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.
Best Gifts for Elderly People in Nursing Homes
Here are the best gifts for people in nursing homes that will help make their experience a little bit easier to deal with.
Orthofeet Asheville & Charlotte Orthopedic Slippers for Men & Women
Slippers are a common gift and they are also very practical for nursing home residents because they can be taken on and off quickly. But, it is important that they are also safe.
These Podiatrist-approved slippers for men and women feature a roomy and wide toe box with built-in orthotic insoles. Designed to improve the ease of walking and alleviate pain on the heel and ball of the foot from numerous conditions. These are a great choice for older adults who need arch support without sacrificing style.
Who knew magazines were still a thing, right? But a gift like this can really help people in nursing homes and help pass some downtime. Plus they come on a regular basis giving them something to look forward to.
Magazine subscriptions provide a ton of benefits for seniors: education, entertainment, and a way to pass some time. They can also be a great link to the outside world. Look for large print magazines like Reader’s Digest for seniors with vision problems.
My next recommendation is designed for older adults who want to learn to care for plants and build their confidence in their green thumb.
Each box contains a hardy plant along with well-researched instructions on how to care for that month’s selection. They even offer a friendly customer service line to answer your plant growing questions.
There are pet-friendly subscriptions and your recipient receive only one or several plants each month. They even have a plant resurrection guarantee if you lose one!
Like an idea like this? You can see more subscription box gifts for seniors here if so.
Cold feet are a common complaint of nursing home residents. But, these super-soft socks from Orthofeet can help!
The BioSoft line of socks from Orthofeet are specifically designed to address foot pain and increase overall foot comfort. They are made of super-soft, moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial bamboo fibers and come with padded soles and super stretchy cuffs to better fit swollen feet, ankles, and calves.
Is the nursing home your loved one resides in dressing them in those ugly, white hospital gowns with the blue boxes? It’s time for an upgrade!
The open-back gowns and pajama products from Dignity Pajamas are just as easy for the nursing home staff to put on residents because they have an open back with simple closures like hook and loop fasteners.
The best part? They don’t look like hospital gowns either; rather, they look like any other stylish nightgown or pajama set a person would choose for themselves!
They have many styles available for both men and women!
These super-fuzzy socks, made of a Chenille blend are luxuriously soft so, of course, they are comfortable enough to wear all day. Plus, they have the added safety of rubber gripper treads on the bottom to reduce the chance of slipping while wearing them. They are available in 7 different color combinations and are designed to last!
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a senior in a nursing home, look no further than Cool-jams mix and match loungewear. This moisture-wicking fabric is designed to keep your loved ones comfortable and relaxed all night long, regulating their temperature and letting them sleep soundly.
Plus, the proprietary antimicrobial treatment helps keep the fabric fresh and odor-free, and the lightweight, quick-dry fabric is wrinkle-resistant and machine washable. It has the soft feel of cotton, but without any itchy tags. Give the gift of quality sleep and comfort!
To fight boredom between visits, check out this regular puzzle book subscription for people in nursing homes. This helps keep their mind focused and their hands busy!
Many seniors love working on puzzles so why not provide them puzzles to work on all year long. Puzzles help keep the mind active and sharp which can improve memory and keep away the boredom. 9 Issues per year.
Anxiety is also common among people in nursing homes. And, many believe that weighted blankets can really help with anxiety symptoms.
Weighted blankets seem to have benefits for seniors and I love the Bearaby Cotton Napper Weighted Blanket because it has a soft, homemade feel and appearance with all the benefits of a standard weighted blanket.
The knitted fabric keeps you cool when you use it and is also easier to maintain than beaded weighted blankets too. Learn more about weighted blankets for seniors here.
This nostalgia-inspired radio is specifically designed to be extremely easy to use. Even seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s so they can use it themselves without needing to get help.
It features an easy-to-use control panel with big buttons that are easy to see. The volume never goes completely off so that the user will know it’s still on. it’s lightweight and durable too!
