Ever struggled to find the right birthday or holiday gift for your senior loved ones? Why not consider toys for seniors? While it may not be second nature to associate toys as gifts for the elderly just yet, we could be very close to it as their popularity increases. The current senior toy marketplace contains products that range in utility from providing companionship, to increasing cognitive skills, to facilitating communication. Here are some categories of elder toys that could improve your senior loved one’s quality of life.
Lifelike Electronic Pets for Seniors
Hasbro has recently come out with a line of electronic toys called Joy for All Companion Pets, which offer the benefits of actual companion pets without the physical or financial demands. These toys for senior citizens, currently just cats, sound and feel just like the real thing. There is an initial cost, but after that the hassles that some seniors can experience caring for real pets — long walks, cleaning up waste and veterinary care — are all eliminated.
PARO is another example of an increasingly popular robotic toy that resembles a pet. While more common in the U.S. in hospital settings as a therapeutic tool, this baby seal has artificial intelligence that allows it to learn some behaviors such as how to respond to its name and how to behave in order to “earn” stroking from its owner. These lifelike pets can contribute of the overall well-being of their owners.
Sensory Toys for Memory Loss
Another wonderful option for seniors are sensory toys. Meant to facilitate active engagement by its users, these are especially great toys for adults with dementia. If there is a particular struggle that a senior adult is facing, companies like the Sensory Toy Warehouse have a solution.
For instance, an adult having difficulty with memory loss may benefit from a talking photo album, where they can hear your pre-recorded description of the picture they are viewing. If a calming environment is needed, light-up toys like fiberoptic lights or a kaleidoscope lamp may be beneficial toys that create a distraction during a stressful situation. If toys for adults with Alzheimer’s are needed, an option to consider are tambourines or a percussion drum set, as music provides a soothing sensation to most people.
Board Games and Party Games for Seniors
Last but not least in the toys for the elderly category are those that encourage communication and interaction with others. These don’t necessarily have to be games created entirely for elder adults but can be senior versions of games we all know and love like Monopoly, Scrabble, or the UnGame. By simply adding larger print to beloved games, they suddenly become playable again. This can be a wonderful thing for members of the Sandwich Generation who would love to see more quality time spent between their children and parents.
While hoverboards may be the trendy toy you’re picking up for the kids this year, it’s probably not the sort of toy most seniors will be able to use and enjoy. That’s not to say there aren’t some really cool age appropriate toys for older adults! As you’re gift-giving, don’t forget that toys are wonderful for kids aged five to one hundred and older!
Have you purchased any of these toys for seniors? How were they received by older loved ones? Are there any great toys for seniors we may have missed on our list? Let us know in the comments below!