gift ideas for aging adults

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Seniors

The last few shopping days are here and you’ve found yourself stuck thinking about what to give that special elder in your life. Here are some different and thoughtful holiday gift ideas for seniors that won’t clutter the house or require  an  engineering degree to assemble. 

Thoughtful Gift Ideas for the 80+ Adult

by Linda Fodrini-Johnson, MA, MFT, CMC — Aging Life Care Association™ Member and Fellow of the Leadership Academy

Many older adults say they really don’t need anything, but you feel you should give them a gift. What should it be?   Mom and Dad have the sweater you gave them last Christmas still hanging in the closet with the tags on…they say they want to save it for a special occasion.

Here are some gift ideas for seniors that are just a little bit different:

1. Pre-plant a large pot with spring blooming bulbs and help them place it where it will get the rain it needs now and necessary sun in the spring.

2. Buy tickets to an afternoon concert in a small, easy-to-access venue (a local college or church). Include a gift card for lunch at a favorite spot.

3. Make a scrapbook of pictures of you and your siblings as children over the years and add comments of “gratitude” on the pages about your memories of that day or event. What you remember might be different than what your parent remembered.

4. Give an iPod programmed with music from the time your parents were young adults. Include a good pair of headphones (not earbuds) and teach them how to use it.  This is also a great gift for those with dementia. If your loved one resides in a living facility or at home with caregivers, teach the caregivers and aides how to use the iPod and ask that they have music time once a day.

It is important to realize and understand that an aging adult’s inability to reciprocate gift giving often makes them feel “bad.” You being creative and sensitive to those seniors who express not wanting gifts shows respect, not lack of love.

About the author:  Linda Fodrini-Johnson, MA, MFT, CMC, is the Founder and President of Eldercare Services in Walnut Creek, CA. She is also a partner of the VillagePlan. Linda is a Fellow of the Leadership Academy and a past-president of the Aging Life Care Association™. Linda has more than 30 years experience working as a Care Manager. You can reach her at, or connect with her via social media: FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

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