What Gifts Should I Give to Seniors?

One question I am often asked by clients and friends is “What should I get for my senior loved one?” With Christmas and the holidays almost upon us, this question comes up even more often.

Communication

 Communication is the key to buying a gift for your parent or loved one. As a person ages, their interests and needs change as well, and understanding where your parent stands with regards to these changes is essential to getting a good gift for them.

If your loved one isn’t sure what they need, ask them questions about what they’re having trouble with around the house, and then tailor your gift to solve the problem for them. Elderly people are often more interested in having something practical that they can use every day rather than something that gets little use or that is only used on special occasions.

Hobbies

If your loved one has a hobby, think about getting them something that can allow them to continue enjoyment of that hobby, even if it’s in a limited or changed capacity. This could include a book on fishing or golf, adaptive sewing supplies, or cooking supplies.  

Adaptive Items

If your loved one has limited or reduced mobility, think about giving them something that makes moving around safer and easier for them. While not the most glamorous gift, something in this category could make a huge difference in the quality of life for someone who has trouble getting around. A gift in this category could include non-slip slippers, safety bars for the shower, or a commode over the toilet for safety.

Technology

A type of gift for seniors that has gained popularity in recent years is the tech gift, whether in the form of a tablet, smartphone, or computer. Most people are reluctant to buy a technological gift for a loved one because of concerns about whether the recipient will understand or use the gift. In the past this was a valid concern, but as the pace of technological innovation has accelerated, there have been more efforts by manufacturers to make technology more accessible to the elderly in the form of simplified apps and easy-to-read interfaces.

While an iPad or Android Tablet may work well for some technologically proficient seniors, the majority of seniors are unfamiliar with modern operating systems, and so these full-service tablets may be a case of information overload, in addition to being expensive. The AARP sells a tablet designed specifically for seniors called the RealPad that retails for less than $200.

Make sure that you talk to your loved one before you go ahead with a purchase like the RealPad. For some seniors technological gadgets are simply not a good option, while others may fail to see how such a device can benefit them. If you already own a tablet or similar device, let your loved one see how it works. Hands-on experience is usually the best way for someone to discover whether or not the device is right for them.