Elderly relatives are one of the hardest groups to buy great gifts for - especially if the senior person is infirm, bedridden or a nursing home resident. Thanks to my ageing stepfather, I have a list of fabulous presents they are sure to love whatever their age or situation.
Check out my top gifts for elderly relatives!
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My 88 year old step dad has been bed bound for over a year. As you can imagine, gift buying has been somewhat challenging. But we had some wins that he loves and I wanted to share.
The gifts are a mix of the practical and the fun.
I think these gifts would work just as well for nursing home residents or seniors with dementia.
If you have a little time before gift giving, then I recommend you think about making a collection of photographs of the persons life and having them made into a book. These make great gifts for special birthdays but work well anytime.
Backstory! We made a photo book for Bill to celebrate his 70th birthday. If was filled with photographs of his life, family, special memories. Of course, he loved it!
A few years later he had an extended stay in hospital. He was treated well, but it was obvious the staff saw him as just another old man - and not the person he was. So we took in his photo book and left it on his bedside table.
It changed everything! Honestly I am teary just thinking about it. When it caught the staff's eye they usually stopped and looked through it. It made Bill REAL to them. They asked him questions. "Where was this taken?" Oh, were you a pianist Bill? Is that your brother, he looks like you!" They TALKED to him and saw him as someone with a history, a family, a life.
It might not have changed his physical care any, but it certainly changed the quality of his interactions. I totally recommend everyone have one of these books for their ageing relatives. I can see this working well in a nursing home too! They are an amazing conversation starter.
First you need to collect together your material. You can use old photographs (scan them or just snap a photo of them on your phone so you have a digital version. And add other memorabilia you have. Think old handwritten recipes, letters, photos of any collections or hobbies. Whatever is likely to bring a smile.
You can then either add them to a photo album or have them turned into a book. I find photo albums can be a little bulky and hard to manage if your relative is frail.
There are several companies that will turn the photos into a book for you.
If the occasion is a specific birthday, then please take a look at my 'Reasons we love you' posters. These make lovely gifts for elderly parents. You can either use them as an alternative to a guest book at a party - or pass them around the family for everyone to fill in a heart with a memory or love message.
Guest Book Posters
Once framed they make a wonderful gift - something to really make the elderly person feel loved and appreciated.
They are available as downloads that you arrange to print yourself from my Etsy store.
Or shop on Zazzle for a printed version. Be sure to change to your country in the top right before you order!
Elderly and infirm people like Bill really feel the cold! If they are bedridden in particular it is often hard to ease them into an extra top or jacket when they need one. Throws and blankets are good but don't keep the arms warm if they are busy with something.
These fleece blankets with sleeves are just the ticket. The elderly person can pull them on and stay warm even when they are using their arms.
Amazon sells lots of different variations of them. I like the ones that fasten at the back of the neck to keep them secure. They are perfect for in bed and sitting in a chair. Ours is huge - it covers the (single) bed and would work really well wrapped around an elderly person in a chair.
Most elderly people, unless they are very dexterous, need large pieces to handle with any jigsaw and a smaller amount of pieces. There are some jigsaw puzzles designed especially for Alzheimer and Dementia sufferers that would make a very nice gift.
But! My favorite way to gift a jigsaw, is to have one made with a personal photograph or photo collage. That way the puzzle will spark happy memories as they build it and give them a talking point.
You could use a picture of your parents or relative on vacation. Or mix of family members in a collage. Or how about that treasured wedding day photo?
There are several companies that will make a personalized jigsaw for you, but it is harder to find ones that will make large pieces. Here are a couple of companies to try:
Ravensburger - These are perfect for Alzheimer patients. 24 large pieces in a 80 x 60 cm puzzle. Sadly, they don't seem to offer this service in the US - but they cover Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Just look for your country in the top right hand corner.
PuzzlesPrint - Delivery is mostly worldwide. The puzzles are slightly smaller than Ravensburger but there is a lot of choice so you should find something to suit your relatives needs. Their bigger versions are 35 piece puzzle (27x40cm - 10.6x15.8 inches) and the 25 and 15 piece versions at 30x43cm - 11.8x16.9 inches.
Table are super useful if your elderly relative is not very mobile. Everything from eating, to reading to building up a jigsaw puzzle is easier with a table. Bill has 3 different types that we find useful for different situations.
I have linked to one of each on Amazon but shop around as there are several alternatives.
Bill has used his adjustable table for years. It was perfect when he was in a chair/wheelchair - and now fits over the bed. Our version is a larger one so is perfect for mealtimes. But the snack size version should work just as well.
I loved this so much I bought one for myself! The table is perfect in bed - but not so useful for wheelchairs. We love that the top is adjustable so it can easily support books.
I am not sure whether this one was more for Bill (the coffee drinker) or my Mum (the coffee maker!). But it is a great idea if your relative keeps letting their drink go cold - and then refusing to drink it!
There seems to be two versions. One comes with a plug. We decided that wasn't going to work for us as we didn't want another plugged in gadget on the bedside table.
The 2nd option is designed to be plugged into a laptop. At 88, Bill doesn't use one anymore!
An alternative solution was to plug it into a USB charging power pack. This got a green light from everyone! He can use the powerpack to power not just the cup warmer but also recharge his phone, kindle and bedside lamp himself. It added a lot of independence to his life, and is easily recharged overnight ready for the next day.
If you are looking for something from the grandkids, then I have DIY handprint prints available on Etsy. These are downloads that you print yourself and then add the handprint with paint. Very quick and easy but they make a fabulous present. I have something for everyone (Nana, Gramps, Godfather!) or there is an editable version that allows you to add your own name.
If you would like to take this a step further, try this activity book. The prompted activity pages of this notebook make a personal and touching gift for children to make. Perfect for toddlers and younger children to celebrate their special relationship with their grandparent.
2. Blank greetings cards and stamps
3. Vouchers for home hair salon
5. Touch night light
6. Magazine subscription
7. Digital Photo Frame
8. Fancy walking stick
9. Car grip for getting out of car
10. Dry erase board (for leaving messages)
12. Slip resistant socks
12. Bag that attaches to walker
14. Wheelchair wrap/poncho
15. Chair organizer
16. A string of pretty solar lights
17. Pretty glasses/spectacle case
18. Personalized apron (or adult bib)
19. Personalized mug
20. Photo or weighted blanket.
Want to remember this? Post this Senior Gift Ideas Guide to your favorite Pinterest board!
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