It’s rare to get through a holiday season without having to find the perfect gift for at least a few loved ones. It can be a daunting task to find something personal, relevant, and budget friendly for each person on your list, especially when it comes to family.
Knowing someone for your whole life seems like it should make buying them a gift an easier task, but unfortunately, the opposite is often true. Seniors have spent their time collecting items and experiences, tailoring their hobby supplies, and throwing out non-essentials—what could be left to gift to them?
The longer you know someone, the harder it can be to nail the perfect present. Sometimes you run out of inspiration after a few occasions and other times, your recipient is pigeon-holed into always receiving the same gifts. Whatever the reason, creativity can be hard to come by during the holiday season.
Here is a list of unique, useful, and downright indulgent gifts. There’s something for every senior and every budget on this list!
Gifts for Older Parents Who Have Everything
Most people have family members like this—they’ve been filling out their art collections and amassing trinkets their whole life. Anything they might want, they buy for themselves before you have a chance to give it to them. While gift receipts seem like a necessity for this group, consider the following gifts that eliminate the need.
- Something Personalized: Your parents (or grandparents) may seem like they have everything, but putting a personal spin on everyday objects can make them cherished items. Consider painting pottery at a local studio, etching glass, or ordering a custom calendar featuring photos of family, friends, and pets.
- Subscription Boxes: Boxes are a great way to ensure unique, cultivated gifts without having to do the cultivating yourself. Once a month, your loved one will receive a package in the mail with a collection of items—what’s in the box depends on what type of box you choose. Getting a package can be the bright spot in a person’s month, especially knowing there are exciting goodies inside!
- Memory Journals: Memory books offer the opportunity to create a keepsake to pass down for generations. The books contain a series of writing prompts designed to elicit story time and personal details about a person’s life. By recording details, not only is the writer passing on stories that might otherwise get lost, they’re forming important connections with their past and staying mentally flexible.
- Experiences: Life after retirement can be full of adventure and freedom, but it can also be boring. Getting out of the house is often hard for many seniors due to mobility issues or even serious mental illnesses, so providing planned outings with family or friends can be a true joy. Consider meals with family or a scenic train ride through the local countryside as a way to enjoy time with aging loved ones.
Gifts for Encouraging Healthy Senior Living
Aging adds a challenge to staying physically active, eating well, and maintaining a healthy social life. It can be concerning to watch a loved one fall into unhealthy habits or depression. Help lighten their load by providing them with functional gifts to maintain their autonomy and make healthy lifestyle choices accessible.
- Ergonomic Kitchen Gadgets: As seniors age, they often experience arthritis or other mobility-limiting factors. Reduced ambulation in the joints of the hand and wrist can make peeling, chopping, and mixing food a painful or impossible task. To encourage healthy food preparation and more engagement in the kitchen, consider ergonomic gadgets and utensils designed to make tasks easier.
- Gift Certificates or Food Delivery: Malnutrition is a serious problem for many seniors. Whether it’s due to tight finances, inability to get to the grocery store, or restrictions in their ability to prep food, many seniors don’t get all the nutrients they need. Providing a weekly food delivery service or gift certificates to their favorite restaurants or stores can alleviate some of the food-based burden on seniors.
- Light Therapy Lamps: If the seniors in your life struggle with depressive symptoms or limited mobility, gifting a light therapy lamp may help manage some of their symptoms. Seniors who don’t get out of the house as often may be at a higher risk for seasonal affective disorder as they don’t get as much sunlight. Therapy lamps simulate sunlight and help to regulate circadian rhythms and the production of certain hormones.
- Enrollment in a Class: Learning something new (or honing old skills) can be fun at any age, and research shows that seniors continuing to participate in education as they age experience increased cognitive function. Classes don’t need to be strictly academic—look for craft classes, dance lessons, or book clubs to gift to your loved ones.
Gifts for Seniors When You’re Ready to Splurge
Spoiling people can be one of the best parts of the holidays. There are few experiences more rewarding than seeing someone’s face light up when they receive a perfect (or generous) gift. Oftentimes, seniors you’re close to have contributed significantly to your upbringing or opportunities you’ve had in life. If you’re in a comfortable financial situation, you may be prepared to give a luxurious gift to return the favor.
- Helpful Technology: It seems like there’s an app for everything these days, and there’s no shortage for seniors either. Consider a technological gift to help your aging loved ones manage their prescription routines, stay physically active, or keep track of important information. You can also upgrade parts of their home to make staying independent a little easier.
- High-End Hobbies: Your loved one may have plenty of established hobbies, but there may be something that they haven’t gotten into because of financial obstacles. Bowling is a great activity that allows people to go at their own pace and make considerations for their body. Consider paying for your loved one to join a bowling league, and if they really enjoy it, you can get them a personalized ball and shoes. For something a little more unique, consider obscure hobbies like gold prospecting for staying active or computerized embroidery for creativity.
- Snowbird’s Getaway: If your parents or grandparents live in a particularly wintery place, a little sunshine may be just what they need. Consider gifting travel to your seniors. Look for somewhere bright and beautiful with walking paths, swimming opportunities, and other senior-friendly activities. Don’t limit yourself to sun and fun, though! If they are a history buff or an art lover, consider destinations tailored to their interests.
Get to Shopping!
Now that you have the perfect idea, all that’s left to do is make the purchase! With any luck, you’ve got a few ideas to get you through Christmas and a birthday or two as well. You’re sure to make your loved ones happy on Christmas morning with any of these ideas.
Author Bio: Brooke Faulkner is a writer and senior care advocate in Portland, Oregon. When not writing, she can usually be found trying to tire out her grandmother’s dog in the local dog park. Follow her on Twitter @faulknercreek.