Caregivers can program their favorite stations into the one-touch buttons on top allowing them to still have variety and choice in their music.
If your loved one in a nursing home is struggling to get their shoes on and off – take a look at these. They could make getting ready for therapy much simpler!
Zeba’s fashionable sneakers are a great choice for seniors because of their patented no-tie system. Instead of dealing with fasteners, they slip right on even from a standing position. This reduces the chance of you losing your balance because you won’t need to bend over to tie your shoes!
Looking for a perfect gift for a bedridden elderly person? Look no further than Boxes of Love Care Package Subscription! This monthly subscription box is the perfect way to show your loved one that you care. Each month, you’ll get a package filled with comfy socks, fun activities, and seasonal gifts tailored to their interests. Plus, each month will be a new and exciting theme!
This is a great way to show your elderly loved one that they are thought of and special. You can give the gift of love and joy with Boxes of Love Care Package Subscription.
Looking for a food or snack gift but want something unique?
These artisan scones are backed and shipped the same day for fresh flavor and taste. Plus each is unique because they are hand-scooped too. Each scone is individually packaged so that fresh flavor can be maintained as long as possible.
You have lots of flavor choices and flavors are changed from time to time for some variety. There are gluten-free options as well as cookies and bars too.
Choose the subscription option for monthly or quarterly deliveries of assorted scone boxes right to your loved one’s room at the nursing home.
This gift idea is a fun way to keep track of visitors and get some great stories along the way. Having a sign-in journal in their room encourages guests, family, and friends to leave notes, stories, and other keepsakes. I chose this one because it looks great and will lay flat and is made from natural walnut.
Acorn Women's Spa Wrap Slipper
The Spa Wrap Slipper from Acorn pampers your feet while providing support and a flexible fit. The soft terry cloth fabric feels like velvet on the feet. But, these slippers also have a contoured footbed with an enhanced arch and heel for support and comfort. For swollen feet, the adjustable strap offers a custom fit and makes them easy to take on/off.
The LegXercise PRO is a capable and easy-to-use automatic leg exercise machine for seniors and the elderly. It is designed to provide passive movement to the feet and legs to stimulate blood flow which, in turn, reduces leg pain, cramps, and swelling.
Did I mention that nursing homes are often cold and drafty? Here is a great way to warm up a nursing home resident.
I have had plenty of times where I just wanted a blanket or wanted to be a little bit warmer, even inside the house. A good electric heating blanket can bring that extra bit of comforting warmth that overcomes cool weather, bad circulation, or any other reason.
This is a great gift that helps provide that nice comfortable and toasty relaxing feeling of home.
These superior and stylish bibs and clothing protectors for seniors come in all kinds of fun and classy designs. They are extra large for maximum coverage, a strong but easy-to-open velcro closure, and a pocket/crumb catcher at the bottom.
If your loved one is spending a lot of time in their nursing home bed, here is a great idea that helps them stay productive while resting.
With this gift, it’s possible to use laptops, write letters, and even engage in crafts while sitting in a wheelchair. This lap desk is comfortable to use thanks to the built-in cushion, which conforms to the shape of the user’s lap. It’s available in a range of styles and colors, allowing you to select the perfect style for the person you’re shopping for.
I love this little radio – it reminds me of one that my grandfather kept in his garage. Nursing home residents can keep it bedside for those times they want a little music or entertainment.
This basically simple radio for seniors has a very easy and intuitive interface. Large, easy-to-press buttons are perfect for seniors with arthritis in their hands. Scan for local stations with one touch.
If your family member enjoys crafts time at the nursing home, an art kit like this makes a great gift because they can use it to continue the fun back in their room on their own.
Help revive a senior’s old hobby or passion give your loved one the tools to take up a new one with this artistic kit. Doing creative tasks like this is good for better developing the more creative part of the brain. While challenging, it will help to teach a new skill, occupy their time, and give them something to be proud of.
