Gift giving is a great pleasure for many of us. When shopping for elderly loved ones, however, you may find yourself challenged. After all, they’ve had a lifetime of gifts and may not need much. What’s more, if your loved one lives in an apartment, assisted living facility, or long-term care residence, they may have limited space for new tchotchkes.
Fret not, says Megan Davis. As United Hebrew’s Director of Social Work, she helps to support our residents’ health and well-being and works closely with residents and their families to ensure their day-to-day needs are met. Therefore, she has a deep understanding of what kinds of gifts might make residents’ lives just a little bit easier.
“As we age, things become more complicated,” Davis explains. “Ultimately, we want to find gifts that enhance quality of life — gifts should possess functionality, accessibility and ease of use.”
Davis helped us to curate the following list of gift ideas for your loved ones this holiday season. Check out these out-of-the-holiday-gift box ideas to show the seniors in your life that you care.
Top 8 Holiday Gift Ideas for Seniors
- Armchair Caddy: Older adults most likely have a favorite chair that they spend time in throughout the day. “Wouldn’t it be nice if they could have all the things they need within reach?” notes Davis. The armchair caddy can hold tissues, snacks, a book – any oft-used items.
- Temperature-Controlled Mug: For seniors with limited mobility, rising frequently to microwave beverages that may have cooled is difficult and could present a safety hazard. A temperature-controlled mug keeps coffee or tea at a temperature customized to personal preferences.
- Monthly Flower Subscription: A classic gift with a modern twist. Monthly subscriptions provide fresh and frequent bouquets of assorted flowers to brighten up your loved one’s room and day!
- App-Controlled Digital Frames: Digital frames no longer have the inconvenience of plugging in a memory card to upload new photos. New app-enabled photo frames allow anyone with access to the app to upload new photos as frequently as they would like. This interactive gift allows the whole family to get involved and upload a constant stream of new photos for your family member to enjoy.
- Big Basket of Cherished Items: Start a new tradition! Buy a durable basket and fill it with your loved one’s favorite things — chocolate, tissues, mints, a deck of cards, a book, skin care products, and more. Replenish the basket whenever there’s an occasion to celebrate — or for no reason at all.
- Framed Photo: If your loved one is just transitioning to assisted living or long-term care and needs to downsize, a framed photo of their old home or a family occasion that happened there is a simple yet touching gift that would remind them of happy memories.
- Voice-Enabled Smart Device: This is a perfect gift for those living in an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Your loved one can set reminders, listen to music, call family, create shopping lists, get news and weather updates, and so much more!
- Help With Holiday Cards: Many older adults love sending handwritten holiday cards, a task that could become more difficult as they age. Offer to spend time with them to write out, stamp, and send out the cards. This not only helps with a tedious task but also creates quality time together.
- Accompany Them to Doctor’s Appointments: Whether your loved one is less mobile, or perhaps just doesn’t like going to the doctor, a ride and an offer to accompany them to appointments can be a lifesaver. Offer to drive and sit in on the appointment to take notes. A second set of ears is a good thing.
These unique gift ideas don’t require a huge amount of planning or time. But they may make a world of difference for your loved one.
The holidays are also when we spend more time with our the older adults in our lives. The season is a good time to take note of any changes in your loved one’s mobility, behavior and cognitive function, notes Davis. “It may be difficult, but talking about the future is a must. The past couple of years has shown us that these are important conversations we should be having. It is so valuable to know what your loved one want.”
The best gift you can give to the senior in your life is time, explains Davis. “A phone call, FaceTime, or in-person visit to talk, listen, have a meal, listen to music, or just reminisce is always appreciated. Your time is reassures them they are important to you.”