It can seem difficult to shop for the senior in your life, especially when you might not know what special issues they live with and what kinds of things they would really appreciate. We all know it’s the thought that counts, but let’s be honest – it feels a lot nicer when you know someone truly loves what you gave them, even if it barely cost a cent.
Let’s start with some inspiration from an expert – Maria Brownworth, VP of Community Outreach and Development at Amber Court Assisted Living Communities was asked, “Off-hand, can you think of a few things that the residents in assisted living love?” Her reply was so insightful:
“Nice towels and comfy clothes. The residents at Amber Court are usually a lot more active than they were before coming to one of our communities, so comfort becomes a lot more important. And pictures, actually… their days are often busy with activities and new friends, so they really like having “homier-decorated” rooms.” And, believe it or not, gift cards for food! We may have some of the best food services in the industry, but everyone loves to indulge in takeout and treats.”
Great advice, Maria! These are great ideas for all seniors! Let’s see if we can do it in style…
Whether it’s a collage or a single showpiece, the options here are endless. If you’re on a budget and you’re the creative type, look no further
than these DIY photo gift ideas. From accordion books to planters and more, anyone would love the love that goes into these easy but one-of-a-kind gifts.
Running a little short on time? Let your local pharmacy show you what they offer! The larger pharmacy chains often have in-house photo printing services, but you might be surprised by what photo gifts they offer. How about a photo blanket? There are plenty of sellers on Amazon that will let you upload your own photo(s) to make a soft, cozy blanket that’ll be both useful and treasured.
Looking for simple, fast and elegant? How about reusable photo tiles? You can get them from Shutterfly, Amazon, a lot of companies – but check out Mixtiles to see some options. Reusable/removable photo tiles are great because they stick right up, they look fabulous, and they can be taken down and repositioned without wall damage any time a fresh look is desired.
Comfort is key – and there’s a whole world of adaptive clothing that takes comfort to a new level. From tops that don’t require someone to reach for the sky to get it on to underwear that snaps instead of step-in… to many they seem like tiny details, but for someone with limited movement it’s a little lifesaver in the daily routine!
What’s changed is that adaptive clothing no longer “looks adaptive” – the fashion industry has embraced people with disabilities and physical circumstances that limit movement, resulting in a whole new era of stylish, comfortable clothing. Just how stylish? Check out this guide, 17 Best Adaptive Clothing Brands & Online Stores for All Needs, or do a simple search for adaptive clothing on Google, Amazon, etc.… but don’t forget the shoes! If you need somewhere to get your feet wet (yes, pun intended) in the adaptive fashion world, check out Silvert’s – they have everything from formal to fleece, shoes to shirts for every occasion.
Don’t forget safety… do those old, favorite slippers have non-slip bottoms? ‘Tis not the season for home injuries! In fact, check out our blog about home hazards if you’re the handy type and have the know-how to check a senior’s home for potential hazards. There’s no better gift than peace of mind!
The best gifts often aren’t the most expensive, but the most functional. For seniors, keeping medical information and documents organized and on-hand is critical. October is Organize Your Medical Information Month, but it’s really something that matters all year, at every age.
You can get started organizing in 5 easy steps, but once you’re done, store it in style with easily-accessible, stylish USB accessories like a bracelet, necklace or even cufflinks! In the event of an emergency, that pretty necklace or seemingly-simply bracelet could provide the fast, easy access to medical information needed to save a life. Just make sure the jewelry or accessory is a USB drive for storage, not just a wearable charging cable (although those can be handy, too!).
Self-care is critical, even for assisted living residents who are surrounded by friends and activities. That said, self-care is specific to every person; some may appreciate a good sleep mask that helps with insomnia. Some might like spa items for pampering, while for others, a self-care gift might be an electric shaver so that razors aren’t a daily inconvenience or danger. A cozy robe is always worthy of mention, but that could have gone into the clothing section.
Don’t forget those gift cards for takeout! Indulging is self-care!!! And with services like DoorDash and UberEATS, there have never been more options.
Little things like pill reminder stickers can be a lifesaver – literally. They’re inexpensive and come in scratch-off (like lottery tickets), reusable flip-button and more. Other wellness gifts can be digital, like a favorite game that keeps the mind sharp, or even an app like Calm for the gift of relaxation and mental decompression.
The best gifts have no price tag and can’t be exchanged, returned or even thrown out – your time! Are you tech savvy? Help the senior in your life set up their mobile device, tablet or other tech to be safe and customized for them! Check out our blog about Using Tech to Keep Seniors Connected and Healthy… with your help and the gift of your time, their mobile device can open a world of healthy habits and fresh, new friendships!
Are you handy around the house? Lend a hand and look around! Check out our blog about avoiding injuries at home and give your loved one the precious gift of a safety assessment. The blog explains, step-by-step, what to look out for and some of the most common culprits of home mishaps. What a budget-friendly gift that’s practical and priceless all year! If you find any problems, like a space heater that’s far too old to be safe, replacing it with a safer, more efficient one makes a great gift, too!
Gifts for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia and/or memory care issues:
If your loved one has cognitive care concerns, there are a few gift ideas that may be especially useful to you if you’re not familiar with these specific needs…
- Digital frame – load a digital frame with your loved one’s favorite pictures from a time in their life they treasure most. One frame, countless hours of happy memories over and over! Some let you upload new photos remotely, so you can continue surprising your loved one with new photos!
- Digital assistant or TV with digital assistant built-in – a digital assistant, like Google Home or Amazon Echo, can be a great way to help your senior loved one, especially with daily reminders for medication, phone calls, social activities and much, much more. Again, check out our blog about tech for seniors and you’ll be on your way to a gifting that improves quality of life all year!
- Over-ear headphones – earbuds can interfere with hearing aids, but over-ear headphones are great for private entertainment… especially if they plug in, as your loved one may have trouble with Bluetooth pairing. Sometimes memory care patients can be upset by overstimulation, like noisy crowds, and headphones can help then, too.
- Create a playlist of their favorite music – it may cost nothing (or close to it), but it means everything. As we see all the time in the Alcove, memory care patients are moved by music! Whether you put the playlist on a device they already have or on an old, inexpensive mp3 player, this gift idea is sure to be a winner. It also shows that you care enough about your loved one to find out which music is meaningful to them!
You can get the perfect gift for your senior loved one on any budget and in only a few minutes if you know what to look for! If it’s too late to ship specific items, a gift card is actually a great idea as it also gives the gift of independence – something that most seniors cherish.