Christmas Gift Ideas for the Elderly

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Buying Christmas gifts for someone who seems to already have everything they want or need can be difficult. Elderly friends and relatives often fall into this category. It can be hard to find something to give them at Christmas that is meaningful and that they will enjoy. If you need a little help in deciding what to give your elderly relative this year, here are a few ideas worth considering.

Food and drink

When you have all the toys, gadgets and clothes a person could ever need, receiving a gift of some delicious food treats is very welcome. Food gifts are consumable, so you do not need to find a permanent place to store or display them. They are also great for sharing around, and for those who live in retirement homes or complexes, being able to share things encourages social interaction and communication. Elderly people often have delicate stomachs, or medical conditions such as diabetes which mean they cannot eat or digest rich foods. Making up a basket or hamper of suitable food items shows that you have taken the time and effort to create a gift especially for them and not just grabbed the first thing to hand in the store down the street on your way to visit. A range of diabetic chocolates and cookies wrapped in bright cellophane and tied with a big bow is a great idea. If you know your elderly relative likes teas, coffees or the occasional alcoholic tipple, you could make up a gift basket with a selection of beverages and perhaps add a single-cup tea pot or a mini cafetier as well.


Of course, elderly people already have clothes. However at Christmas time, giving a gift of clothing that is a little more luxurious than they would normally buy for themselves is a thoughtful gesture. If they suffer from poor circulation, have limited mobility or cold hands and feet, some silk or chenille gloves and socks would make a wonderful gift. A co-ordinating hat, scarf and gloves set is also a good idea. Often elderly people like a particular brand of clothing, something that they have been used to purchasing for years, but that is now hard to find. If you can track down an on-line source and order a multi-pack of whatever item they like, they are sure to appreciate your efforts. Elderly people often have to manage very tight budgets and being able to afford larger clothing purchases such as a new winter coat may be beyond their means. If you can spare an afternoon and some cash, then take them shopping and let them choose their own clothing gift instead. This gives them back a little independence in the ability to make up their own minds on something, gives them some time away from their home, and if you include some lunch or dinner, then you know they will have eaten properly that day as well.


While some elderly folks may be skilled at playing on a PlayStation, most view modern technology with more than a little suspicion. Finding gadgets that they can use, either for pleasure or to help them in their day to day lives, is a great way of filling their Christmas stocking. With the switch from analogue to digital television signals, many elderly people have not updated their television sets or purchased the conversion boxes needed to receive a digital signal. Buying them a receiving box is a great way of keeping them instep with the rest of the world, as for many elderly people, the television is their constant companion. Equally useful would be a DAB Digital radio. These receive similar digital radio signals to the televisions, and provide a listening experience that is without static or interference - perfect when your hearing isn't great! They are a little more expensive than a conventional radio, but the difference in sound quality is well worth it.

Gadgets that can help an elderly person retain their independence and mobility make great Christmas gifts. Items like a grabber with a long handle that allows the user to pick up things from the floor without having to bend down are invaluable. Alternatively you may want to provide a panic button system and pay for the monitoring equipment to be installed. These usually come with a button that is worn around the neck, which can be pushed if the individual has a fall or is in difficulty. This is linked to a response system which will alert either the emergency services or a care-providing company who will respond immediately.

Small technological gifts can also be welcomed by elderly folk. Single-use cameras make great little gifts, but a simple digital camera will allow them to take lots more pictures which you or anyone else can then get printed for them. Hand-held electronic games are popular with the elderly, particular modern versions of old favourites such as Black Jack or Solitaire.

Elderly people may seem to pose a problem when it comes to buying Christmas gifts, but with a little thought they too can have a range of items to unwrap.

More about this author: Silva Payne

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