Holiday Giving: Gift Ideas to Brighten the Lives of Older Adults in Your Life

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Home Instead offers holiday gift ideas for older loved ones

Holiday shopping is officially in full swing, which means it’s time to start thinking about what gifts to give loved ones this season. While presents are the highlight of the holiday for younger family members, receiving a gift at any age can make one feel special and loved. Spreading this joy is especially important as the holidays can be a lonely time for many people.

According to research from AARP, 31% of respondents say they felt lonely during the holiday season in the past five years, and 41% have worried about a family member or friend feeling lonesome. Unfortunately, older adults who live alone or away from family can experience increased feelings of loneliness and isolation around the holidays.

Whether choosing to shower an older adult with a practical and functional present or a more sentimental one, the thought and effort put into the gift will make their day more cheerful and help combat loneliness.

“The act of giving a gift is such a special way to show you care but it can present some challenges because everyone has different needs and interests. This is especially true for older adults,” said Lakelyn Hogan Eichenberger, Ph.D., gerontologist and caregiving advocate at Home Instead. “Oftentimes, aging loved ones aren’t interested in getting more “stuff,” but they’ll likely enjoy receiving items they can put to daily use or value quality time spent with family and friends.”

Browsing store aisles and online shops can be timely if you aren’t sure what you are looking for. To save time this holiday, Hogan Eichenberger recommends several options for seniors:

  • Experiential Gifts: Experiential gifts are becoming more popular as people look for alternatives to material items. Older adults especially value time and experiences that are shared with loved ones. As you think through experiential gifts for older adults, consider gifting them a meal out at their favorite restaurant or a trip to the movie theater. Spending time with an aging adult can not only brighten up their day but can provide you with a cherished memory.
  • Sentimental Items: You don't always need to spend a lot of money when buying a gift for a loved one. Items that evoke an emotional response are some of the most meaningful. Invite grandma or grandpa to relive a memory by creating a scrapbook or family photo album. You can also express just how much they mean to you through words by drafting a handwritten note or letter.
  • Technology and Electronics: Today’s older adults are becoming increasingly interested in digital technology and electronics. There are many tech gift ideas that can help you feel more confident in their independence such as a GPS System or Medical Alert Device. Electronics such as e-readers or smart display devices can provide entertainment for loved ones who enjoy reading or listening to music.
  • Hobby-Related Gifts: In retirement, it’s common for many aging adults to take up a hobby. Think about how your loved one likes to spend his or her time and look into gifts related to that. If they enjoy spending time outside, consider gifting them new walking shoes or gardening tools. And if they have an interest in baking, new bakeware or recipes are a perfect way to fuel their passion.
  • Games and Entertainment: Board games and cards are great gifts, especially for older adults living in retirement communities. They offer a way for them to interact with each other while having fun. Likewise, during family gatherings, games are a wonderful way to bring everyone of all ages together. In addition, if your senior enjoys watching movies, consider buying them a streaming subscription service or a DVD of their favorite film.
  • Practical Gifts. Older adults may find gifts they use daily to be the most beneficial. One way to think of useful items for older parents is to consider what they can use to make their life more comfortable and enjoyable. Items such as rubber-soled socks and slippers to wear around the house, or a blanket to cuddle up with on the couch are great ideas. Additionally, many may enjoy receiving gift cards to select items of their choosing such as personal essentials or groceries.

Remember, no matter what type of gift you choose, it’s the thought that counts, so take the time to pick out a present that comes from the heart. If you don’t have an elderly loved one to give a gift to but want to help brighten one’s holiday, consider donating a gift to a senior in your local community through Home Instead’s Be a Santa to a Senior program. You can find more information on how to get involved at https://www.beasantatoasenior.com/.

ABOUT HOME INSTEAD, AN HONOR COMPANY
Home Instead, Inc. and its parent company, Honor, are expanding the world’s capacity to care. With the world’s largest home care network and the most advanced care platform, Honor and Home Instead are revolutionizing care for older adults, their families, and Care Professionals. Home Instead, Inc. is the premier home care franchisor through its network of independently owned and operated Home Instead franchise businesses. Combined, the network has more than 100,000 Care Professionals across 13 countries, meeting the growing needs of millions of older adults and their families worldwide. For more information, visit joinhonor.com and homeinstead.com.

None of the products discussed in this article are endorsed, sponsored, or recommended by Home Instead or Honor. Neither Home Instead nor Honor has been given any compensation, commissions, free products, or anything else by the manufacturers or sellers of these products in exchange for mentioning them in this article.

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Dan Wieberg