Updated on 11/25/19
Figuring out the right gifts for senior citizens can be a real challenge, especially around special occasions and holidays. That’s why we’ve created this list of gift ideas for seniors to help you generate some ideas of your own and point you in the right direction. Some of the suggestions below might just make you go “aha”!
The Challenges of Buying Gifts For Seniors
Why is it so tough to choose just the right gift for a loved one living in an assisted care facility?
For starters, many people who reside in assisted living have access to many of the items they need for their daily lives. Assisted living facilities often provide necessities and offer residents access to meals, snacks, and beverages. They might also provide other basics or have community outings to stock up on these basics. So, if you used to rely on gift cards for your loved one to use to purchase basic essentials, this gift idea wouldn’t be useful anymore.
It’s also true that once a loved one moves into assisted living; they’ll have less space. Some communities come already furnished and offer only limited space for living and storage. Chances are your loved one even needed to pare down their belongings before moving.
It’s a common event in families to sort through the family home and determine what goes where and whether or not something warrants a move into assisted living or should be donated or passed along to other members of the family. If your loved one has already cut back on items, the last thing he or she wants is to be given gifts that clutter up the already limited space.
Finally, as people age, they might lose interest in things they once enjoyed. Sometimes it’s because they are no longer able to physically get around like they once did. In other cases, it might be because they enjoyed a hobby with a spouse or friend who has passed. People change and what was once a go-to gift might no longer be an option once a loved one is in assisted living.
So, what gifts can you buy someone who has moved into an assisted living facility? There are still plenty of great options and if you’re stuck for ideas, here are a few:
Thoughtful Gifts for Seniors: Our Top Picks
Activities to Be Shared with Young Visitors
One of the brightest joys in a senior’s life is to receive a visit from younger relatives. But as anyone who has spent any time with children knows, they can grow bored quickly. If your senior loved one has a few activities on hand to share with young visitors, then the time spent together is enhanced.
There are plenty of options, and it’s important to consider both what your senior loved one is capable of doing, as well as the age range(s) and interests of the child or children. Typically, items like coloring books, puzzles, and art supplies make for great gifts to have on hand for visits.
If there’s an issue with dexterity, you might consider books they can share together. And if it’s tough to do much other than sit and enjoy one another’s company, your senior and younger loved ones can enjoy a movie. This can be a great way to share likes and dislikes with older and younger generations.
It might seem as though these gifts are more for the children involved, but the truth is, senior relatives adore spending time with the littles in their family. These gifts create quality time together and allow lifelong memories to be made.
Does your loved one living in assisted living love music? Was it difficult for him or her to give up an old record or tape collection when the transition was made to a facility? Consider loading an iPod with their favorite songs and restoring that beloved music collection in a more space-friendly manner.
iPods are simple to use and can be listened to with earbuds or on a speaker. These devices are reasonably priced and make it possible to truly customize a gift for your loved one. And years from now you’ll have a collection of your loved one’s favorite songs available to you in one place.
Photo Albums and Scrapbooks
Having photos of loved ones and special moments nearby makes any living environment feel cozier and more like home. This is especially true for senior loved ones who might be feeling sentimental about their homes or wishing they lived closer to members of their families. This makes photo albums, scrapbooks, and photo frames a great gift option for loved ones in assisted living. E-photo frames even allow you to load the frame with a wide variety of pictures that automatically scrolls through the collection. You’ll be able to add or change photos in the frame as time goes by.
Seniors tend to be less mobile, especially once they move into assisted living. They are in smaller spaces and have fewer household responsibilities, and if they are dealing with health challenges, movement can be even more challenging. This doesn’t mean they should cut out all physical activity though, and fitness equipment can make getting enough exercise easier.
Exercise equipment doesn’t always mean treadmills and elliptical machines. There are plenty of options for older adults who have limited mobility or strength. Three to five-pound hand or ankle weights, a yoga mat, or elastic bands all make great options for seniors. They make low-impact workouts easy in small spaces and mean your loved one won’t need to leave their room to get daily exercise.
If fitness equipment isn’t right for your loved one or he or she already has a preferred fitness activity, there might be other things you can do to help your loved one stay as healthy as possible. Maybe your senior loved one has always wanted to try an activity that promotes good health, such as a healthy cooking class or learning to meditate for relaxation. Perhaps he or she struggles with a nagging health issue but makes daily living somewhat unpleasant, he or she might enjoy a chair or full-body massage. This isn’t right for everyone, but if your loved one tends to deal with stiffness or soreness, or you just know he or she would love to try something that promotes healthy overall well-being, these might be good ideas.
