Gift Ideas for Older Adults

The holiday season is here. When you want to express your giving spirit with gifts to elderly loved ones, it’s often hard to know what to get, especially if it seems like they already have everything. It’s a common conundrum. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of things that make great gifts for older relatives on your holiday gift-giving list.

  • Timekeeping device, such as a digital or talking clock, a wristwatch or a wall clock
  • Small plant or silk floral arrangement
  • Lap desk for reading and writing
  • Warm, colorful shawl for lap or shoulders
  • Socks (avoid anything tight or stiff)
  • Small lamp for night table that can be turned on or off with a single touch
  • Small basket to keep miscellaneous items
  • Small basket filled with everyday necessities like paper, pen, tissues, etc.
  • Large print book of crossword puzzles or word find puzzles (Dollar Tree has them!)
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Large print books in topics that interest your loved one (devotional books, collections of short stories, biographies, and fiction are always good choices)
  • Audio books
  • Lip balm
  • Pocket tissues
  • Magnifying glass
  • Night light or a small set of stick-on night lights
  • Easy grip flashlight
  • Book of postage stamps
  • Jar of really good jam or preserves
  • Special treats that are appropriate for your loved one’s diet (gift goodies in zip-lock bags or containers for clean and easy storage)
  • Homemade meals or soups in individual small-portion freezer containers
  • A bag of high-quality coffee or tea
  • Small stuffed animals (life-sized battery-powered cats and dogs are popular now)
  • Fleece throw or afghan
  • Something to hang on the wall or door (like a decorative, easy-to-read large-print wall calendar)
  • Cordless electric toothbrush
  • Device that plays music that will be easy for your loved one to use, along with favorite music (this could be a vintage CD player along with CDs of your loved one’s favorite musical artists)
  • Washable clothing
  • Cardigan sweater
  • Gift certificate for a salon visit, manicure, pedicure or massage
  • Letter-writing materials, including stamps, stationery, or a greeting card assortment
  • Electric shaver for gentlemen
  • Knickknacks that have special meaning or reflect a hobby or interest
  • Photo album you have filled with special picture
  • A framed photo or photo collage
  • A mobile or soft wind chimes to hang
  • Products for bath and body, such as perfume, pump-dispensed hand or body lotion, and pump-dispensed shower gel
  • Costume jewelry such as earrings or bracelets with stretch elastic or a magnetic clasp
  • Nightgown or comfy loose-fitting robe
  • Sweat suits (avoid hooded sweatshirts that may be hard to put on or take off)

Sometimes, the best gift is doing something with or for your loved one. For many older adults, time with loved ones is the best gift of all. Try these ideas:

  • Work together on a scrapbook
  • Plan a game night of cards, checkers, chess
  • Plan a movie night where you watch a flick on your computer
  • Run an errand for your loved one
  • Help your loved one write letters, Christmas cards or thank-you notes
  • Assemble a collection of holiday songs on your digital music player; bring it to your visit so you and your loved one can listen to or sing holiday songs together
  • Share laughter or companionship during a special visit; have a box lunch or dinner on the porch
  • Work on a craft project together, such as knitting, crocheting, or sewing

As you consider what to give, please keep in mind that not every suggestion will be appropriate for every person. You know your loved one best. The important thing is to consider their needs, give from the heart, and let them know that they are loved.


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