Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means the hustle and bustle of the December holidays is here. Finding just the right gift for loved ones of any age can often be a challenge. Gift-giving can be extra-challenging when buying for seniors who have downsized to Independent Living apartments and for seniors in Assisted Living residences – they may have limited space and no need for “more stuff.”
A thoughtful, meaningful gift that says “I picked this out just for you” is always appreciated. Feeling included at the holidays does not mean big wrapped packages at Hanukkah or on Christmas morning. This holiday season, consider small sentimental gifts or experiences.
Ideas for Seniors Living Independently or with Some Assistance
- A gift certificate for a massage or pedicure – or make it a “date” and go to the spa together.
- Meal deliveries – either meal kits for people who still enjoy cooking, or dropping off a favorite dinner you made for them, or signing them up for a prepared-meal delivery service. Homemade cookies are always a big hit!
- Offer to digitize their boxes of photos.
- Organize a family lunch or dinner outing, or a trip to the mall for a short shopping excursion, or an evening ride or stroll through the neighborhood to see the holiday décor.
- Offer to chauffeur them to and from a special holiday religious service.
- A tracking device for keys or other small items that sometimes go missing.
- Practical presents like a large-face clock, talking watch, large-button phone, long shoehorn, magnifying glass, or large-print playing cards.
- A number of small gifts that are individually wrapped and placed in a stocking or basket may be more fun for your loved one than opening a single gift. Fill it with items like socks, lip balm, small packs of tissues, and hand sanitizer. Once you start, you will likely think of other fun additions.
- Paperback booklets of puzzles (word search, crossword, sudoku) and a pen/pencil.
Gift Ideas for Seniors with Alzheimer’s or Dementia
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, a gift to encourage reminiscing about fond memories or to encourage sensory stimulation, might give them the most enjoyment. Here are some ideas:
- Scents can trigger happy memories. Investigate to find out which special perfume, cologne, or after-shave lotion was their favorite. Choose a small bottle with an easy-to-open flip top. Sweet-smelling soaps and lotions also capture the aroma of favorite scents and can help create a soothing environment.
- New cozy nonslip socks, slippers, or lap blankets are always welcome. For those with dementia, a “fidget blanket” may be a welcome present.
- A box of family pictures or old greeting cards can provide hours of reminiscing. Or create a scrapbook, photo book, or framed picture for their nightstand.
- Get a wreath for the door. (Be sure to check the community’s requirements relating to such decorations.)
- If their diet permits, consider treats like teas, jams, and of course homemade holiday cookies!
- Banners are great for doors and walls; people like to connect with their favorite sports team or a grandchild’s college insignia.
- Involve your loved one in holiday rituals to foster a sense of independence and comfort. Play festive music and watch a favorite holiday movie together, or if possible, take them out for a drive in the evening to see the neighborhood lights or to your home to be there while you bake cookies or trim your tree.
Whatever gift or experience you choose to share with your loved one, you are sure to bring a smile to their face – which may be the best present you get this season!