Great Gift Ideas for Seniors

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Whenever my late grandmother was on the receiving end of a gift-giving event, her stock answer was “If I can’t eat it, I don’t want it.” That always made me chuckle. When I was younger, I thought it was odd someone would request food for a gift. Now that I’m older, I completely relate to that sentiment, notably since I’m not interested in receiving a gift that will likely collect dust on a shelf.

I’d much rather enjoy an experience, tempt my taste buds with interesting foods, or learn something new. I’m in the process of downsizing my belongings, not upsizing them, and in the coming few decades, the gifts I hope to receive, if any at all, lean toward the practical, anything infused with chocolate or something that requires the use of a passport.

Let’s face it. Most older people don’t want more stuff. They would much rather receive gifts that make their lives safer, easier and healthier. If you’re searching for an amazing gift for an older adult in your life, these gift ideas are thoughtful, helpful, and some may actually improve the quality of life for your friend or loved one.

Keepsake Gifts from The Heart
A custom-made photo album can showcase photos and memories from past events and experiences, giving your loved one an opportunity to reminisce. You can make the book fun to read by adding simple text or images to enjoy. Shutterfly, Snapfish and other services make this process easy and economical.

Does your loved one enjoy music? Consider making a collection of his or her favorite songs from days gone by. You can purchase a simple portable boombox online that will still play cassette tapes and CDs. You can even simplify the controls by putting bright stickers on the “play” and “stop” buttons. This is especially helpful for someone with dementia.

The Experience of a Lifetime
Many older adults would likely say they prefer experiences more than material gifts. This makes gift certificates the ideal present. Get one for a favorite restaurant. This can be enjoyed as a wonderful meal from you. Alternatively, if you live in the area, you could make a date out of it, doubling the fun!

Other gift certificate ideas include massages, pedicures, manicures or hair styling services. Some spas offer geriatric massage. Other ideas include certificates for ride services such as SilverRide.

With its door-through-door assisted ride service, your friend or loved one can enjoy an outing to a favorite museum, the library or a movie. A companion will take them to and from the location and accompany them throughout the activity.

Make Life Easier
Practical is always better when it comes to gifts for seniors. An electric toothbrush will make brushing easier as well as improve dental health plus reduce the strain on hands, wrists and arms. For those struggling with arthritis, an electric jar opener is a great idea. If sitting for prolonged periods of time is uncomfortable, the gift of a memory foam seat cushion will help alleviate the pain and reduce the risk of pressure sores.

Help with Staying on the Move
For some older adults, getting in and out of the car can be a challenge. An auto bar standing aid is a simple tool that helps seniors get in and out of a car with confidence and ease. Local stores that carry independent living aids designed for ease and continued mobility are a great resource. For older adults who need rides to appointments, errands or for visiting family and friends, an Uber or Lyft gift card is the perfect gift.

Staying Connected Through Technology
Seniors can enjoy the convenience of email, even if they don’t own or use a computer. For just $14 per month, the Celery two-way email system allows seniors to keep in touch with family and friends through email without a computer. The Amazon Echo Dot, third generation, is a great hands-free, voice-controlled device that can be used to play music, give the weather, report the news, tell a few jokes, check the sports scores, read audiobooks and even answer questions. If better speakers are needed, upgrade to the second-generation Amazon Echo, which also comes in many colors and finishes. The GrandPad tablet is the perfect tablet for seniors who want to video chat but may be intimidated by the complexity of other handheld devices. The simplicity of this tablet easily allows older adults to interact with family and friends all over the world.

However, perhaps the best gift we can give to our senior friends and loved ones is the gift of our time. Schedule a lunch date; go out for ice cream; spend time just chatting, reminiscing and laughing. You can’t put a price tag on such a gift! ■

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