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Gift Ideas for Senior Citizens

Posted Dec 11 2009 12:00am
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Shelly Webb
The Elder Care Support Group

It can be tough to come up with gift ideas for senior citizens in your life that aren’t the typical bathrobe and slippers. Here’s how to give a personal gift that will make an elderly person feel special while addressing the unique concerns of advanced age.

1. Gifts of the Mind

Because people live so much longer these days, it makes sense to help the elderly stay intellectually sharp. Crossword puzzle books are fun, but think beyond the typical gift ideas for senior citizens to find something that will really make a difference. Newspaper subscriptions are great for seniors who like politics and current events, and they even come with the typical crossword and Sudoku puzzles people seem compelled to give to everyone over the age of sixty.

Other gift ideas for seniors can combine a night on the town with an intellectually stimulating activity. Attending a cultural event like an opera or play will give the elderly person in your life something to talk about for a long time.

Whether your loved one is a nature lover or a city person, jigsaw puzzles help retain fine motor skills and may spark memories of travel. For the busybody and the gossip, mystery novels keep seniors actively working on piecing together clues.

2. Gifts of Comfort

The odds are pretty good that the senior in your life already has a blanket, robe, and pair of slippers. But there are some original gift ideas for senior citizens that are meant to address their daily comfort. Tea samplers usually come in beautiful, reusable wooden boxes and can be used to naturally treat minor ailments like sore throats and indigestion. Other gifts ideas for seniors might include a hot water bottle (a good one is hard to find), a foot bath, or even fancy lotions to heal dry skin.

The trick is to choose a gift that has healing properties but doesn’t seem clinical or impersonal. For example, a device that makes a hot, bubbling spa for your feet has a much different feel to it than shoe inserts, but both serve the same purpose of making your loved one’s feet feel cared for.

3. Gifts of Independence

More than anything, today’s seniors want to stay independent as long as possible. Some of the best gift ideas for seniors address this concern. A device called a button hook helps seniors with arthritis or poor eyesight button their own clothing so they don’t have to ask for help. A battery-powered jar opener is another item designed to make everyday living easier. Use what you know about your loved one’s unique needs to choose an independence-themed gift.

4. Gifts that Keep Giving

Any elderly person has lost friends and family along the way. One of the toughest things about aging is dealing with the loneliness that comes when friends and family seem to all go first. Any gift that keeps giving throughout the year can make a senior feel special on a regular basis.

There’s nothing like getting a package in the mail to brighten the day, and a subscription service will send one once a month on your behalf. Just about anything your loved one likes has some sort of subscription service, including gourmet coffee, gift baskets (see, romance novels, knitting items, flowers and chocolate.

Other perpetual gifts might be more practical in nature, like regular lawn care visits or a housecleaning service. Even arranging for a laundry service to come and pick up your elderly loved one’s clothes to be washed is both a huge help and a regular reminder that you care. Offering to run errands on a certain day each week can be very beneficial. It will not only help the senior who doesn’t drive but if you’re worried about one who does, this can take away a bit of their NEED to drive. It works especially well if given by a grandchild with the ability to drive as grandparents are very reluctant to disappoint their grandchildren.

But probably the best gift of all is your TIME. Elders are often alone and isolated and would appreciate visits by friends and family members at all times of the year.

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