Gift Ideas

Finding the perfect gift for an older loved one can be challenging. They may have all the “stuff” they want or need or they may have downsized or live in a senior living community and have limited space. Here are some suggestions to help improve the health, safety and/or comfort of someone you love as well as some ideas to warm their heart.

Gifts to Improve Memory & Cognitive Function:

  • Crossword Puzzle Books (word search, Sudoku)
  • Hand-held video games such as Solitaire, Bingo
  • Books on Tape or MP3 players (books can be downloaded from the local library for little to no cost)

Gifts for Safety:

  • Medication compartment boxes, boxes with reminder alarms, alarm watches.
  • Driver’s Safety Classes to find classes in your area. Many automobile insurance companies also have programs— check with agent
  • Installing door alarms for wanderers; available at RadioShack and Improvements Catalog
  • Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program (pay the enrollment fee) (800) 272-3900
  • Emergency Response Systems (Go on-line to find coupons for free installation and discounts)
  • Motion-activated lights for paths to the bathroom;
  • An electric tea kettle with automatic shut-off
  • Cell phone and air time

Gifts for Comfort and Sensory Stimulation:

Look in catalogs such as Easy Living, Gold Violin, or Solutions for ideas.

  • Pillows and throws in unusual textures, stuffed animals, and small sculptures
  • A new bathrobe
  • ‘Pillow pal’ for something to cuddle that also supports aching backs
  • Potpourri, flameless scented candles/tart warmers, and scented bath items—the lavender scent is calming for “sundowning”—spray-on pillowcase at bedtime or tuck a sachet in nightgown drawer or between linens
  • Music box, wind chimes, portable radio or TV, audiotapes, or an audio-clock
  • Shatter-resistant magnifying glass
  • Creative ceiling decorations for someone living in a small space such as kites, posters, or mobiles
  • Buckwheat neck pillow for when sitting in a wheelchair or geri-chair
  • Microwaveable heating pads
  • Wheelchair Accessories – backpacks, oxygen carriers, rim covers, brake extensions, trays, and seat cushions
  • RadioShack’s Clarity line of telephones designed for hearing enhancement
  • WeMontage – removable wallpaper

Gifts from the Heart — Gifts of Time (that cost little or no money):

  • Scrapbook
  • Creating a family memory video
  • Writing a memoir/personal history
  • Weeding their garden
  • Planting their flowers
  • Membership to the local science center, zoo, museum (and you taking them!)
  • Trips to the local library
  • Enrolling the person in the Library of Congress’ Recorded Books Program for those with impaired vision or fine-motor coordination/strength; or downloading MP3 audiobooks to an inexpensive MP3 player (available at Wal-Mart, Staples, Target, Kmart)
  • Through local library:; Some libraries carry audiobooks pre-loaded onto MP3 players
  • Compile family recipes into a book
  • Pre-addressed & stamped family birthday/anniversary cards with the date to mail it written on the envelope flap
  • Personalized Calendars with family photos and birthdates, other special anniversaries (Sam’s Club Photo, Costco,
  • Jar with decorated lid (or box) filled with pieces of paper, each with a memory involving the elder and you; open one each visit!
  • An IOU for a year’s worth of lawn care or 52 car washes
  • Personalized gifts, such as a deck of cards or jigsaw puzzles using their photo or a favorite grandchild or pet
  • Storage boxes in bright colors
  • Bird feeder (plus the IOU to keep it filled) would add some interest to their window, and include a book on bird watching or a book or pictures of birds
  • Storage boxes in bright colors

Note: some ideas taken from ALCA website