The Ultimate Thanksgiving Gift Guide for the Elderly


Give something meaningful to the elderly in your life this Thanksgiving. This year's ultimate guide covers everything from nostalgic memorabilia to health equipment to the perfect gift for their new home.

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thanksgiving gifts for seniors

Thanksgiving is a year when a lot express gratitude for the blessings in their lives. It is an excellent time to express your gratitude and appreciation to an older adult or senior citizen who has been helpful, kind, or supportive throughout the year.

Keep reading if you’re looking for gift ideas for a senior citizen or older adult. We’ve compiled a list of gift suggestions to help make this Thanksgiving one to remember for the older people in your life.

Thanksgiving gift guide for the elderly Infographic
© Graying With Grace – Reproducible With Attribution

Our Recommended Thanksgiving Gifts for Seniors and the Elderly

Here are some ideas for gifts for the elderly that you might find helpful.

Special Gifts for the Elderly

Cozy Fleece Wrap Shawl with Large Front Pockets - Keeps Hands and Shoulders Warm During Cold Winter Season, Winter White

1. Cozy Fleece Wrap Shawl

There are numerous reasons why a nice arm sweater is the best gift for an older adult.

Many sweaters are comfortable to wear and easy for elderly people to take on and off – especially open sweaters and shawls like this one. No buttons or fasteners to deal with!

Also, sweaters can help the elderly stay warm in cold weather or a drafty house. And, wearing a nice sweater you are proud to wear can make a person feel happy and relaxed!

Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light, Book Light for Reading in Bed, 3 Colors, 6 Brightness Levels, Bendable Arms, Rechargeable, Long Lasting, Perfect for Reading, Knitting, Camping, Repairing

2. Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light

from $21.99

Reading is the best gift that many people can receive. It encourages people to keep their minds active, learn new things, and pass on knowledge to future generations.

But, many older adults struggle with adequate lighting when reading. You’ll often see them sitting in uncomfortable positions, leaning toward the light to see better.

Reading lights like this can help tremendously because it sits around your neck and points right to your reading material! No adjustments or straining are needed!

Thanksgiving Gift Basket of Fruit

3. A Gift Basket


Senior citizens frequently appreciate special treats or valuable items that can make their lives more interesting regarding gift baskets.

Wine, gourmet snacks, chocolate, puzzle books, or hobby supplies are all good options depending on your loved one’s preferences.

Many companies offer a wide range of gift basket choices and even custom gift basket options!

Personalised Photo Album with Sleeves, Silp in album For 4x6 Photos, capacity 100/200/300 photos

4. A Personalized Photo Album


A personalized, handcrafted photo album allows seniors to relive their lives through photographs. It enables them to record and share their lives with others too.

This particular is made of fine, handcrafted leather and comes personalized with the name of the owner or other text you choose. Being personalized also helps keep it from getting lost for people residing in assisted living or nursing homes.


5. A Medical Alert System


Medical alert systems may seem like an odd gift but it’s one that many older adults simply won’t get for themselves. They fear looking old and the attention that carrying around a medical alert pendant would bring.

That’s why I like this one from Alert-1. It looks like a simple, basic watch yet it has many safety features to keep older adults safe.

This one unit is a full-featured medical alert system with emergency dispatch and has built-in fall detection and GPS tracking too!

Find and Circle Large Print Magazine Subscription Offers

6. Brain Games


Puzzles and brain-training games have many health benefits for older men and women.

Seniors who enjoy a mental challenge appreciate crossword puzzles, word searches, and sudoku books.

People who would enjoy a gift like this might also like any of our Thanksgiving games for older adults too!

Shiatsu Neck Back Massager with Heat,Massage Chair Pad,Deep Tissue Massage Seat,Adjustable Height Shiatsu Massager for Neck & Back Massage,Chair Massager for Full Body

7. A Massager

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There are numerous reasons why a massager is an ideal gift for seniors!

One reason is that older adults frequently experience muscle and joint tension and pain. A massage can help alleviate this stress and pain. Massages are also an excellent way to promote relaxation and well-being.

A massager is also a lovely gift for seniors because it can help improve circulation. Massages help enhance the flow of blood and lymph throughout the body, thereby improving overall health.

Weekly Pill Organizer 7 Day 2 Times a Day, Sukuos Large Daily Pill Cases for Pills/Vitamin/Fish Oil/Supplements (Black Box)

8. A Pill Organizer

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It is imperative that seniors are able to properly manage their medication.

A pill organizer is an excellent gift for senior citizens because it makes taking medication more organized and convenient. They can take just a few minutes each week to separate out their meds and have them ready for the week.

This particular model has slots for morning and evening pills ad is color-coded. Plus, the trays are small and remove easily making them hight portable. So, it’s easy to grab your meds and go when needed.

HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine | Portable Sleep Therapy for Home, Office, Baby & Travel | 6 Relaxing & Soothing Nature Sounds, Battery or Adapter Charging Options, Auto-Off Timer Sound Spa

9. Sleep Sound Machine

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A sleep sound machine is an excellent tool to help older adults fall and stay asleep.

The rhythmic noises help drown out snoring spouses or facility noises. Choose from White Noise (my favorite), Thunder, Ocean, Rain, Summer Night, and Brook

This particular device’s sound can be customized to the preferences of each user. The buttons are easy to read and the control knob is easier for seniors to use too!

Easy Thanksgiving Coloring Book: Large Print Designs

10. Adult Coloring Book

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Giving an adult coloring book to an older adult has both physical and mental benefits.

The repetitive movements of coloring are an excellent way for seniors and the elderly to practice and tune their fine motor skills. Working to stay in the lines requires skill and practice.

