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Gift Ideas for Seniors

Category Adults
As family members and friends get older, they tend to want less material things as gifts. People have years of accumulated things and are starting to downsize their possessions and living space. This is a guide about gift ideas for seniors.
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November 30, 2011

We all have someone on our gift list who is hard to shop for because they already have it all, or have limited space, such as someone in a nursing home or assisted living home. Most often, without being too nosy, you usually have an idea of their income as well. Here are a few gift ideas (many can be used year around, not just at Christmas time), of items they will really appreciate, want, use, and that won't take up a lot of space.

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By April from Plattsburg, MO

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By 7 found this helpful
December 2, 2014

Despite claims that the economy has improved somewhat, it has worsened for those on fixed incomes and on social services. For every penny their traceable income goes up, their services drop by a penny, BUT for every $2-300.00 their income drops, their services (food stamps) only go up by a few dollars. It's not the same calculation allowance both ways. Cash gifts go uncounted unless tied to some traceable source.

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These are people already living on the edge and being pushed further off it every day. Have mercy, tell you representatives to use calculations that go both ways, tell them to use lower spenddowns and higher income allowance calculations. Tell them to put a stop to the law that says food stamps (SNAP) cannot take medically necessary diet costs into account in their calculations. Those on such, as many seniors, disabled and limited-income recipients often pay up to FIVE times more for the food they must eat to survive; a fact conveniently ignored by our well-fed officials. AND, tell them to leave COLA alone.

Every January COLA enriches the system rather than those who are awarded them when, for these recipients. So much of it goes back into the system to increased Medicare costs, decreased food stamps (dollar for dollar), higher spenddowns, skewed allowable income calculations, and increased private insurance costs that they end up even further in the hole. A fifteen dollar COLA can put one $25.00 further in the hole, given the systems calculation sleight of hand where what one hand gives the other takes away. Smoke and mirrors obscuring the systemic cheating of those most in need.

For years (going back to when Paul Wellstone was in office), I have written articles and letters and made calls to bring this to the attention of media and to many of our representatives, both State and Federal, about this, only to be ignored in that. This is crucial! Please care enough to demand an end to this most cruel practice and deceit. And, hand them some cash in private, some ones, fives and even some tens and twenties if you can. Trust me, it will be well-spent and so deeply appreciated.

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December 18, 20041 found this helpful

It is not easy to find a gift for elderly friends and relatives. I give them stationary, a ball point pen and stamps.

By Jean Sterling

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December 4, 2011

I live in Senior Housing/low income housing. I do not have a car nor do a lot of the people that live here. Although we have a marvelous Council On Aging that has a bus for different trips there are still places that we are unable to go.

Today probably the best and most thoughtful present is to promise to run errands, go out for a meal or to take someone for an appointment. I know that everyone is really busy with parents and children, but remember the person who seldom gets out. Anyone can give a gift of a sweater or a robe, but to give of oneself is the best gift of all.

By Irene from Boston

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By 7 found this helpful
November 20, 2009

When buying an appliance such as a coffee maker for a senior citizen, make sure it has an automatic shut off in case they forget to turn it off.

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December 21, 2016

Need a Christmas/birthday/anniversary gift idea for someone who is on medicare and often gets prescriptions? Get them a gift card to their pharmacy. If you give them a gift card for their pharmacy or a prepaid visa, they can use that to pay their copay on something they may otherwise go without.

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December 20, 20070 found this helpful

If you are wondering what to give older friends/relatives for the holidays, here is an idea: Consumable gifts are always welcome since seniors do not want to get things that will end up collecting dust or ending up in a yard sale!

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May 31, 20170 found this helpful

Making up some gift bags of items for people in a nursing home is sure to brighten the day of anyone receiving this thoughtful gift. This is a guide about gift bags for seniors in nursing homes.

Gift Bag Stuffed with Gifts

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June 7, 20170 found this helpful

Choosing the perfect gift for an elderly parent is easy if you think about what they would really enjoy, such as special foods, a chore jar, books, and such. This is a guide about Christmas gift ideas for elderly dad.

Christmas GiftS Being given to Elderly Dad

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
October 15, 2007

My grandpa just lost his wife (my grandma) three months ago. I don't know what to get him for Christmas now. When my grandma was alive I usually got them a gift card to go out to dinner somewhere nice. Any ideas of what to get him would be appreciated. Thank you.

