It often feels impossible to find the perfect gift for the elderly person in our lives. However, a homemade gift for your favorite senior citizen can be thoughtful and practical.
And usually, the elderly appreciate nothing more. Here are some of our favorite homemade gifts that are sure to show how much you care.
Crafty Gift Ideas
1. Family Calendar
This project involves making a homemade calendar or a store-bought one and adding memorable photos for each month.
This will give a senior a happy and new memory to look at each month, and it is also helpful for them to remember holidays, birthdays, or appointment reminders.
2. Custom Journal Or Address Book
Either of these options is a simple and great idea. Your recipient will appreciate a customized gift that will lay flat when open for easier reading or writing.
We recommend decorating the outside of the cover so that it is personalized for your recipient. You can use drawings, photos, or your loved one’s favorite colors. Here is a step-by-step process to make one:
Items You Will Need:
- Decorative fabric or paper
- Heavy-duty punch hole tool
- Copy paper
- Heavy sewing needle
- Wax yarn or thread
- Measure the book cover size you want to make and cut the cardboard to that size.
- Cover the cardboard in fabric or decorative paper. The cover material should be 1 inch bigger than the cardboard on all sides so that you can fold it over neatly by attaching the cover with glue.
- The next step involves aligning the copy paper and cover pieces after making how many sheets you want into even half-sheets. We suggest aligning one margin and allowing the cover pieces to overlap on only three sides.
- Once everything is neatly aligned, use the punch hole tool to make holes along the length of the margin. These holes will connect the book.
- With the waxed yarn or thread and your sewing needle, thread the yarn through the hole at the bottom and tie a tight knot. From here, thread the needle through each hole, making a loop through the previous hole before moving on to the next one. Tie another knot when you reach the top spot.
- Decorate the homemade gift using elements that make it more personal for your loved one. If you have made a homemade address book, add important phone numbers, addresses, and photos or messages from other family members. Present the gift with writing pens, so they are encouraged to use the journal.
3. Handmade Walker Caddie
If your loved one uses a walker, they may have mentioned that they don’t have space to store items such as eyeglasses, phones, mail, or even a book.
While their hands are used to manipulate the walker, how or where do they hold or store these items? A walker caddie is an answer to this problem.
Items You Will Need:
- 2 Pieces of patterned or colorful fabric (the suggested size is 18″ x 36″). Choose a heavier fabric for one piece, such as heavy twill, canvas, or denim.
- Ribbon or ties at a length of 1 1/2 yards.
- 1/2 yard of a sew-on Velcro material.
- Place the heavier fabric piece of fabric facing the wrong side up. Fold up the two ends up to create a pocket. Fold the fabric (right sides) in half, and iron the fold to create a crease. Iron folds to create a sturdy and hard crease.
- Cut the ties or ribbon into four equal-length pieces. Lay the ironed fabric with the right side faced upward and pin the tie or ribbon next to the folds of the pocket. The next step involves pinning the Velcro material around 3 to 4 inches on either side of the fold in the center. Sew the ties and Velcro to your fabric.
- Position the other piece of the other fabric over the velcroed/tied piece (right sides together) and sew around each edge, stopping just before the corners to leave enough space to turn the right side outwards. Iron each edge and sew a topstitch around the edges.
- Make sure the hole that you left to turn the fabric on the right side out is now sewn closed. Fold the pockets and stitch down each side, using a backstitch to reinforce the edges along the top of the pocket.
- Sew a dividing line on each pocket, using backstitching along the edges at the top. Attach your completed project to the walker using the ties and Velcro.
4. Hanging Planters
For grandparents who love plants, this is one of those homemade gifts that will keep on giving.
What You Will Need:
- Ceramic hanging planter
- A handkerchief
- Mod Podge (a sealer, finish, or glue designed for arts and craft projects)
- A live plant
- Wrap the ceramic planter in a handkerchief, overlapping to make sure it lays flat. Use the Mod Podge to glue the handkerchief to the ceramic planter. Place the live plant into the planter.
5. Photo Coasters
Your senior loved one will enjoy their first cup of tea in the morning even more when they look down to see one of their grandchild’s smiling faces. To execute this project, print color or black and white photo onto cardstock paper (1/4 inch smaller than a white glazed tile).
Apply a glossy clear Mod Podge to the back of the image and stick it onto the tile (make sure it is centered). Brush the Mod Podge over the top to seal it.
Gifts To Knit Or Sew
1. Crochet Or Knit An Afghan Or Shawl
It is not easy to retain warmth as we get older. So, a homemade afghan or shawl is a fantastic gift when the temperature drops. To find easy patterns, go to:
2. Slippers Or Socks
Crochet or knit slippers or socks to keep your elderly loved one comfy and warm during the winter.
While it may seem easier to purchase these items online or at a store, the handmade versions are much warmer and will probably be more appreciated by older giftees.
You can find excellent patterns at:
3. Decorate Stockings
Buy a few pairs of plain stockings from a local craft store and some pom-poms, glitter, and fun paints to decorate the stockings.
To turn this into a personalized experience, get the grandkids together to turn it into a meaningful and memorable activity with your elderly loved one.
