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Gift Ideas for Seniors: Top 10 Holiday Requests Seniors Likely Want But Won’t Ask For

Senior Gift Ideas

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September 27, 2012

What do you get Grandma this year? A new blanket . . . again? How about a pair of slippers? While those gifts could satisfy the needs or desires of a senior loved one, why not choose a present that is even more meaningful: a gift from the heart. While you may not be able to add the following 10 gift ideas to a shopping list, you can bet they’re on your loved one’s wish list.

  1. Take your loved one shopping. Whether a trip to the mall or an online shopping spree, make it a special day. Be sure to tune into your loved one’s limitations and don’t overdo.
  2. Lend a hand.  Carry on the holiday cooking traditions, asking your senior loved one to help where he or she can. Or, ask everyone to bring a favorite dish.
  3. Wrap and send packages. Arthritis can make wrapping those holiday presents a challenge. Schedule a gift-wrapping afternoon, complete with hot chocolate, cookies and plenty of family stories.
  4. Deck the halls. Bending, lifting and reaching to get those holiday decorations in place isn’t always possible for an older adult. Enlist the help of the grandkids and make decorating a fun multi-generational activity.
  5. Send holiday greetings. Offer to spend an afternoon helping your loved one address and send holiday cards, either by mail or as online photo greetings.
  6. Plan a fun event. Get a group of your senior loved one’s friends together to serenade other older adults in an assisted living facility or nursing home.
  7. Celebrate the reason for the season. Attend a religious program with your senior loved one. Be flexible with service times if necessary.
  8. Focus on others. Get your senior loved one and the entire family involved in gathering supplies for a homeless shelter or serving a holiday meal.
  9. Stay connected. Help an older adult connect with loved ones far away, whether over the phone or through a video-calling service like Skype.

Give the gift of time. Sometimes all an older adult wants is companionship. Show that you care by making room in your schedule to spend time together.


Holiday Activity Calendar
Use this calendar for festive activity suggestions that you and your senior loved ones can enjoy together throughout the holiday season.
Download Holiday Activity Calendar (PDF 349k)

Holiday Elf Certificate
Customize this gift certificate to give the seniors in your life what they really want – meaningful time spent with you. Personalize your gift offering with one of the provided activity suggestions or come up with one of your own.
Download Holiday Elf Certificate (PDF 602k)

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. November 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Posted by Daryl Healy

    You are right on target. My Mom loved spending time with her family. She always remarked that her best times were with family. We would tire her out, but she said it was a good tired!

    Reply

  2. October 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Posted by Barbara Papitto

    For the past few years, I have done the Christmas shopping for my sister-in-law, who has Alzheimer's. It is important to keep the gifts small and just a thought. Remember, most elderly came from the era where small gifts were exchanged. The family knows I do the shopping, so one by one, they go up to Auntie and show her what she gave them. She is so proud to have a gift for everyone under the tree!

    Reply

  3. October 12, 2012 at 4:53 am | Posted by Eleanor Ballenger

    I am the senior. 79 years old and had Mrsa last Jan,Feb and March. Gone for 67 days to hospital,rehab hospital and nuring home and therapy to learn to eat , talk and walk again. My husband is 80 and we have been married for 58 years. I appreciate reading things you have in your emails. It helps me. We have 1 son who is wonderful to us. He checks on us before going to work. We want to stay on our home as long as we can. Some days it is hard.THANKS!!! again!!!! Eleanor Ballenger

    Reply

  4. October 12, 2012 at 12:08 am | Posted by Judy

    I can hardly wait to share this with my family members in Houston who care day to day for my mother who has dementia. Thanks!

    Reply

  5. October 11, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Posted by Helen Garrison

    Reverend's speech has always been his peak skill and that is coming along well. Walking is a struggle, but he works hard at it at least twice a day. He has had amazing health care in Durham, NC Thanks for any tips you may have about home health care and navigating narrow hallways in a wheel chair. Thanks, Helen

    Reply

  6. October 11, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Posted by Helen Garrison

    My husband (73) is recovering from a killer stroke (which did not kill him) . It happened Feb. 9. We hope he will be home for Christmas, but we don't know yet. Thanks for your tips.

    Reply

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