable him/her to move around for medical appointments, visit friends and family, and run small errands.
About THE AUTHOR
With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.Read more about David Bolton
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