Mentally, processing the colors and concentrating on the patterns and coloring action helps keep the mind engaged and activated.

Plus, coloring is a fun and relaxing way for seniors to spend some time and end up with a beautiful to look at for their efforts.

BYRIVER Acupressure Foot Massage Slippers Shoes Sandals, Reflexology Massager Tools, Relieve Back Tension Pressure Arthritis Pain, Present Gifts for Dad Mom(05L)

11. Accupressure Foot Massage

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Foot massage is an excellent way to relax and rebalance the body as shown to increase circulation, reduce pain, and keep the feet happy!

Foot massage has numerous advantages, including:

  • Relaxation and stress alleviation
  • Better circulation
  • Reduce discomfort
  • Keep your feet happy.

The concept of acupressure foot massage is that applying pressure to specific points on foot can help relieve body tension and pain.

Deluxe Herb Garden Kit – 8 Variety Herb Garden Kit Indoor and Outdoor – Get Growing w/Pots, Potting Soil, and Detailed Gardening Guide for Window Herb Garden - DIY Gardening Kit Gifts for Women & Men

12. Organic Herb Kitchen Gardening Kit

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Gardening is an excellent hobby for the elderly. It can help keep them active while also providing them with nutritious food to eat! Plus, it’s a great way to get in touch with nature.

If outdoor gardening isn’t possible, a kitchen herb gardening kit like this one is the next best thing. This gift allows them to enjoy gardening and growing in a more secure environment.

Several kits are available, including the necessary tools and supplies. Seeds, soil, plants, and even devices like hoes and shovels include in some kits.

The Mental Wealth Box - Mental Health, Self-Care Subscription Box

13. Mental Wealth Box


My next suggestion is a subscription box gift for seniors but it can also be purchased one time only if you aren’t ready to sign up for a subscription.

Each box contains four to six mental health and self-care items that help relieve feelings of uneasiness, worry, and unhappiness that can overwhelm anyone.

Examples of past boxes’ content include educational books, yoga techniques, essential oils, herbal tea blends, and journals.

Reusable microwave heat pad. Rice and flaxseed heating pad. Heat pack reusable. Rice heating pad. Heat pad reusable. Heat pad

14. Reusable Microwave Heat Pad


Our bodies produce less heat as we get older. So, it’s more difficult to stay warm in colder temperatures, especially in the winter.

Also, heating pads are a good treatment for some of the aches and pain related to aging.

So, a gift like this has multiple purposes: it can both warm up a cold body and help soothe pain and discomfort.

Just pop it in the microwave to heat up the pad. Then use it as needed.

For some people, this is a safer option than using an electric heating pad. And, it’s cheaper too!

CrystalBliss Aromatherapy Candle

15. Aromatherapy Candles


Aromatherapy candles make excellent gifts for the elderly.

These candles are available in several scents, including lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint. Scents like these help alleviate stress, anxiety, and fatigue.

These candles are natural, coconut wax candles and were featured in Oprah magazine as a favorite.

They have a secret too! Each candle contains a crystal that is exposed after the wax has burned away!

General Gift Buying Tips

Gift-giving is a great way to show someone you care, but it’s also a skill that can develop after some practice. Here are some tips for finding the perfect gift.

1. Think About the Person You’re Buying for

Make the gift thoughtful and personal by considering what makes them happy (or at least smiley). What do they like? What do they talk about? What things do they share on social media?

2. Discover the Person’s Area of Interest or a Need 

The individual’s area of interest or need can range from cooking to gardening to music.

It is critical to get to know the person and learn about their interests and hobbies so that you can surprise them with a gift that is relevant to their interests.

For example, if the person enjoys cooking, try to give them a cookbook or cooking utensils.

3. Make Sure that the Gift is Age Appropriate

Make sure the gift is age and interest appropriate. For example, if your mother collects antiques, then getting her an e-reader may not be the best idea.

Instead, search for a one-of-a-kind book – the older, the better! Include a personal, handwritten note on some nice antique linen paper explaining why you chose this particular item!

4. Ask Them Directly What They Want

With people living all over now, it’s difficult to really get to know their interests, desires, and wants. So, there is nothing wrong with coming right out and asking them what they want. Knowing what they truly want will help you choose a gift they will appreciate.

5. Do Not Be Afraid to Give DIY Gifts

Giving handmade items is a simple way to save money on gifts. But, it also shows you are because you used your own, precious time to make the gift. That’s why homemade gifts usually mean more a store-bought tchotchkes. (See some of our favorite homemade gift ideas here.)

If you’re stuck for ideas, browse their Pinterest boards for inspiration on their style and interests.

DIY gifts are especially appreciated and helpful when included in a Thanksgiving care package for a senior or elderly person.

6. Give Items that will Pamper the Person

The idea here is to give an older person a gift they might not be able to afford or would find helpful.

You could provide a more senior person a nice, high-end manicure set (for their hands), a box of hand-knitted wool socks, a gift certificate for a massage, or a even subscription to Netflix.

Summary and Final Recommendations

The best gift for seniors and the elderly are sentimental gifts. If you are unsure what to get them, try to get them a gift that will remind them of their past. For example, if they grew up in the 1950s, give them a framed photo of their family from that era.

Because some older folks are just notoriously difficult to buy for, sometimes it is best to just ask them what they want. If you are unsure what they want, you can ask their friends and family or even caregivers who spend a lot of time with them. 

It’s no secret that Thanksgiving is a big day for the entire family. It’s also a great time to bring a small gift to show that you love them and care for them. It might help relieve some of the stress the holidays may bring.

We hope this guide has helped you find some great ideas for how to bring your loved ones together this year! Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below!


Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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