12 Gift Giving Ideas for the Elderly

You may be seeing a LOT of gift giving guides this holiday season and this one is different. As an Occupational Therapist I’ve done the research to show you devices, services and gadgets to make a real difference in your loved ones lives.


According to Capitol Care Health Nearly 90% of adults over age 50—across all age, race, income, and health status categories—want to remain at home and “age in place.” But the truth is, many haven't taken the steps, or don't know how to take the steps to do that.



This holiday season, help make the dream to Age in Place a reality one gift at a time.


For the Older Adult Who “Has Everything.”

These suggestions can help you provide a gift that is helpful and off the traditional Gift Giving Guide.


1) No Hands Sneakers

Hands free, rubber traction, variable designs, removable and washable insoles, breathable knit, adjustable laces to fit every time, no matter what?! Shoes like these have it ALL.


2) Under the Bed Lighting


Adding LED lights under the bed, or along the stairs case can increase lighting without blinding your loved one, or requiring and electrician. You can get LED strips and put them under the bed frame, or you can use cord management systems to tack them along the wall. This can light the way to the bathroom, or light the stairs when they go down for a late night snack.



3) Walker Tray / Walker Bag

If you have someone who uses a walker, you know how hard it is for them to carry items. Especially if they are not lucky enough to have the Cadillac of walker, the Rollator. You can purchase walker accessories which allow someone to carry a glass of water, the remote, keys, and even food!


4) Sunrise Clock

Maybe your loved one complains of not being able to sleep well, or can’t stay asleep. Often sleep wake cycles change as we age, especially in retirements when schedules are less grueling or strict. Having a clock that simulates the sun rise/sunset can reset our systems and allow our loved ones, or ourselves, to get a better night rest!


For the Person Who Has “Always Done it This Way”

Convincing someone to change their habits is not easy, and often unproductive. Instead, we can find more success, and buy-in when we present new items as innovative and creative.


1) Hands Free Can Opener

Not your average can opener, this one sits on top of the can. This reduces clutter, fits in drawers, and because of it size and effectiveness, its bound to become your favorite gadget.


2) Vegetable Chopper

This thing does it all.

It is easy for people with arthritis to use larger muscles and less finger strength reducing pain and fatigue during cooking. It reduces clean up by catching all the vegetables in the same container. It saves you time since you can cut and entire onion in a single motions. AND, if you have a dog, it cuts up the fresh dog food into bite sized pieces (you know the refrigerated ones that come in a tube?)


3) Amazon Alexa paired with Smart Plugs

With these two together, your loved one no longer need to “clap on, clap off” for the lights; they can just command Alexa to do it. With a simple command like “Alexa, turn on the fan” these plugs allow your loved one to navigate their home with increased ease.


4) Box Set of their Favorite TV show

Who doesn’t like to binge watch their favorite show? For many of our older adults they are not using video streaming devices as like the younger generations do, but that doesn’t mean they cat watch their favorite shows in the same way. Ask them about Hogan’s Heroes, The Wild Wild West, or get I Love Lucy on a box set. It's also a great way to reminisce with a loved one, and get to know them.


For the Older Adult Who Doesn’t “Need Anything.”

Get them a gift that lets them experience more life and less responsibility. That’s what retirement is all about right?!


1) Cleaning services:


A lot of adults CAN clean, but why SHOULD they? While many adults don’t always want someone in their house, they may also be struggling with the time, or the energy to clean properly. A lot of services have packages, or specials that can match ANY of your needs/desires.


2) Professional Organizer

As we age, we accumulate a LOT of memories and mementos which we do not want to give up. There is little reason to get rid of it all, but many reasons to have someone ORGANIZE it all. Getting your loved one a session (or two) with a local Professional Organizer can help them locate items they may not have seen for some time, while also clearing walkways and creating systems customized to your loved one.


3) Prescription Mail Order Services

There are many options to help meet your loved ones desires. You can have packets of your prescriptions mailed that are already divided out by the dose, by the day. Or you can set up the prescriptions to be mailed, in bulk, to the home through insurance or other services. This minimizes the need to leave the house especially with impending bad weather for the northern hemispheres.


4) Home Safety Assessment

Did you know that there are professionals who can help you or your loved one anticipate safety concerns that could impede their ability to age in place? They can also ensure that your loved one is thinking about how their conditions may impact their successful aging process so they can be proactive within a budget. Occupational therapists don’t always needs a script to perform a home safety assessment and provide recommendations. And if your state requires a script for them to provide this service, the OT can often obtain it FOR you to reduce your hassle. Check out Medicare Home Therapy to find a provider near you.



Giving a gift should be personal, useful, touching, or a combo of all three!


These links go directly to amazon for ease of purchase, and I hope you will let me know if you have any additional items to add.






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