Seniors have been giving and receiving gifts for decades, so what do you get them now? The key to holiday gift giving for seniors is to keep in mind their needs and capabilities at this time in their lives, while also being practical yet thoughtful.
Here are some ideas:
Help decorate their living space. The staff organize decorations of common areas, but residents might enjoy displaying well-loved family decorations in their own living spaces. Search your attic for some favorite festive trinkets, ornaments, and photos of holiday gatherings, and bring these mementos with you when you visit.
Calendars. Large, pretty wall calendars can serve as day-to-day event reminders as well as dramatic wall art. Large-print calendars area also available. Write in family birthdays, upcoming visits, holiday reminders, etc., so your senior can stay on top of coming events. On websites like Shutterfly, you can create your own customized calendars that contain photos of family members, holiday celebrations or reunions, or past vacations.
E-Readers. Electronic devices for downloading and reading books are gaining popularity with seniors. They’re less complicated than computers, easy to use, and travel well. Users can adjust font sizes and styles to their liking. Load a few of your senior’s favorite books, or new books you think he or she might love to read.
Digital music players. Seniors, like the rest of us, respond to the music of their youth or songs from their lives that remind them of special events or treasured times. Load the music player with the type of music and songs they’re fond of. Consider giving a speaker dock for convenient listening in any room that can be enjoyed with visitors.
Wireless headphones. TV viewing, music listening, tuning in to Internet podcasts, and playing audio books can be enhanced with wireless headphones. If your senior has hearing loss, headphones can help them catch all the audio nuances without having to crank up the volume and disturb the neighbors. Headphones come in many styles and sizes so you can choose the one you think might best suit your senior.
Photos. Frame a joyful family photo from the past or present. Or put together a photo album or scrapbook full of pictures of family, friends, pets, vacations, special events—any images that might delight the senior in your life. Better yet—if your loved one enjoys scrapbooking, bring the supplies to the senior living community and spend time making the book together.
An outing to a favorite place. Escort your senior to favorite restaurant, a museum, a concert, or a movie. Part of the gift can be the promise to repeat the outing a few more times during the year. Mark the calendar!
Cozy bathrobes, slippers, and socks. Keeping warm can be a challenge for seniors, especially in the winter months. Choose a plush robe in a favorite color or pattern and look for slippers and socks with non-skid soles.
Games and toys. Choose favorite games or toys from the senior’s youth or when they were parenting young kids. Popular board games are Monopoly, Scrabble, Life (or even Candyland, for grandkids’ visits!). Jigsaw puzzles can be ongoing projects for seniors by themselves or for enlisting participation from friends and family.
Grab-bag basket. Fill a pretty basket with a variety of useful and fun items. This way you’re giving a big gift that holds many different surprises. Basket fillers include playing cards, boxes of favorite teas, gourmet snacks, personal toiletry items, yarn and knitting patterns, a small potted indoor plant—the ideas are endless. Again, keep in mind the preferences and abilities of your senior.