The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s time for holiday shopping, giving gifts, and making your list and checking it twice.
If you have an older adult in your life who’s a resident in an assisted living facility, you might be wondering what kinds of gifts you should buy. Giving the latest high-tech gadget might sound amazing, unless your loved one’s tech savviness isn’t particularly on par with yours. In that case, your expensive purchase might just be a frustration that keeps on giving.
So this holiday season, we’re taking the guesswork and stress out of your shopping list. We did the research and came up with 12 great holiday gift ideas perfect for just about any family member on your list who lives in an assisted living community. We divided the list up between great gifts for women and gift ideas for men. We even added in a few gift suggestions that would work for any older adult on your list.
So instead of all that time spent running from store to store, you can relax and scroll through our list from the comfort of your own couch. Just think of it as our holiday present to you.
Great gift ideas for a female assisted living resident
- Makeup or hair care items. Most assisted living facilities have a salon or spa where residents can have their hair done and their nails painted. Get a small assortment of nail polishes and lipsticks in the season’s fun or trendy colors. Or buy them their favorite hair spray or shampoos. If you know the brand of makeup they use, buy a new blush or eye shadow. Of course, not all ladies wear makeup. But they may appreciate some face lotion or moisturizer.
- Fashionable sweaters or scarves. To keep her warm and cozy, get her a couple of sweaters in her favorite colors or patterns. If she’s more of a scarf person, buy her a colorful pashmina she can wear as a scarf or use as a throw. And if she has a favorite NFL, NBA, baseball or college team, you can’t go wrong with a warm team hoodie or sweatshirt.
- Aromatherapy diffusers and humidifiers. Candles usually aren’t allowed in assisted living facilities because they’re a fire hazard. But she can still enjoy her favorite scents with an aromatherapy diffuser. Most are electric (some smaller models run on batteries). If her skin and sinuses get dry in the winter, a humidifier makes a great gift. Or combine the two and get a humidifier with aromatherapy. There are several on the market to choose from that offer both warm and cool mist.
- Flowers of the month. Who doesn’t love receiving flowers? They brighten up every room, they smell wonderful, and they make people feel happy. So send the senior lady in your life flowers every month. If she’s got a green thumb, a smart option is to give her some plants to nurture. Choose plants that match her environment (if she gets minimal light in her apartment, give plants that thrive in low light). And if she has outdoor space and likes to cook, consider giving her a container garden so she can grow herbs, spices, tomatoes, peppers and more.
Great gift ideas for a male assisted living resident
- A lap desk. If he likes to do crossword puzzles or sudoku, or enjoys spending time multitasking on his laptop while watching TV, a lap desk is just the ticket.
- A new dopp kit. Some men simply won’t leave their personal items out on their bathroom counter; other men like to take their items with them to the pool or fitness center to get ready after a workout. So a dopp kit is essential. There are some beautiful and highly functional kits available, bit whichever you pick, be sure to stock it with his favorite brand of shaving cream and razor, shampoo, soap, comb, deodorant and toothpaste.
- A pod coffee maker. If he’s a coffee drinker, but he doesn’t finish a full pot, a pod coffee maker is a great gift idea for him. These single-serve coffee makers make just one cup at a time, so he can switch from caffeinated to decaf, or try assorted flavors.
- A sketchpad or adult coloring book with colored pencils. These items make a great gift for the artistic type. Adult coloring books can be a perfect stress reliever because they have intricate designs that challenge the fine motor skills and attention span of even the most detail-oriented men.
Great gifts for any assisted living resident
- Gift cards. If an older adult enjoys going shopping online or ordering pizza for delivery, those would make great gift card ideas. Or if your loved one enjoys praising and thanking certain staff members, get several gift cards in $5 or $10 amounts so your loved one can hand them out to employees throughout the year. Just be sure that isn’t violating any community policy: Some assisted living communities prohibit staff from accepting gifts from residents.
- An assortment of greeting cards with stamps. While some assisted living facilities have small sundries shops on-site, not all of them sell greeting cards. So your loved one might really appreciate getting a few general birthday, anniversary, graduation and condolence cards they can use for the right occasion. If you buy them an assortment of gift cards, your loved one can pop in a gift card, too!
- A digital picture frame. These make great gifts because there are no prints to manage — depending on the type of digital picture frame you buy, you can upload new pictures remotely so the images are always fresh. It’s a particularly unique personalized gift for new grandparents and great-grandparents who want to see how quickly the little one is growing. Setup usually involves little more than downloading an app to your phone and plugging in the picture frame.
- Bird feeders and food. Birds make beautiful visitors to an assisted living resident’s patio, balcony or back yard, and birding is a relaxing hobby. Buy a bird feeder that works for your loved one’s space; just make sure the feeder is feeding the birds, not the neighborhood squirrels. If your loved one enjoys going on walks through wooded areas of their community, consider buying them binoculars to help them spot and identify different species. Add a book on birds to make the gift complete.
Find even more wonderful holiday gift ideas — including many suggestions that don’t cost a lot of money but can be very meaningful. We also have some helpful tips for caregivers to take care of themselves for the holidays.
Where You Live Matters is powered by the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), a respected voice in the senior housing industry. ASHA primarily focuses on legislative and regulatory advocacy, research, and educational opportunities and networking for senior living executives, so they can better understand the needs of older adults across the country.