Gifts for the Elderly

Discover Great Ideas for Gifts Older Adults Will Love

To make your shopping a little easier this holiday season, we've put together a list of fun and practical items for older adults. For your convenience, the gifts are organized by price, including some inexpensive ideas for crafters or kids to make.

Gifts $25 and less | Gifts $25 to $100 | Gifts $100 and up | Crafty Gifts You Can Make

Gifts $25 and less

GT_Hires Grandparent Talk uses a deck of question cards to stimulate social interaction and spontaneous discussion between grandparents and the youngsters who don't necessarily recognize the store of knowledge their grandparents hold (and often don't know how to ask the right questions to start a conversation with them). Grandparent Talk is the perfect door-opener to build a bridge between generations. Carefully chosen questions -- such as, "Have you ever faced a bully?" -- are displayed on the collection of cards in the game deck.

Another deck in this series is Family Talk, which encourages the kind of old-fashioned, around-the-kitchen-table banter families use to have in the evenings before TV, computers, and texting scattered the generations in different directions.

To order: Grandparent Talk & Family Talk

Cost: about $11

babymug offers a variety of practical gifts that you can design yourself and order quickly for the holidays. Upload some of your favorite digital photos or put your favorite faces on coffee mugs, photo magnets for the fridge door, or a photo key chain. How about a refrigerator magnet, a 5-by-7-inch brag book for Grandma, or a deck of playing cards featuring a photo of Grandpa's favorite pet?

To order: Shutterfly

Cost: $3 and up


Word games like Scrabble or Boggle are fun for all generations -- and they're great exercise for the brain. As in Boggle, players of Bananagrams make words, and as in Scrabble, they create crosswords. And they need to work as fast as they can, until someone yells, "Bananas!" No pencil, no paper, no bulky board required. Each Bananagrams game includes 144 letter tiles zipped into a bright yellow, banana-shaped bag that's easy to store and pull out when guests visit or the family gathers -- or to use at the kitchen table for a solo game with a cup of coffee on a rainy afternoon.

To order: Bananagrams

Cost: about $15


Stepping in and out of a slippery bathtub or shower -- or simply standing in one -- can be a challenge for older adults. Give the gift of some extra confidence: a 12-inch Bath Safety Grip that provides assistance for entering and exiting the shower or bathtub. This grab bar is sturdy and easily attaches to any smooth surface via strong suction cups on each end. This is a particularly handy gift for seniors who travel and want extra safety in an unfamiliar shower, such as when visiting the grandkids or staying in a hotel. The Bath Safety Grip is portable, lightweight, and easy to pack, and it can be used just about anywhere an extra grip is needed.

To order: Bath Safety Grip

Cost: about $10


The LifeBio Memory Journal is especially suited to an older person who enjoys writing. This lovely gift is a book of creative, memory-jogging questions about life, with sufficient space after each question to capture handwritten answers. It creates a wonderful opportunity for a grandparent to pass on stories and wisdom to the next few generations.

The journal asks more than 250 questions, such as, "How would you describe your mother to someone who has never met her?" Or "What skills did you inherit from your parents?" Other questions ask the writers to recall their favorite birthday party as a child, the neighborhood they grew up in, or a favorite subject when they were in high school. The resulting answers can be transferred to an online LifeBio journal and merged with scanned pictures to become a hardbound LifeBio book that can be copied multiple times and given to family members.

To order:

Cost: $19.95 for journal

artofagingcoverThe Art of Aging is a profusely illustrated book that provides a wealth of inspiration for older adults. Created by painter Alice Matzkin and her husband, sculptor Richard Matzkin, this touching book explores the experience of aging through art. In a series of projects that confront the artists' fears and curiosity about growing old, they examine physical changes, sensuality, relationships, spirituality, and their own aging parents -- and they do so with dignity and candor. Their uplifting conclusion: The elder years can be a time of ripening and harvest rather than inactivity and despair.

To order: The Art of Aging

Cost: about $17


Ideal for those with weak knees or backs or other physical challenges such as arthritis, or for those who use a cane and have difficulty getting in and out of an auto, the Handybar provides extra leverage and support when entering or leaving a vehicle. It works with many (if not most) autos, small trucks, vans, and SUVs. Small and easy to use, this device can be stored in an auto's door pocket.

The Handybar features a soft, nonslip handle with an insert on the end that fits into a vehicle's striker (a U-shaped device that's factory-attached inside the door well and is readily visible and available once the door is opened). A striker is designed to hold at least 2,500 pounds, which means it won't pop off if an overweight person uses the Handybar with it. With a built-in seat belt cutter and side window breaker, the Handybar is an equally useful tool in an emergency.

