10 Gift Ideas for Grandma or Elder Neighbors

Senior gift ideas by Francy Dickinson


Hard to believe, my nephews, Dan n Jeff have grown families of their own and have helped me so much this last year as I moved out of our family home

Dear Francy; OK so what I wanted to help you with is ideas for gifts for Elders at Xmas…So here it goes…F.


Neighbors need your attention. I am sure you have a few “live alone” neighbors your way. Please do not forget them, even if they are younger…they need to know that others care about them and Holiday time is so hard for those alone.

A small bag filled with a card and sweets is the easy thing…hang on the door knob and leave. You do not have to spend time with them if you do not want to. You can just gift your kindness. Tuck in a little candy, or a few cookies in a Ziplock, a bar of pretty soap, a $5 gift card to Starbucks or McDonald’s. Whatever you do for your gifting of thanks…do it for those that are on their own.

We just lost a gentleman in the neighborhood due to suicide. He had kept care of his wife with Alzheimer’s for years and when she died, he was exhausted and just retreated into his empty life. I did not know him…so I was not aware of any of this and it still hurts my heart. Sometimes, a small chat with a neighbor gives them comfort. So, a gift bag surprise could change a person’s personal outlook on the world…to one of “someone cares about me” or “I belong here”  or even more important “I feel safe here”. Gift your kindness. Even a gift card for some lawn cutting in the summer would be a fun one. Be creative and think about those around you. Gifting to others in formal charities is wonderful, this time of year…but those that are close and alone…they are the perfect place to begin.


Mother enjoyed giving & receiving gifts up to her passing at 100 years of age!

Mother enjoyed giving & receiving gifts up to her passing at 100 years of age!

Always saying; “I don’t need anything.” Is really the truth when you start to age. But getting a gift at holiday time, no matter how small, is a fun thing that everyone enjoys. Here are some senior ideas.

  1. Small bag with card and treats. Sweet tooth’s never die. Seniors love sweets. So a few candy treats, or homemade cookies are perfect. But, your own grocery store has wonderful bakeries that have individual cakes, pies and cheese cakes that come in plastic, easy to gift, containers. They are all decorated and look pretty and give the senior a feeling of being special.
  2. Fruits: Fruits that are special like grapes, berries, cut pineapple, small winter sweet oranges, apples dipped in caramel. These are things that seniors like to “piece on”. Easy for you and a lasting treat that many seniors do not spend money on for their own enjoyment. Obviously, cheeses, deli meats and crackers or specialty holiday breads are also a fun surprise. OH and an old fashion one ~ is dates…nice California dates that are sweet and other dried fruits.
  3. Things for personal: nice soaps that you find in the bath department, something that is handmade is so special for a senior, instead of the usual Dial soap. You could also add new shower mat and a nice big bath towel that’s a great one. Seniors tend to keep their towels and bed linen for years and new ones add a freshness to their lives.
  4. I love gifting hand cream that is special. Goat milk hand cream or healing hand creams. It just is something everyone enjoys using but seldom buy. On that; a new tube of toothpaste and a battery toothbrush. Lots of elders have never tried a battery toothbrush and you can get it all ready and talk about it a bit to take away any worry over its use. That will doll up their day!
  5. A large read-out Atomic clock. George loved his and he had an auto outside temperature read-out on it too. You get the clock and place it where it’s easy to see. You put in the battery and that is that. If you add the outside temp you get a small battery run remote to hang outside your back door. The senior does not have to change or set the clock, it is all done automatically for them each night via the Oregon lab and seniors love it. (No WiFi needed)
  6. Handy tools for the kitchen or the handyman. Now what I mean is this; many older people stop buying kitchen utensils or small tools for their quick repairs. All of these things, have been updated the last few years. A plug-in lite that goes on if the power goes off, it has LED lights and is really bright. A light weight screwdriver that is battery-electric with a few heads or a can opener that is easy for the older hand to use. A plug-in hot water pot, so there is never a forgotten pot left on the stove. These are the thoughtful things that will change the ability for a senior to stay alone in their home or apartment. Maybe a return-again visit and go through and clean out their junk drawer with dividers so they can open it up and find anything they need for quick use. (How many rubber bands can a guy have in a junk drawer? J
  7. New front and back welcome mats. This is a simple fix, but mats that take away the dirt, and keep the wet from coming into the house on the carpet…it’s a big deal. Bet your senior has not changed theirs’ in years.
  8. Plastic glides for under chairs or heavy furniture. If the senior has a favorite chair, can they even move it? Probably not; it’s now too heavy for them. These simple chair glides will help them move around the big table or chairs they use often. (Ace Hardware has them)
  9. A holder for their cell phone. Seniors tend to lose their cell phones even in small spaces. I little holder for the cell phone is perfect. Taking time to add new phone numbers or make sure their smart phones are organized and not confusing is also so helpful. Don’t forget Jitterbug makes phones for seniors that are easy to see as well as use.
  10. Led and long lasting light bulbs. This is a really, great thing. Seniors often have trouble with changing lights. How about you bring over a few of the newer long life lights and do a few replacements of lights that are needed and used the most. Front porch, kitchen lights, light by their TV chair, bathroom lights…this is a very thoughtful gift and will be appreciated for years to come. Even if it is a simple one, its important. Keeping seniors off step ladders is a must, so this is a life-savor too!

Seniors do not need fancy things, expensive things or another sweater. They need things that they use every day and that need updating. I once brought over a shower curtain liner and put it up for my mom with a new bath tub mat. She could have never done the shower curtain it was too much for her to stretch. She called me and thanked me for weeks after. She said that she did not realize how dingy her old ones had gotten and how she enjoyed the new ones so much. Simple shower curtain liner…hello, who knew that would make me her favorite daughter? (OK, it didn’t my sister Merrilee was her favorite, but it gave me points!

Gift Holiday cheer and love to your loved ones and neighbors…and thank you for care giving your time to others. It’s a very kind gift to give your love, time for a chat and tea together with a senior. Just picking up a Starbucks coffee and bringing to the senior and spending a half hour in chat is a gift that lasts.

Blessings on your holidays…f.

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