How to Buy Gifts for Seniors or Older Loved Ones: A Holiday Gift Guide

Family at the holidays
December 6th, 2018

Looking for the perfect gift for older parents, grandparents, or other special seniors in your life?

Many of the latest gizmos and gadgets dominating holiday advertisements do not make most seniors’ wish lists.

“Be mindful about what works for the seniors within their abilities – not whether or not it’s a cool idea from a caregiver’s point of view or from a friend’s or family member’s point of view,” says Lisa Klima, founder and president of SeniorStore. “If you buy them a gadget, is it something they’re really going to use, or is it going to sit in a drawer? It’s really important to consider practicality.”

How we can do a better job of choosing gifts for seniors this holiday season?

Consider these five factors when buying a gift for a senior or older loved one this holiday season:

Mobility and Dexterity

Make sure it’s easy to use: Is this something that can be operated by someone who is losing some of their independence? Will it require them to use more energy than they have available? Be mindful of how much effort is required from the user—and how much effort you’re willing to put into helping them use it!

Seniors with limited mobility or manual dexterity probably won’t enjoy gifts that require them to move a lot (like an exercise bike desk or a walking tour) or require a lot of hands-on work (like a pottery class or jigsaw puzzle). If increased activity is part of their care goals, consult their physician for gift ideas that require the right amount of movement.

Visual Acuity and Impairment

Gifts that are easy to read and see are crucial for seniors with limited sight. Consider gifts such as large-face playing cards, large print books and games, and appliances or handheld games with larger-than-average screens and simple buttons.

Read more: Activities to Do with Older Loved Ones During the Holidays

Comfort with Technology

If cognitive impairment and “techno-phobia” aren’t issues, you’ve got many options. E-readers that enable users to adjust type size are practical and enjoyable gifts for the avid reader on your list. Digital picture frames with simple, easy-to-reach on/off buttons and preloaded with family photos are always nice. Apps also are great gifts for older men and women. Consider ones that enable them to enjoy their favorite hobbies in the digital realm, like photography, painting, calligraphy or crossword puzzles.

Independence and Safety

The best gift for seniors may be independence. Sometimes we worry about our parents and grandparents’ ability to live alone safely. Products like Lifeline’s medical alert systems support seniors’ independence with increased safety and peace of mind for the whole family.

Take these factors into account when making your holiday shopping list, and you’ll be sure to choose the best gift for older parents, seniors, and loved ones this holiday season.