4. Sensory Blanket
This is a more specialized homemade gift for a loved one who may be suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or any other sensory issue. It offers a stimulating and soothing activity for restless hands while lying down or sitting.
What You Will Need:
- A sewing machine
- Stimulating decorations that are easy to handle and touch. Try to use different textures and items or even something that will remind the elderly person of their family or career. Some suggestions include different fabric textures, buckles, bells, zippers, buttons, strings, soft and squishy items, beads, or even keyrings.
- Two pieces of fabric for the back and the front (recommended size 56 x 47 cm)
- A fusible stiff stabilizer for each side (recommended size for one piece 56 x 47 cm)
Place the first fabric piece over a flat surface, ensuring it faces the right side. Lay the other piece over, making sure it is facing right-side down. Lay the stabilizer over each side and sew 3 of the edges (leave the 4th side open).
Turn the layers inside out, so the stabilizers are now between the two pieces. Sew the 4th side closed. Iron well so that the elements fuse together.
Now sew each side again to strengthen your base unit. Decorate the blanket with the items you have chosen. Be mindful of what would be most suitable for your loved one.
5. Make A Tea Towel Gift Out Of Scrap Fabric
If you are looking for a homemade gift for your senior loved one, a tea-towel craft is one of the easiest ways to show that you care.
What You Will Need:
- Tea Towel (You can buy online or at a local store)
- Fabric scraps
- Rotary cutter or scissors
- Sewing machine with a thread or a needle and thread
- White-colored pencil
- Mini pom-pom fringer (to use as a border for the tea towel)
- Straight pins
- Iron your tea towel so that it is free from any wrinkles. Trim your pieces of scrap fabric into 2.5″ x 2.5″. If you are using random lengths, ensure each height is the same.
- Begin by placing 2 of the 2.5″ squares together (facing the wrong sides). Sew a 1/4″ seam along one side. Repeat this process until the fabric strip has enough length to cross the size of the tea towel.
- Square the strip up by using a ruler across the edge (trim off any excess fabric). Iron one edge of the strip (1/4 of an inch). This is the side that is used in the final step.
- Use the white pencil to draw the line where the fabric strip will go. Trim and pin the strip facing the wrong side up. Fold the towel over to ensure that your trim is facing the right way once this happens.
- Sew along the layers you have pinned (use a 1/4″ seam allowance). Fold your fabric over and iron the fabric.
- The last step involves sewing the edge that you previously ironed using a 1/4″ and then a 1/16″. Do this for the edges as well.
Food Gift Ideas
1. Prepare A Tasty Treat Together
Getting your elderly loved one in your kitchen is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety and stress. Think about an old family favorite, pie, or cake you once enjoyed together.
This is an excellent hands-on activity that your loved one can enjoy and an easy way to spend quality time together.
2. Cookie Decorating
This is one of those fun Christmas-time activities that involve the whole family, including your elderly loved one.
Bake gingerbread men or cookies beforehand and then provide the decorations for the cookies. Think about gumdrop buttons, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and different flavored frostings.
3. Hot Chocolate In A Mason Jar
This ready-to-go package can make the perfect thoughtful and meaningful gift for an elderly loved one, especially when you are not great at baking or cooking items.
What You Will Need:
- Malted or powdered milk
- Cocoa powder
- Mason jars or 8-ounce jelly jars
- A funnel
- Extras: chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, peppermint or chocolate chips, etc.
- Business card-size cardstock
- Hole punch
- Ribbons, bows, or fabric to decorate the jar
Place a funnel over the mouth or the jar and pour in 1/4 cup of malted or powdered milk. Now pour in the cocoa powder (1/4 cup).
Add a pinch of salt and a 1/4 cup of sugar. Layer your extras (try for only 1/8 cup in each layer) until you reach the top. Screw the lid on tightly and decorate the outside of the jar with ribbons or fabric. Print the instructions on your cardstock.
- Bring a cup of full cream or skimmed milk to a boil on the stove.
- Pour three tablespoons of the hot chocolate mixture into the milk.
- Stir the mixture until dissolved.
4. Homemade Comfort Foods
As long as it is not conflicting with dietary restrictions, one of the best gifts for a resident in a nursing home is to prepare one of their favorite home-cooked snacks or meals.
Even when the facility prepares healthy and nutritious meals, nothing compares to a comforting dish or special recipe. Take your time to prepare the dish, and you can be sure that this will be a gift that your elderly loved one will treasure.
5. Breakfast Gift Basket
Everyone enjoys waking up to a breakfast that is ready to snack on. So when you put together a personalized basket for your senior, make sure you give thought to their favorite drinks and foods.
Personalize the gift basket with a card or note to show them how much you appreciate them. Fill the basket with tasty items such as muffins, cookies, fresh fruit, juice boxes, and a few unique flavored teas or coffees.
You can also include single-serving cereals that they can enjoy with fruit or as a tasty snack.
Senior citizens often experience times when they feel lonely and isolated, especially when they live alone or in a retirement facility. It is easy to make them feel better with thoughtful homemade gifts or by phoning them now and again.
Practical gifts will be used frequently and trigger happy memories of you and your siblings. Not much shows how much you care more than the well-thought-out homemade gifts you have made.