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10 Gift Ideas For a Loved One Living in a Senior Living Community

With the holidays coming around the bend, gift buying is at the top of everyone’s list. Gift giving is a wonderful opportunity to communicate how much someone means to you, but it can be challenging if your parent or relative lives in a senior living community. Seniors living in a retirement community can be hard to buy for – they likely already have everything they need and don’t want to clutter their perfectly sized small-space senior apartments. That’s why we’ve created a holiday gift guide for seniors living in assisted living, memory care and other levels of living within a retirement community.

The don’ts

When shopping for Christmas or other holiday get-togethers, there are a few things you’d be wise to avoid. Don’t feel as if you need to hit a certain price range – intention and utility always outweigh cost. When buying presents for a senior in your life, think back to the downsizing process your loved one went through when they first moved to their community. Try not to contribute to the clutter – intangible items can be packed with thoughtfulness and sentimentality without the added burden of finding a place for them to stay throughout the rest of the year.

Your gift guide: 10 gifts for your parent or loved one in senior living

The following gift ideas are sure to inspire and lead you to the perfect present for that special senior in your life.

1. Audible subscription

While paperbacks and hardcovers are classic, they tend to add up. Audiobooks are a much more versatile present, and with an Audible subscription, your parent or loved one can listen to anything, anywhere, anytime. Subscriptions vary from six months to a full year, meaning your gift will continue to give for months to come.

2. Fitbit or other activity tracker

An activity tracker is the perfect motivator to keep older adults active, occupied and always working toward a goal.

A senior citizen using a heart monitoring watch.

3. Massage or spa package

Everyone enjoys being pampered now and again. Consider buying your loved one a massage, or better yet, a day at the spa. After the stress and excitement of the holidays, a rejuvenating experience is the perfect way to start the new year off relaxed and rested.

4. Tickets to a sporting event, TED Talk, play or musical

Does your parent or loved one enjoy popular plays or musicals such as Hamilton? Perhaps they’re a huge fan of University of Utah basketball. Salt Lake City is brimming with places to go and things to see! Tickets to events and performances provide a great opportunity for you to spend time with your loved one and enjoy local entertainment together.

Silhouette of two women watching a live music show.

5. Amazon Prime account

If your parent is known for online ordering, an Amazon Prime account is the perfect present. For $100, you can secure free two-day shipping and access to other Amazon exclusives. You can help set up your loved one’s account by inputting their community address and billing information so each purchase is simple, straightforward, and just a click or two away. This service opens a world of possibilities to your parent and also helps them make major strides in the digital age.

6. Tablet

Contrary to popular belief, many seniors are eager to utilize new technology and incorporate it into their day-to-day routine. When you gift your loved one a tablet, you also gift them the ability to Skype grandkids, keep up with friends and family on Facebook, read the news in the morning, access a kindle account, and so much more.

An elderly woman sitting in a sunny room using a tablet.

7. Handwritten letters from the family

For a change of pace, have each family member write a letter expressing appreciation for your parent. From children and their spouses to the next generation of grandchildren, nieces and nephews – your loved one is sure to feel appreciated, loved and lifted by the kind words. Plus, letters won’t take up a lot of space and can be referenced and revisited throughout the year.

8. Digital photo frame

Rather than a physical photo album, consider gifting your loved one with a digital photo frame preloaded with photos of their favorite memories. Many retirement communities, such as The Ridge senior living communities, provide digital memory boxes outside each resident’s door. Take your gift to the next level by loading new, updated photos to your loved one’s memory box.

Gift giving can be a bit awkward when you don’t have something to give the receiver in the moment, so make sure to load the photos onto a tablet. This will allow your loved one to scroll through and get a preview of the sweet slideshow they’ll come home to after the holidays.

9. Wireless headphones

Gone are the days of tangled cords and plugs – wireless headphones are all the rage and extremely practical. When you live among others, it’s important to be considerate of your neighbors. Personal headphones are a must for a loved one who lives in a senior living community.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, these wireless headphones may come in handy as they engage in community programs and activities. Many communities have adopted innovative memory care practices such as music therapy in which residents listen to personalized music playlists that evoke positive emotion and bring fond memories back to the surface.

10. Subscriptions

Consider buying your parent a year-long magazine or newspaper subscription. Opt for the extra digital version so they can access their subscription from a laptop, tablet or smartphone in addition to the hard copies they’ll receive by mail.

The ultimate gift

Selecting a gift for someone at a senior living community can be challenging; however, the holiday season always reminds us that it’s the thought and intention behind the gift that truly matter. At the end of the day, your time, love and support remain the most valuable gifts you can give to anyone of any age.