Sadly, when our senior loved ones leave us, their stories and history go with them. This workbook encourages them to share this history with your and provides a place to record memories through a series of questions and prompts. It will quickly become a treasured heirloom for the family.
Flowers can brighten up a dreary nursing home room as well as the spirits of the resident.
Get fresh-cut seasonal bouquets that were cut just days before they arrive. Only top-quality blooms and greens. Shipped overnight for ultimate freshness. Includes a monthly newsletter that highlights the flower’s history and source.
Everyone gets cold but seniors especially do. If you know a senior living in a cold environment, consider a plush robe. These are always well-received. Try to make their lives a little more comfortable with a bathrobe. Many people suggest that a bathrobe be given with slippers. But, you have to take into consideration safety issues with slippers and the flooring the recipient has.
Mahabis Curve Supportive Slippers for Men and Women
Mahabis Curve slippers feature a flexible and grippy rubber sole with a luxurious Italian wool lining. They are made to be durable and easy to care for. Plus, they have the neoprene heel cup to make sure they say secure on your feet reducing the chance of a fall. Available in multiple colors and men’s and women’s sizing.
This cool gift box features 2 lbs of candy that was popular in your selected decade packed into a gift box. Decade options include the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
For the true candy lover, there is a 4 lb choice as well as a monthly subscription box option to keep the candy coming on a regular basis.
The Craft and Tea Box is the perfect way for seniors living in assisted living communities to enjoy some relaxation time. The box contains high-quality craft kits from independent businesses, as well as enough tea for up to 15-20 cups. With a different craft kit every month, seniors can explore their creativity with projects such as embroidery, string art, macrame, and painting. Not only are these activities fun and engaging, but they also provide an opportunity to warm up with delicious teas while connecting with others or having a cozy night in.
When people have limited mobility, many basic tasks, like tying shoelaces, can be a challenge. Thankfully, with these shoelaces from Xpand, it’s possible to avoid tying your shoes. These laces can be used with all kinds of shoes and consistently provide a great fit. A present like this could make for a great stocking stuffer.
Don’t you hate it when you are trying to cuddle on your couch and your feet slip outside the blanket? This cool (but warm too) electric throw blanket has a foot pocket at the bottom. Just tuck your feet into the pocket and throw the blanket over the rest of your body and warm up.
Even on my best days, I’m not always on top of what day of the week it is or what the date is. That’s not likely to get better as I continue to age over the next several decades. This large clock/calendar is perfect as it shows the date, day of the week, time, and year all there at once to make it very handy.
Personally, I love having one tool that does multiple jobs. This living aid from Remedic solves many problems seniors have. First, it helps open medication bottles by fitting tightly on the lid and giving older adults a better grip and more leverage. This is a great idea for seniors with weakness or arthritis in their hands especially. Plus, it also has a built-in magnifying glass with an LED light for reading the tiny print on those bottles. This could help prevent a medication mix-up!
This Boredom Buster Gift Basket is the perfect way to show your support and love for seniors in nursing homes. It is packed with various items to help soothe a bored mind, including a pen and activity book, deck of cards, and dominoes/checkers/or a similar game. Additionally, it contains snacks like cookies, rice krispie treats, snack mix, granola bars, and trail mix to keep energy levels high and mints to freshen the breath.
To make sure that the recipient is well taken care of, this basket also contains travel-size tissues and hand sanitizer wipes for cleaning away germs. Lastly, a reusable water bottle is included for a refreshing thirst quencher. With this thoughtful gift, you can show your care and ensure the recipient knows they are not alone.
Many seniors can benefit from an Audiobooks.com subscriptions: from active seniors who like to exercise to elderly people who are homebound or even bedridden. Audiobooks provide hours of entertainment, education, and enlightenment. Plus, they keep seniors’ minds busy as they pass the time.
This Handcrafted Wooden Spectacle Eyeglasses Holder is an ideal solution for seniors who live in assisted living communities, providing a convenient and safe place to keep their glasses at their bedside.