April from Henderson

Answers

By guest (Guest Post)
October 15, 20070 found this helpful

I think you should still get him the gift card and make a date night with him. He will be especially lonely around the holidays and by you going out to eat with him he will be reminded how much he is loved by those still on earth. God Bless!

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October 15, 20070 found this helpful

Do you live near enough that you could take him out to dinner yourself? I am sure that even though your grandmother is no longer alive, he would enjoy a meal out. Or perhaps he has a friend he could go with. I am sure whatever you choose he will appreciate.

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October 15, 20070 found this helpful

How about a supply of frozen dinners that he could just cook in the micro? Or a box of necessities like toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent, etc....Or a gift card to a grocery or drug store or for gasoline? The idea of taking him out to dinner is great. I see elderly people with their children at my favorite buffet all the time and they always look so happy!

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 16, 20070 found this helpful

You might take him out to dinner yourself, since he is now alone. He would appreciate the company and I think you will, too.

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October 16, 20070 found this helpful

How about a really nice fuzzy and soft blanket to wrap up in, when he is feeling cold and sad? A mug set with a ton of different coffee, tea or flavored syrups if he is set on one type of coffee. A cleaning service, once a month for a few months, or a year, or a coupon for you to do it.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 16, 20070 found this helpful

There are so many things to do. The first thing, is he ready for winter? Does he need gloves etc. What does he need help with? If you have a husband or kids you could all make him a coupon book with ways to help. Say keep walks shoveled and dust the house mop floors. I am assuming at his age he does not drive but just in case he does a book with car washes and cleaning his car inside would tickle him I know my Dad was so happy with his before he passed away and then my mom wanted one.

You could also (getting back to your coupon book.) Promise a day to come in you and your family be it sister's, brother's children, etc. and clean for him. You could invite him for hot cooked meal's. You can make extra and freeze it and when you can take the frozen food over to him to warm up for a hot meal. This could all go into your coupon book.

Check to see if your area where you live has meal's on wheel's they are people who make sure senior citizen's get hot meals. They also have a program where someone comes into clean once a week. Check into that or if you are not strapped for cash you can hire a maid to clean.

Make sure he has rides for appointments. We have a system for old people that will pick older people up and take them to appointments and some places deliver groceries and prescriptions. Make sure he has help with his winter heating bills they have programs for senior's for gas and electric where if he can not make the full payments they will help.

Do all you can to help in these ways they are important. Most important spend time with him on Christmas. He will not want to be alone. Can he spend the night with someone? Right now he will want to talk. Take him to movies but wait until he seems ready but for now all these things he will need help with. And hugs do not forget to add hugs for him in your coupon book. I know I went way over what you asked but I know what he needs and he also needs everyone's help and love most of all.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 16, 20070 found this helpful

Does Your Grandpa like to read? How about a gift subscription for a magazine or even the local newspaper? Or if he has a sweet tooth you could do some baking and make up a basket of goodies. If he has a hobby get him something relating to that.

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October 16, 20071 found this helpful

How about a date with you? I bet that would really be appreciated, or have him for dinner once a week.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 16, 20070 found this helpful

My mom passed away last year so for Christmas we got my dad gift cards to places like Kentucky Fried Chicken, Applebees & his favorite Pizzaria. This way if you can't take him out as often as you'd like, he can bring take home from his favorite places on you! My dad loved this so much more than things he didn't need. Good Luck.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 16, 20070 found this helpful

One of the best gifts is when we give of ourselves, if you live close enough, make & give a few coupons that will be good throughout the year when he wants to use them.
IDEA'S:
A hand-made coupon for a meal out; A coupon for a church social or other function, he'll be your guest; if he has a vehicle - a free car wash; a movie of his choice (popcorn included); a holiday dinner at your home; if he has a pet, a free pet grooming; a free hair cut; a trip to the local grocery store - you'll cart his groceries for him; an item that encourages him to keep up a hobby he likes; a free cleaning of any part of his home would encourage him as I'm sure his chores pile up with only one person to attend them (could include a flower or plant to spruce up his pad); think about what HE likes, even a magazine to encourage a hobby or interest keeps life interesting. I'm sure he'll appreciate your thoughtfullness more than you know.

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October 16, 20070 found this helpful

Make a binder with take out menus and include a few gift certificates for him to order in.