Books and E-Readers
If your loved one enjoys reading or you think there might be topics he or she would want to explore now that there are fewer daily responsibilities, books and e-books are a great way to do this. The important thing to keep in mind is if you decide to invest in regular books for a senior in assisted living is that there is limited space.
It might be nice to have a collection of reference books about a particular topic, but if your loved one enjoys reading fiction or he or she has a wide variety of interests, an e-reader might be a better option to save on space.
E-readers are easy to use once you understand the device. If your loved one is less-than-tech-savvy, take some time to figure out the device together and make sure he or she understands how it is used and how to download books before moving on from the gift. This helps to avoid frustration and ensures your loved one will get the most possible use from his or her new device.
Pre-addressed and Stamped Greeting Cards
Does your loved one have friends and family spread throughout the country or around the globe? Is it tough to keep in touch because your senior isn’t comfortable with email or video chatting? Or does he or she just prefer writing and receiving traditional letters through the mail? Regardless of your loved one’s specific circumstances, a kit filled with pre-addressed and pre-stamped greeting cards and stationery makes it easy and convenient to keep in touch the old-fashioned way. This is a great gift that your loved one can enjoy now, but it also gives friends and family a treasured keepsake to enjoy for years to come.
A Visitors’ Journal
A visitors’ journal makes for a great gift and keepsake. This can be as simple as a blank notebook that allows visitors to sign their names and leave well wishes to your senior loved one. Not only will your loved one be able to look back over the visitors that came to spend time together, but you’ll also have a keepsake for years to come.
Plants make a great addition to any space and can be especially nice for senior loved ones who are no longer able to get out and spend much time in nature. When choosing a plant for someone living in assisted living look for something that needs minimal to moderate sunlight and easy to care for. As an added benefit, plants make a person’s living environment healthier by making the air cleaner, so you’ll actually be making your loved one’s space a better place.
It can be tough to get out and about when you’re older and shop for your favorite snacks and foods. Favorite foods might seem like an unnecessary expense for a senior on a fixed budget, or he or she might be restricted to eating only the foods available at the assisted living facility. A care package filled with familiar and favorite foods can brighten your loved one’s day. These might be treats he or she can’t enjoy frequently, but that bring delight once in a while.
Practical Gifts For Seniors
If your senior loved one prefers practical gifts that are useful and save them from spending their limited funds, there are plenty of options. For instance:
- Pajamas and slippers make a great gift for seniors because they are worn on a daily basis. And as a gift, you can indulge your loved one by investing in luxury items they might not choose for themselves.
- Toiletries also make a great gift because again, they can be items that are used on a regular basis. You can also treat your loved one with luxury items, such as bath salts that ease tired and aching muscles, luxury body creams, and other items that add a little something special to a daily routine.
- If your loved one is wheelchair-bound, a carrying bag that fits onto the chair and allows him or her to carry personal items from room to room can come in handy. These bags drape over the side of the chair and allow for hands-free movement when carrying books, glasses, bottled beverages, and other items from one room to another.
Gifts For Seniors Who Still Get Out
Does your loved one still manage to get out and about? Despite being in assisted living, many seniors still manage to get out and participate in social activities. In some cases, the assisted living community plans outings that give residents a chance to enjoy time spent off-campus. If this is the case for your loved one, there are plenty of gifts that can make these outings more enjoyable.
- Gift cards make great gifts for seniors who are still out and about because they allow the person to indulge in purchases that might not be an option otherwise. Maybe your loved one enjoys eating out with friends? You could purchase a gift card for his or her favorite restaurant. There are gift cards available for just about every activity you can image nowadays, and they make a great gift for loved ones.
- Similar to gift cards, you can get your loved one a ticket to a special event. If there is a theater or playhouse in your area, a senior loved one who can leave their assisted living facility will enjoy this special treat alone or with friends.
These are just some fun gift ideas for seniors in assisted living, but there are surely more. Hopefully, this article has helped you spark some ideas that will brighten a senior’s day! If you liked this post, please take a minute to share it on your favorite social media site to help someone else out: