We’re back into that silly time of the year. It’s a time for family, gifts, and socialization. But, seniors are often surprisingly difficult to buy for. Many of them already have everything they may want or need. Others may have relatively few hobbies or limited mobility.
In this post, we’re highlighting a range of options that are perfect for seniors. Some of them are focused on specific needs or hobbies, while others are relevant to just about anyone.
Hobbies and Entertainment
Having hobbies and staying engaged is important for seniors. This can help with mental health and mood. Plus, it gives them something interesting to do.
But, as people age, their hobbies often change and some activities become less interesting or even impossible. As a result, you may need to get creative and think a little outside the box to find something that suits.
Adult coloring books have become immensely popular. They offer a great way for people to de-stress and no creative talent is required.
Some seniors will enjoy regular adult coloring books and there are plenty of those to choose from. But, adult coloring books typically have intricate and fiddly designs. This can be difficult for seniors, especially those who face eyesight or coordination challenges.
You can look for large print adult coloring books instead. The book below is one example of this (find it here) and uses similar patterns to other adult coloring books.
The book below is another example. The type of image is different here and may be more appealing to some people.
The trick is simply to look at the types of images and see if they would be suitable. If you’re shopping online, sites like Amazon often have a ‘look inside’ feature that offers an indication. If you’re looking in a physical store, you can flip through the book and decide that way.
The style of children’s coloring books also works well for seniors. Look for ones that aren’t related to the latest movies and trends.
Many seniors will already have a favorite magazine, making this an easy and effective gift choice.
Even if they don’t, you can often figure out magazines that may be interesting. One way is to consider what they currently enjoy and look for similar subscriptions.
You can also focus on hobbies. For example, people passionate about fishing may enjoy a magazine on the topic, the same is true for gardening. There are many different magazines out there, so you’re bound to find something that’s suitable.
This is something that you can buy or make yourself and is fine either way. The idea is to fill a basket with objects that relate to a hobby (or hobbies) the senior is passionate about.
For example, if your family member enjoys crafts, what about a basket centered around scrapbooking? There are countless related products out there and you might also include photos that they can use and kits to get them started.
Baskets like this work well as they’re so customizable. You get to choose what goes in them and make sure that it is a good fit for your family member.
The style also allows you to focus on small items, rather than one large gift. This is often much easier for shopping and for your budget as well.
There are also some very creative ideas and you don’t just have to focus on hobbies. For example, I found this one on Pinterest. It seems perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Options like this could easily be inexpensive while being fun to make and give as well.
Games and Puzzles
There are many games that work well for seniors, including those that have dementia. Some of these offer cognitive benefits as well, helping to improve memory and get people thinking.
We have a list of games for dementia suffers elsewhere on the site, which you can check out. Many of those games apply to other seniors too.
There are also other games you can look for. In most cases, you’ll want ones that people can play on their own and that are relatively easy to understand.
You might also turn to options like jigsaw puzzles. Some seniors will be able to do regular jigsaw puzzles, while others may need large piece ones.
Puzzle books also work well, such as word search, crossword or Sudoku books. The best choice will depend on the interests of your family member.
You could even take it a step further and focus on tablet apps. Many of these work well for seniors (you can find a list of them here). A basic tablet doesn’t have to be expensive either and many seniors find them enjoyable once they learn the basics.
Memories are a good direction to consider with gifts. Elderly people have a lifetime of memories, including many fond ones. Much of their past also won’t be recorded in any way. After all, the obsession with recording every moment is a more recent one.
Instead, seniors often have boxes of photographs, with little order and no real way to tie them together. There are gifts presents that can help in this area. Others can help in creating new memories or reinforcing them.
A memory journal offers a way for people to record their past. Most of them contain various prompts and spaces for memories and stories to be recorded.
One example is the journal from Life Bio (find it here). This is mostly designed for interviewing loved ones but still makes a powerful gift as well. The journal also ties in with the Life Bio site, making it easy to transfer the information to a computer at a later date.
There are also more basic options, designed to help people record life as it occurs. One example is the One Line a Day Journal (find it here), which is suitable for any age group. There are many similar options out there, including ones that focus on just one year (rather than five) and offer more space per day.
There are also many themed memory journals. For example, Memories for my Grandchild (find it here) is a keepsake book that can then be passed on at a later date.
This style is perfect for people who like to give to others. Recording the memories for someone else could increase the chance that the book will get used. Regardless of the style, there are many options for books like this. You could even just turn to regular journals.
We take more photographs these days than ever before. But, most of them are digital only.
As a result, many seniors don’t have that many physical photographs of their families. They’re unlikely to have any recent ones.
With this in mind, simply printing out photos can make a good gift. You could go a step further too, like giving a set of photo frames already filled with family photos.
Many printing stores and sites will allow you to create products from images too. This includes making calendars, memory books, and personalized items.
Gifts don’t always need to be sentimental. You can also focus on ones that help seniors in practical ways. These are particularly helpful if the senior has a need that you know they don’t meet themselves.
We’re including some examples below but you can probably think of many others yourself.
Medication management is so important for health. Poor approaches often send seniors to hospital. It’s also easy for seniors to miss a dose or take a double dose, especially with memory problems.
Pill organizers and medication management systems work well for keeping people on track with their medications. Many of them look good and are easy to use too. One example is below and you can see our full list here.
A headset is an amazing tool for seniors – one that we often overlook.
This can make it easier for seniors to hear what’s going on when they’re watching television. They can also turn the volume up and down, without affecting everyone else in the household. Headsets also decrease background noise, making television a more enjoyable experience.
This idea works exceptionally well when the senior is part of a larger household.
However, you will need to find a system that works for your TV. One option is TV Ears, which has a version for digital TVs and another for analog ones.
If you have a smart TV or are streaming through a device, a headset may be exceptionally easy to set up.
Headsets also work for other purposes, such as listening to music. They can also allow seniors to play games and watch movies on a tablet or a phone without disturbing the rest of the household.
A reacher, like the one below (find it here) is a simple tool but a powerful one. It makes picking up items much easier, especially if they are on the floor or out of reach.
Once again, the tool isn’t the first thing that you might think of for a gift. But, it does help promote independence, which is always appealing.
Gifts don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Many of us are on a budget or have large families. In many cases, the value of a gift isn’t what it cost but the thought that went into it. These options are all good approaches to take.
Isolation is a serious problem for seniors, especially those that live on their own. Seniors will often feel left out of family activities and may see their family much less often than they would like. This makes time a powerful gift.
Many people create gift certificates, invitations or something similar so that they have something physical that they can give. For example, you might create something that invites your elderly parent to dinner with you once a month, perhaps on a specific date.
Homemade gifts are a great way to save money and they can work very well. However, you do need to plan them. In particular, you want gifts that are going to be used, not just put away somewhere.
Food is always a good choice. Many people turn to Pinterest for ideas. Some examples include:
- Hot chocolate mixes
- Infused olive oil
- Prayer boxes
- Teacup candles
- Homemade soap
- Body scrubs
- Vanilla extract
- Any type of baking
- Homemade spice mixes
For seniors that live alone, cooked and frozen meals may be another example. Although these may seem boring, they make life so much easier and are often healthier than candy or baking.
There are many other examples as well. We recommend starting off with Pinterest. Seriously, many of the posters there offer amazing and powerful ideas. These are often unusual and many aren’t expensive at all.