Crafted with passion and attention to detail from durable Mango Wood, this unique modern design features an Owl-shaped holder that securely holds the spectacles in place. This quirky utility can add fun to any office or home desk while keeping your eyewear safe. It also makes for a wonderful gift idea for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, festivals, and more.
A digital photo album is a fun way to load up and display family, vacation, and travel photos. Rather than having space for just one or two happy photos, you can add or change the pictures by uploading them from your phone to the frame when you come to visit. It can also be updated via WiFi too! For fun, the seniors could even use a camera to take some of the photos themselves.
This calendar features the unique and folksy artwork of Thomas Kinkade in high-quality full-page, full-color pictures. Monthly view. Wall-mountable. Measures 14″ X 24.5″ when open. 16 months.
Everyone loves Burt’s Bees hand care products – from young to old. It’s a great gift for senior men and women who suffer from dry, cracked, and painful hands including gardeners and travelers. This gift set includes 2 hand creams, cuticle cream and a set of cotton gloves.
With this gift, the recipient will receive 5 pounds of fresh fruit delivered each month featuring both traditional and exotic varieties. Only the highest quality fruit is selected and it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. 2,3,4,6, and 12-month options.
This gift includes 32 bite-sized gourmet cookies in assorted flavors. Wrapped in packages of 8 to preserve the freshness. Available with and without nuts too!
This gift bag is packed full of delicious Ghirardelli chocolate squares in 6 different flavors. Total of 80 pieces for the serious chocolate lover.
Every senior seems to love having snacks and sweet treats on hand. Did you know that personalized M&M candies are a real thing? And, they make a great gift that is truly unique. Choose the message, the color, and even the graphics on the bag.
This garden includes green sedum succulents, a large green echeveria succulent, small green echeveria succulents, and small natural river rocks packaged in a round slate pot. Easy to care for and admire.
This basket is a snacker’s dream and loaded up with chocolates, pecan cookies, peanut brittle, chocolate popcorn, white frosted pretzels, toffee coated peanuts. All packaged in a decorative gift box.
This Shindawn Scrapbook Photo Album is an ideal choice for seniors living in assisted living communities, providing them with the perfect way to store and enjoy memorable moments. This hardcover scrapbook features 80 Pages (40 Sheets) of black craft paper, which is thick and free from acid, lignin and PVC; allowing it to easily hold over 150 photos without damaging them.
It also includes 3 self-adhesive corner stickers, 10 metallic marker pens, 5 painting stencils, 1 scrapbook photo album, 3 corner sticker, 2 colorful stickers, 2 scrapbooking tape, making it easy for seniors to personalize their scrapbook in any style they choose.
Scented gifts like lotions, in their favorite scent, can enhance memory and bring back fond memories. They are also a nice touch to have in the home.
Unless you know of a scent they specifically enjoy, stay away from bold, overpowering smells like heavy floral scents. Light aromatics, vanilla, and food smells are often the best choice. You can find some of my favorite lotions for seniors in this guide.
An aromatherapy diffuser is a wonderful way to release a healthful mist into the air. This gift will transmit at various settings, so you can let it run for 6-8 hours with a tank of water. Anyone who lives in a home with a furnace or heating system that dries out the air needs a humidifier to put some moisture back into the air. And what better way to do that than with favorite aromas too.
When the weather is too cold or mobility is a problem, this at-home kit is an ideal solution. Trimming in-grown toenails and calluses can be dealt with from the comfort and privacy of the home. The kit has all of the pieces needed for a manicure or pedicure. Plus, it includes an instructional guide that explains when/where to use each of the attachments. An LED light is built-in to see the nails better. Consider adding to this gift a small set of nail polishes, nail polish remover, and toe separators so that they can paint their nails too.
This book reading light charges in a USB port so it can be plugged right into a tablet or kindle device while elderly owners are reading or working. There are multiple color modes and brightness levels including a night light setting. The best part is that it slips easily around the neck – no difficult to use clamps to cause pain for arthritic hands.