To order: Handybar

Cost: about $20

Gifts $25 to $100

sleepcutiesAn adorable, soft, robotic toy pet may be just the right gift for an older adult or a loved one suffering from dementia, especially if they can no longer take care of a pet or are living in an apartment or an assisted-living facility that doesn't allow animals. The WowWee Alive Sleeping Cuties are perfect to hold or cuddle up with for a nap. Each one has a movable head and "knows" when you pick it up. Pet one and it wakes up or makes soft, sleepy pet sounds; play with one, and it makes happy sounds.

To order: WowWee

Cost: $40 and up

flooramgnferAre you caring for someone who's an active reader or hobbyist -- who likes to, say, fine-stitch a needlepoint pillow or tie flies or collect stamps? Most likely, that person can use a little more brightness and magnification while indulging in such pastimes. If so, the Fulcrum 20072-401 Magnifier 12 LED Floor Lamp provides light, magnification, and adjustability.

With 12 high-powered but cool LEDs, this floor lamp provides ample light for close work and reading. The ultra-flexible gooseneck brings the light exactly where it's needed and to the right angle for viewing. The extra-large lens easily covers an entire page without glare or hot spots. And unlike that magnifier hidden away in a drawer, this one won't be hard to find when it's needed most.

To order: Fulcrum 20072-401 Magnifier 12 LED Floor Lamp

Cost: about $80

Gifts $100 and up


For the older adult who wants to clear snow but whose back or arm strength isn't up to it anymore, the lightweight, electric Power Shovel could be an excellent alternative. This small machine tackles snow up to 6 inches deep on any hard surface, such as patios, decks, driveways, walkways, or front steps. It's also great for those lighter snowfalls, when a snow removal service doesn't cover the job.

The lightweight Power Shovel weighs 13 pounds and is easy to maneuver and use. Because it doesn't require gas or oil, it's also maintenance free. Just plug it in and it's ready to go. When not in use, its compact size makes it easy to store.

To order: Toro

Cost: $100


Whether the person you're thinking about drinks just a single daily cup of java (or tea or cocoa) or simply likes a fresh brew with each cup, Keurig's one-cup brewers, which come with a selection of gourmet coffees, make ideal gifts. The basic Mini Brewing System brews a single cup with no guesswork or leftover water. The Elite Brewing System, which comes with a 48-ounce water reservoir, offers an automatic "off" feature that can prove useful for forgetful older adults. Compact and easy to use, these brewers make good sense for a small home kitchen or in an assisted-living environment (not to mention in an RV).

To order: Keurig

Cost: $125 and up

TV Ears

For someone whose hearing isn't what it used to be, the TV Ears portable listening system can make an audible difference. This wireless headset system enhances the sounds and voices from TV (it works with the latest plasma and LCD flat screens), and it's flexible enough to be used as a wired headset for an iPod, computer, or other music and electronic device.

The TV Ears Professional model clarifies television dialog; it also has an automatic Commercial Control that caps loud commercials so the listener doesn't get an unexpected blast of volume. In addition, it amplifies cell phones, home phones, and even voices during one-on-one conversations.

To order: TV Ears

Cost: $220


Pushing a vacuum cleaner may no longer be an option for the person you're buying for, especially if he or she has mobility issues. The Roomba, a robotic vacuum, can clean two rooms on one battery charge. To begin the job, just press the start button, take a seat, and watch the action. The Roomba will "learn" a room and its floors, remembering where furniture and walls are located and what to avoid, such as stairs. When this flying saucer-like device completes its job or is in need of recharging, it finds its way back to the charging station and docks itself.

The Roomba works well on wood and low-nap rugs and for cleaning up pet hairs and dander. There's also a model that washes the floor (the Scooba) and a heavy-duty Dirt Dog that will tackle the garage or cellar work area.

To order: iRobot

Cost: $350 and up, depending on the model

Crafty Gifts You Can Make

For their grandparents, kids can create a colorful coupon book decorated with their favorite digital pictures. What to include? How about unique services they can provide for a grandparent, such as several car washes (always appreciated by an older driver) or perhaps two hours of yard- or housework (raking leaves in the fall, shoveling snow in the winter, or washing windows at any time of year). Other coupon items might include climbing a ladder to change light bulbs, installing new smoke alarm batteries, or dogsitting when the grandparents are on a trip. Other fun coupons could include an all-day activity with a grandparent, such as a day of fishing, a trip to the shopping mall (including lunch), or a day at the county fair. Lots of templates and ideas are available from Kodak.