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October 16, 20070 found this helpful

You can be sneaky in asking for his favorite shops or Grandma's.
Check with the stores he usually shops (or grandma shopped in), talk with the managers for ideas of frequently bought items.
Local gas station certificates
Local coffee shop certificates
Books and reading can be difficult with eye issues over the ages, also preferences. Check with his church to see if there is programming in the community you could "subscribe" or get him on a list for--friendly visitors who check daily through phone calls, stopping in, parish nurse may have ideas--older persons needs are much different than other peoples--they say they don't need things--maybe the drawer is full of gloves, books, other unused items. I know when my inlaws (past) and still parents need gifts--most often it is certain grocery staples--NOTHING FANCY they say--buy a case of their favorite juice, mixed cans of vegies, fruit, and again, grocery certificates.
Most single/older persons don't use the bulk sized packages of food items, yet the smaller size DO cost more.
Make sure regular meals are able to be gotten. Help set up a variety of menu choices HE can fix for himself.
My son is a manager of a grocery store and they do daily deliveries (except weekends) and he could give a number of ideas that his shoppers use. For safety reasons and familiarity, he also does the deliveries himself (he's 23) and goes in, put the groceries away to the freezer, fridge, etc. This few extra minutes brings raves of thanks from his elder customers. And a good pat on the back for the business for taking time to make a difference.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 17, 20070 found this helpful

A friend of mine loves meals made with chicken. I created a "Chicken of the Month" club certificate and each month prepare a fridge or freezer ready (microwavable) chicken dinner for her to heat up at her convenience.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 17, 20070 found this helpful

Does he like to travel? Now that he is alone, traveling may not be safe or lonely for him. Check with your local Senior Citizens centers, most of the time they have trips planned and take a van or have a chartered bus, once a month or sometimes more often to different out of town festivals, plays, or just shopping trips, they also have dances once a month or weekly and men are always in short supply. Maybe he would enjoy making a few new male and female friends who play games together, go to movies and plan meals as a group. Single persons don't usually like to eat alone or will cook one or two things and eat all week on them.

Do you have brothers or sisters near by that could take weekly turns cooking one night a week and invite him over, or each of you cook a single dish and go to his home once a week or more and enjoy the fellowship with him and other family members.

I worked with seniors and the worst thing they faced after losing their spouses was facing a lonely empty house and feeling like they didn't belong anywhere without their mates.

Martha in TN

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 8, 20070 found this helpful

As soon as I read your letter, I thought just do what you always do, but now you be his date. When someone close to us dies, we just want things to be "normal" again. The same gift you always gave would be nice...I'm sure that a date with such a considerate granddaughter would be something he would love. He may cry, but it will be a good cry and I bet it will be a time you will both treasure and not soon forget. Be ready with a lot of stories of your memories of your grandmother. Our memories keep loved ones alive. Talk about the happy times you remember, the times you laughed together. This way your grandmother will be with you too.

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December 6, 20070 found this helpful

i was with my mom when she passed as was my dad. she did everything for him. he didn't even know where the toilet paper or paper towels were!
i would suggest you spending more time with him and help familrize himself where your grandma kept everything. i remember my dad calling me all the time to ask me if he had pot or pan to make something or where something was. then he slowly started calling less putting things that were comfortable for him. but never ever lose touch with him that is what will break his heart.
robin from nebraska

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 25, 20080 found this helpful

Hi
Have lost my father I know what you mean for gift ideas and I want to share one with you... I do genealogy and one of the best things to do for someone is a memory book of their childhood to adult life with wife kids and grandkids and greats if there are any... memories are precious and the forever kind of stuff...

Vicki
Im a native West Virginian and doing genealogy has helped me with the loss of my Grandmother my Father and my Husband

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December 1, 20110 found this helpful

Give him the same gift card and make a cute note saying you will be his date when he uses it. He will be thrilled, I imagine.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 17, 2015

I have to buy to presents for the senior citizen part, one for a male and one for a female. I don't know what to get. I need help, but I really don't have a clue what to get.

Answers

November 18, 20150 found this helpful

Why not make something, Dolly? The personal touch is always appreciated and the Internet is full of ideas no matter what your budget. I'd recommend consumables, something they'd use and enjoy.

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November 19, 20150 found this helpful

It is simple, buy something you would really like to get if you were to receive it. If you like it others will to.

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