Research shows that memory games are for everyone. Games like these improve memory and recall – even if the senior you are buying a gift for is sharp as a tack. This game is fit for anyone ages 6 and older so it is a fun game to break out when family or friends visit too.
As eyesight goes, this magnifying glass helps seniors read the small print on medication, newspapers, maps, and books. The optical glass dome provides obstruction-free viewing without any distortion. If reading is a problem altogether, think about an easy to use audio book player.
When the grandkids come to visit, have an engaging activity ready to keep them busy. Playing games is also good for a senior’s memory, mental health, and socialization too. This particular game set is not only beautiful, with two reversible wooden tables, but it has drawers for storage built into it so none of the pieces get lost along the way. Play one of seven different games using just one set.
Bird feeders are great for when people are bored or frustrated. Sitting by the window or on a porch and watching the birds can help to calm people down. Place the birdhouse where seniors in nursing homes, assisted living or who are bedbound can see it out their window. Do some research about local birds in the area where they live so that you can also include some bird seed that attracts neighborhood guests.
If there isn’t room for a full garden, a planter is a great little gift to put some life into the living space. Look for fun, quirky styles, like these little elephant-themed terrariums. Include some seeds, soil, or some low-maintenance succulents for a complete gift.
A beautiful piece of jewelry can make your loved one feel beautiful and pampered, especially if it has a significant meaning. Find one that matches her style, or maybe take a look at birthstone necklaces if this is a gift for her birthday. Pick her brain a little and find out what her favorite stone is, and maybe get her a whole matching set (necklace, earrings, rings, and a bracelet) that features that stone. Pair it with a jewelry box.
This beautiful leather bound journal with pen is the perfect gift for seniors in nursing homes. The timeless design features a nautical compass embossed on the cover, a long strap to secure the journal in place, and decorative stitching for added charm. Crafted with delicate yet super tough buffalo leather, this journal offers lifetime durability with lasting softness.
The 300 premium quality cream paper sheets provide a smooth writing surface and zero bleed through with fountain pens. The included designer pen and hidden pen holder make this journal a great choice for those who want to write in style. The eco-friendly recycled box packaging makes this gift set a truly unique and thoughtful surprise.
For comfort and pampering, this therapeutic eye pillow is infused with lavender (one of the most relaxing essential oils), and adds a level of calm and relaxation to your loved one’s life. Having a weighted pillow rest on your eyes can provide a lot of relief, especially in this age of screens. This is an especially thoughtful gift for seniors with sleeping problems.
This set of greeting cards prepares your loved ones or friend for any and all upcoming events. They can write out cards for holidays, and send letters of appreciation, condolences, or congratulations. Throw in a set of lifetime stamps while you are at it so that they can mail their cards when it’s time. For forgetful seniors or those with dementia, fill them out in advance and hold onto them until it’s time to mail them.
A great gift for an older adult who is a lover of great music, or even a tech-savvy relative, will truly appreciate a senior-friendly MP3 player. Music can bring back positive memories, increase stimulation, and provide a chance to interact with those around them. Load it up with their favorite music before giving it to them. This easy-to-use model has simple instructions and a large easy-to-read screen.
Amazon Kindle is a reliable electronic reader that is available in many sizes and weights plus the fonts can be enlarged for easier reading. Set it up to have some of their favorite books ahead of time. Take it one step further and load an app like Skype onto a newer Kindle version so that they can sign in and chat with family when you are apart.
Wireless headphones will let your loved one enjoy their TV viewing, audiobook listening experience, or just shut the world out for a little while. These headphones fit right over the ear and cancel out the noise around them in an otherwise noisy common area. This model has a 30-hour battery life and can be synced to a wide range of devices via Bluetooth. Check out my guide to buying headphones for seniors and the elderly in this article.
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 for a nursing home room 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 of 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”:
Don’t Forget 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, and 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 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.