A year's worth of gifts come in the form of a homemade calendar. Include such special dates as birthdays and anniversaries along with holidays that the family celebrates. Then add digital pictures that depict activities from different seasons or family events. Free templates can be printed from Printable Calendar.

Older adults aren't always enamored of having to cook, so a gift of homemade food can be a special treat. Maybe it's a tin of your best fudge or a granddaughter's cookies. Try decorating a wicker basket and filling it with some favorite snacks. Find hundreds of free recipes for every course, including holiday cookies, fudge, or other favorite foods, at Free CookingRecipes.

Are you someone who likes to sew? With scraps of cloth you have left over from a project, plus a sewing machine, you can create sewn gifts ranging from a cheery pot holder to a new set of placemats or a colorful shopping bag. There are lots of free projects, ideas, and patterns, from beginner through advanced levels, at

Holiday gift giving can be especially challenging if you're caring for someone in an assisted-living environment, where personal storage space is a luxury. What follow are some inexpensive gift ideas for someone living in more confined quarters:

  • Framed piece of a grandchild's artwork

  • Knitted hat, gloves, and scarf

  • Teacup with box of herbal tea

  • Memory book of special photos

  • Small bottle of real maple syrup

  • Pens, assorted greeting cards, postal cards, stationery, and stamps

  • Desk-quality address book or guest book

  • Shower tote filled with bath gels and moisturizers

  • Decorative napkins and small matching plates

  • Assortment of current magazines tied together with a colorful ribbon

  • Jigsaw puzzle (500 pieces or more)

  • Low-vision, large-print deck of cards

  • Blank journal

  • Pencil box with pens, paper clips, and colorful post-it notes

  • Decorative glass jar filled with old-fashioned penny candy

  • Scented soap-on-a-rope and a flannel nightshirt

  • Prepaid long-distance phone cards

  • Desk clock with big numbers

  • Decorated box for keepsakes

  • Desktop Christmas tree

  • Sewing box with supplies

  • Colorful knitting or crocheting yarns

  • Flashlight for a nightstand

  • Handkerchiefs

  • Soft makeup brush and some face powder

  • Warm, colorful socks

2014 Senior Gifts: A Guide for Every Budget

6 months ago, said...

Don't forget the EMI Drive.

11 months ago, said...

A great gift idea for seniors living in South Florida, is a subscription service called "Visual Senior". A Visual Senior consultant will visit the senior with a laptop or smart device connecting the senior to their out-of-area family. Independent, college-educated consultants visit the senior twice a month. The consultants share photos provided by the senior's family and set-up video calls using Skype of FaceTime. The senior does not need any computer equipment or experience. Everything is brought to them during the visit (even the internet.) The best part is the senior is receiving regular visitors while their family gets peace of mind with updates from the consultant. Check them out:

11 months ago, said...

A product provide rich oxygen,O2 concentration can be 90+% per minute.

almost 2 years ago, said...

A great gift I've used that brings out nostaglic memories

almost 2 years ago, said...

Love the list! There are some practical and some fun ideas. Other ideas I have heard are: time with them (the best one, I think), Jitterbug (big-button cell phone), FotoDialer (connects into an existing landline and dials people by pressing a button next to the wallet-sized photo of the person/place you wish to call,, personalized calendar, etc. Time wins in my book.

over 2 years ago, said...

The best gift I got for my grandmother was an honorary doctoral degree. They appreciate it so much, it's a great way to recognize their accomplishments. You can order one by donating to an organization like LADC Institute in California, it will set you back less than $100 and makes an excellent gift for elderly people

over 2 years ago, said...

Modern gift for the elderly! If you want to treat an elderly man Android tablet which he could use (listen to Internet radio, read a book, read online news and general Internet use) I recommend: 1, Buy android tablet (version 4 +). In Israel, the price of the tablet about 300 shekels. 2. Install it shell program (launcher) adapted for the elderly. You can download it here: 3. Present tablet. I would be happy to answer questions:

about 3 years ago, said...

I did some searching for "things for old people" and found some great gifts for old people however,one of the best "things" you are able to give old people is your time. Cook some meals for them, come over and clean their bathroom, hang out, take them shopping...Spending quality time with seniors is paramount.

almost 4 years ago, said...

My 91 year old sister in law lives by her self and often says she doesn't have a card to send someone, So I think the cards and stamps is a nice idea.