Our older relatives are quite diverse. Some enjoy good health and live independently in the community, while others are frail and live in residential care facilities.
Regardless of their health and living situations, many of us find it challenging to select suitable Christmas and birthday gifts for these relatives. After all, they’ve had a lifetime to accumulate the things they want and need!
We can always ask, but many will say that they don’t know what they’d like or that they don’t have any pressing needs. In these cases, what are some enjoyable, thoughtful gifts we can give to our older loved ones? I came up with these 10 ideas as my husband and I began our Christmas shopping last weekend. Note: Some of the following links are affiliate links (click here to read about what this means).
Great gifts for elderly relatives
- Digital photo frames. Our older loved ones often enjoy having photos of their family members, but they only have so much room for framed photos on their walls and end tables. Digital photo frames are a great gift because they provide loved ones with a way to store and display large numbers of photos.
- E-readers. Older loved ones may have difficulty making it to the library or holding onto heavy books while reading them. E-readers are a great solution because readers can add books to them from the comfort of home and they are lightweight. Additionally, most e-readers allow users to adjust the size of the font, which makes reading easier for loved ones with restricted vision.
- Gift certificates for house cleaning services. Whether your loved one is having difficulties pushing the vacuum and scrubbing the bathtub or not, a gift certificate for a house cleaning service will provide him or her with a nice break from cleaning the house.
- Roombas. Roombas—robotic vacuums—are super helpful for elderly loved ones who are struggling with mobility or with maneuvering traditional vacuums. These units are easy to use and help loved ones independently maintain their homes.
- Gift certificates for manicures or pedicures. Decreased circulation, thinning skin, and brittle nails are common changes in the aging body. This means that our older loved ones need to take careful care of their feet and hands. Unfortunately, this is difficult because decreased flexibility and changes in motor function (such as tremors) are also common in aging. A gift certificate for a manicure or pedicure allows your loved one to be pampered while a professional tends to the important tasks of cleaning and trimming nails. Note: If your loved one has diabetes or another condition that influences circulation, he or she will need to discuss the appropriateness of a manicure or pedicure with a physician before having one.
- Item of the month clubs. Does your loved one enjoy coffee? How about salsa or cheese? If so, you can give him or her a subscription to a product of the month club (with a subscription of this type, your loved one will receive a new flavor or brand of the product each month). Non-food clubs (sock of the month, flower of the month, etc.) are also available. These are fun because they provide your loved one with a new “gift” each month of the year!
- Gift cards to local restaurants. Sometimes older loved ones grow tired of preparing meals (especially if they live alone and have no one with whom to share the food). Giving them gift cards to local restaurants makes sure they get good meals while being able to take a break from cooking.
- Photo calendars. By assembling a photo calendar for your loved one, you are giving them a gift that is both fun and practical. If your loved one is having trouble remembering anything (birthdays, due bills, medication refills, etc.), then you can customize the calendar with reminders.
- Subscriptions to services or publications. Fixed incomes are common among our older loved ones and this means that many of them cannot afford subscriptions to the services (Netflix, cable television, Amazon Prime, etc.) and publications (the local newspaper, magazines, etc.) they enjoy. It would be a real treat to receive a year’s subscription to one of these as a gift.
- Time. Often the greatest gift we can give loved ones is the gift of time. There are dozens of ways to give this as a “gift.” You can give your loved one tickets for the two of you to attend an athletic event or theater production. You can make homemade “coupons” (a trip to the coffee shop with you, lunch at a favorite café with the grandkids, etc.) for your loved one to use whenever he or she would like. Be creative!
I think we are going to be able to use a couple of these ideas. I hope you can, too!
What things do you think make good gifts for older relatives?
Shared on the following link-ups: