41+ Great Gifts For People in Nursing Homes

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

The best gifts for people in nursing homes are gifts that provide encouragement, help pass the time, and let them know there are people out there thinking about them. Here are our top recommendations.

Income Disclosure: I recommend products based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from links in this guide. Learn More.

Making the transition into a nursing home is never easy for anyone. It is hard for the soon-to-be resident. And, also for their family.

When the holidays and birthdays approach, people naturally want to find a nice give to give to older family members who are being cared for. But, figuring out just what to give can be a serious challenge.

Here are the best gifts for people in nursing homes that will help make their experience a little bit easier to deal with.

Contents show

Best Gifts for Elderly People in Nursing Homes

General Gifting Advice for Nursing Home Residents

Gifts with Little or No Cost

Not every gift has to break the bank! In fact, creativity is more important than anything. Personal mementos go a long way for those living in nursing homes.

  • If residents do not already have a large address book, for example, you can compile a list of their most common addresses in one place.
  • Cozy gifts that remind them of home like a properly sized quilt or blanket for nursing homes in a pattern they love.
  • You can enlarge a favorite family photo or a photo of the resident in their younger years and put it in their room.
  • Customized items like coffee mugs or photo frames can remind family members and friends of their loved ones.
  • Given the limited space and décor provided by nursing home facilities, small decorations can make a world of difference.
  • Consider, for example, a beautiful vase with flowers that you refill each time you visit.
  • If there is a tree outside their window, the nursing home might permit a bird feeder to be hung and refilled periodically.
  • Air fresheners or flameless candle burners can give the space the comfortable feeling of home.
  • Magazine subscriptions or Netflix subscriptions can help give them something to do.

That said, the gifts below are perfect ideas for making the nursing home environment seem a bit cozier. Some will encourage socialization too among friends within the community.

Practical Gift Ideas

Many people appreciate more practical gifts. They show you care and understand what her needs are. Here are a few examples:

  • Stationary kits and stamps, especially for those who live far away from their family, are an interesting idea.
  • Electric toothbrushes or personalized toiletry kits make for nice gifts.
  • If your loved one or friend has a hobby they still enjoy, help keep them active by giving them the tools or supplies they need to engage in that hobby. Hobby based gifts are unique, a personal reflection on the recipient. They are also a chance for the person to feel good about their achievements.
  • A small flashlight can be an accompanying gift to help them feel safer. There are even canes that have built-in flashlights too.
  • Women who rely upon walkers to get around might benefit from a basket or bag that attaches to the walker. This gift makes it easier to cart around personal items from their room to common areas.

That said, below are 30 great ideas for tangible items that do not take up too much space and can be a beautiful way to say “I was thinking about you”:

RELATED GUIDE: Great Subscription Boxes for the Elderly

Quality Time!

While tangible gifts are appreciated, what loved ones want more than anything is quality time with friends and family. If you are not much of a talker, you don’t have to visit your family member and make awkward, forced small talk for an hour.

  • Schedule an activity for your visits, perhaps one associated with the gift you give.
  • Volunteer at a nursing home and help out with their community events. So, that way, you give your friend or family member something to brag about to other residents.
  • Read aloud to them during your visits or show off footage you filmed from family birthday parties or school performances they may have missed.

Tips for Giving Your Gift

  • If you have them, don’t forget to bring the kids with you. Time with smaller children is always welcome.
  • If family members are too far to visit regularly, sending recorded messages or stories can be listened to by elderly members over and over again. Letters, cards, even just to say “hello” and share something silly from the day can be sent throughout the year.
  • If you have a family pet, you probably won’t be able to bring them into the nursing home. But when you bring their gift, see if you cannot arrange to have them meet you and the animal outside.
  • Alternatively, give your gift on a small outing. Residents appreciate small trips outside of the nursing home, even if it is just to get an ice cream, see a soccer game, or walk around town looking at decorations.

Gifts to Avoid

No matter if you are buying gifts for seniors in nursing homes or who live with you, remember that this is a situation where less truly is more. Heavier or bulkier items will take up a lot of space they probably don’t have. And even small trinkets can eventually lead to clutter. Avoid incredibly expensive gifts on the off chance that another confused resident mistakenly wanders off with something that is not theirs.

At this stage in their lives, simple pleasures are the things that matter the most. And it will truly make them the happiest just to know that you care.

Do you have any gift ideas to add to this list? Have you given a gift to an elderly person in a nursing home that was loved? Or, maybe it went horribly wrong?  Tell me about in the comments below.

Share on:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment