27 Gifts to Surprise and Delight Your Older Parents or Grandparents
Your elderly parents have everything; don’t give the “gift” of more stuff! These thoughtful, creative gift ideas for older moms, dads, and grandparents will show your love without cluttering up their home. Here, you’ll find the right gift and the perfect way to say “I love you” to your elderly parents, older grandparents, or aging stepparents.
The Memories for My Grandchild: A Keepsake to Remember is one of the best (and bestselling) gift ideas for older parents who have everything. It’s a journal that gently and creatively encourages grandparents to write their life story for their kids and grandkids. The journal features guided questions and prompts to help your elderly parents remember important moments from their past. The questions will help your parents remember and share memories about their childhood and teen years, education, love, marriage, work, community, religion, military service, parenthood, family life, and, of course, grandparenthood! This journal has an inside back cover pocket in which to store keepsakes and notes, and contains creamy smooth pages that are beautiful and easy to write on.
The rest of my gift ideas are a combination of practical ideas (such as the indoor weather station and the Roomba robotic vacuum) and creative gifts (the gorgeous Secret Garden Wall calendar – delightful! 🙂 ). Remember that if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on a gift for your older parents or grandparents, you might ask your family members to pitch in financially. Pooling your money to buy a Christmas or holiday gift for grandparents may be the best solution for all family members, because finding the right gift for elderly parents is challenging for everyone. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place! These practical and thoughtful gift ideas for elderly parents will help you find what you’re looking for…
The most important gift you can give an elderly mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa is your time. Don’t buy them something just to give them a present to open this Christmas. Instead, think of ways to spend good quality time with your elderly parents or grandparents. They’re aware that their time is limited, they love you deeply, and they want to visit with you more often.
Ok, I’ll stop lecturing and get down to business. If your dad or grandpa (or even your mom or grandma) loves cars, read Vroom! The Best Gifts for Car Enthusiasts and Guys Who Love to Drive.
Gifts for Older Parents and Elderly Grandparents Who Have Everything
Before you get too caught up in searching for the best gift for your parents or grandparents, remember that you can do no wrong! Parents, grandpas, and grandmas love you no matter what.
The other thing to remember when you’re looking for gifts for elderly parents is that they don’t need or want more stuff to put on their shelves and coffee tables. Stuff is clutter, clutter makes life more complicated, and complications are dull and life-sucking. So don’t give gifts that are meant to sit on shelves, bookcases, etc. Instead, consider these gift ideas…
Convenient and current weather monitoring system
The AcuRite Color Weather Station Display & 5-in-1 Weather Environment System is my top gift pick for older parents or grandparents this year. I just ordered one on Amazon – it has a clear, simple display of the temperature outside and inside, the wind speed and direction, and the rainfall. This version also includes a “My AcuRite Remote Monitoring App”, which may be more than your aging parents need. This is one of the best and most important gifts for older people because they often need and like to monitor the weather. Snow, rain, and heat directly affects their daily activities and safety.
iRobot Roomba robot vacuum
The iRobot Roomba 650 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner is for all floor types: carpets, tile, laminate and more. It’s Amazon’s #1 bestseller in indoor commercial robotic vacuums and floor cleaners. The iRobot is a wonderful gift for elderly parents and grandparents because it’s simple (just press Clean and the robot gets to work) and self-charging (it automatically docks and recharges, so Roomba is always ready to clean).
This robotic vacuum cleaner has a patented, 3-Stage Cleaning System that easily picks up dust, pet hair and large debris like cereal. This is the perfect gift for older parents who have everything; they simply need to preset Roomba to clean when it’s convenient for them, so they can keep up with everyday messes. Roomba works on all floor types, and at just 3.6 inch tall, is specifically designed to fit under most furniture, beds and kickboards.
Robotic floor cleaner for hardwood and linoleum
The O-Cedar O-Duster Robotic Floor Cleaner is a useful, thoughtful gift for elderly parents who still live in their own home (without carpets) but have a hard time cleaning.
This is one of those gifts for older parents who have everything except carpets and rugs! This robot floor cleaner will help your elderly parents or grandparents keep the floors clean, teach their aging brains something interesting as they learn how to work it, and even give them something new to talk about. The O-Duster’s auto-navigation feature effectively covers all hard floor surfaces, giving elderly parents time to rest or do other important things in life. The flexible base is designed to reach into corners and along edges while the compact design slips under sofas, beds and other furniture to grab dust and pet hair.
A practical, user-friendly Apple tablet
The Apple iPad Air 2 HDD Tablet is one of my top gift choices for elderly parents and grandparents. My husband gave me a MacBook Pro last year for Christmas, and I will never go back to a Toshiba laptop or Galaxy tablet! I love the simplicity and speed of my laptop – though it did take me a few weeks to learn how to fully use all the features.
Your parents may not need a Mac, but they will love their iPad. Apple tablets take no time to boot up or shut down, they’re light and easily portable, they’re user-friendly, the apps load quickly, the interface is reliable, there are no virus threats, and Apple offers word processing, spreadsheets, and email accounts free of charge.
An easy way to make morning and afternoon coffee
The Keurig Elite Brewing System Coffee Maker was most exciting gift my older parents-in-law received last year.
At first, I thought this coffee machine was a waste of money…until I woke up the next morning and needed a cup of coffee. Bliss, not to have to root around in my mother-in-law’s cupboards for coffee grounds and filters! Now she doesn’t have to brew a full or half pot of coffee when a visitor comes over. This is a thoughtful and practical gift for older parents because they’d never think to buy it themselves.
A warm pillow massager
The Zyllion Shiatsu Pillow Massager With Heat is a useful gift for parent or grandparent who has the normal aches and pains of an elderly person. She may feel aches and pains that he or she never felt before, and this deep-kneading shiatsu massager has nodes to help relax and relieve muscle tightness.
The heating function soothes aching muscles, and the ergonomic design is perfect to use on lower- and upper-back, neck, abdomen, calf, and thigh areas. The adjustable strap secures the cushion to a favorite chair, and the massager is equipped with an Overheat Protection Device and programmed with 20-minute Auto Shut-Off to ensure safety.
Winter gloves to keep arthritic hands warm
ISOTONER Womens Unlined Leather Palm Driving Gloves is where I’d start. Why? Because when I visit my in-laws, I always forget to bring my gloves! We live in a warmer place than they do, and I always borrow my mother-in-law’s gloves. And every time, I wish I would’ve bought her a pair for Christmas.
A good pair of leather gloves is a good give idea for older parents and elderly grandparents….unless they live in Maui, Arizona, Florida, or Mexico.
Build a bridge to family and friends
Hire a “personal secretary” to visit your parents once a week to write letters, print emails, send birthday cards, or even run errands. Retiree Maggie Rayner of Vancouver, BC, says, “We hired a young woman, Daniyel, who had just completed a care aid program. When the family sent emails to my mom, Daniyel printed them, and Mom dictated her reply for Daniyel to email back. Mom loved it.”
Maggie adds that her mom was demanding of family members, so this serviced lightened their load and assuaged their guilt and regret of not living closer.
A digital keyfinder
The KeyRinger Key Finder is one of the best gift ideas – and not just for older parents and elderly grandparents! My husband (who is not old….yet) lost his keys to the garage for three weeks the last time we visited my in-laws at Christmas. My mother-in-law found them at the bottom of the recycling bin, which contained piles of holiday wrapping. If we had a Key Finder, we wouldn’t have lost our keys.
The Key Finder pictured is loud, extremely durable, and operates up to 300 feet. It includes two KeyRingers – which “communicate” with each other. They’re ready to use right out of the package – no setup or programming required. There is also a full 90 day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee and a two year warranty on this gift for elderly parents.
A gorgeous handpainted handbag
An Anuschka Hand Painted Large Handbag with Front Pockets is my absolute favorite “luxury gift idea” this year – whether you’re gift shopping for older parents, elderly grandparents, or your teenage daughter.
The Anuschka handbags are so beautiful. They are handpainted works of art that are also practical, durable, and whimsical. This one of those gifts an older parent would never buy for herself (or himself!!), but she would absolutely love to receive it.
It’s a splurge, to be sure. But it’ll last forever, and your mom will cherish it.
Fridge magnet picture frame
The Magnetic Picture Frame Collage for the Refrigerator will keep family photos organized and easy to see. This one holds ten 4×6 photos, and won’t slide down the fridge if the door is slammed. The picture collage is an affordable gift idea for elderly parents or older grandparents who have everything – especially if they don’t live close to you or the rest of their family. You can organize a variety of family photos in the picture frame, and they’ll enjoy the creative collage you make.
The most important thing to remember when you’re shopping for elderly parents is the best gifts come from your understanding of who they are and what’s important to them.
A book about their memoirs – or session with a life history writing service
Letters to My Grandchild: Write Now. Read Later. Treasure Forever is a creative gift idea for aging parents. It’s different than a traditional book about writing your memoirs, and less intimidating than hiring a professional life history writer to write your mom or dad’s life story.
Many people don’t realize how much history is lost when their grandparents or elderly parents pass on, and they regret not writing down their family’s life history. This “Oprah’s Pick” holiday gift for older parents consists of 12 prompted letters, which offer an immediate way for grandparents to give the gift of a lifetime to their children and grandchildren. When favorite memories and words of wisdom are sealed with the included stickers and postdated for future opening, this paper “time capsule” becomes a priceless heirloom for generations to cherish.
Dig out the shoeboxes of photos – and give the gift of time
“My parents have tons of photos in packages in a box,” says Allison Sommes. “I bought them photo albums and started labeling and putting them in albums, mainly with my mom, to help her remember people. This gives her something meaningful to look through.”
It’s also a great way to spend time together and strengthen bonds between generations (bring your kids to the scrapbooking parties!). A related gift idea is to hire a professional to write your parents’ life history – or do it yourself with a book, such as To Our Children’s Children: Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come by Bob Greene.
Organize volunteer visits
Loneliness is a constant companion to many elderly people – and it’s unhealthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. To arrange regular visits to your aging parents grandparents, set up an online calendar of needs and invite siblings, cousins and friends to participate. At VolunteerSpot, people can sign up to take turns bringing a meal once a week, offer a ride to the beauty parlor, or help around the house. And, it’s free! This is especially helpful if you don’t live near your parents or you can’t help as much as they need.
“Knowing several people are providing caring gestures all month relieves some pressure – and guilt – in caring for elderly parents,” says VolunteerSpot coordinator Karen Bantuveris. This way, elderly parents don’t need to ask for help or call for a visit – and you can feel confident you’re giving the much-needed gift of attention.
Have your grandparents or parents struggled with health issues lately? If they’re recovering from surgery, you may find Post Surgery Gift Ideas to Help With Recovery and Healing helpful.
Help writing a memoir – voice software for elderly parents
Many elderly people like the idea of writing their life history, but the challenge is typing or writing it on paper. And, many people find it easier to talk about their memories and experiences rather than typing or writing them down.
Dragon Naturally Speaking Home 13.0, English is the perfect solution – it’s voice recognition software that automatically converts voice to text. Then, of course, the text needs to be edited. So, the next stage of this gift idea for parents who have everything is editing their memories for them – or with them. This could be a family project that allows you to spend time to spend together with a focus or goal to work towards. And, helping your parent write his or her memoirs will give you so much insight into their lives and memories.
A beautiful nightlight booklight lamp
I recently discovered the Lumio Nightlight Booklight — a book-shaped lamp that you don’t plug in – and I had to include it in this list of gifts for elderly people and old parents who have everything. When you open the book, it turns on; when you close the book, it turns off.
The LED lamp’s usage is flexible and creative; it can be used as nightlight, droplight, desk lamp, unique decoration, outdoor light, etc. This is a great gift for older parents and grandparents because it’s delightful and creative.
This beautiful lamp is featured on 14 “Sleepytime” Gifts for Insomniacs and People Who Can’t Sleep (so if your elderly person doesn’t sleep well, you might head over there).
A family locket for elderly parents who have everything
The Sterling Silver Engraved Picture Heart Locket is one of my favorite gifts for older parents. It’s an especially beautiful gift for an elderly grandma because she can carry her loved ones close to her heart. The one pictured can hold four family photos – of course, you’d have to insert the photos before you give the gift.
If you want to express your love for your elderly parents with a gift – but don’t want to make a big purchase – read 15 Small Gift Ideas for All Occasions.
Tickets to the Cirque de Soleil, concerts, sporting events
I once lived next to a little old lady who had season’s tickets to the city’s hockey team (the Edmonton Oilers!). She went to every game, and took a different person with her every time. It was fun — I went with her once — and I think it kept her young and lively. Tickets to events are one of the best gifts for grandparents because it’s something you can do together. It’s not more garbage or stuff; it’s an experience.
An automatic card shuffler
The Automatic Card Shuffler plus 6 Decks of Playing Cards is good because it’s made of wood. The plastic card shuffler I gave my in-laws is super duper loud. It works great, but it’s all plastic and it makes a horrendous sound when it shuffles the cards. We laugh about it – we have to issue a warning before using it because it drowns out all conversation.
A card shuffler is a good gift for elderly parents who like to play cards. A few years ago, I bought my in-laws a card shuffler, and we use it every year when we visit them. It’s a good gift for elderly parents who have everything, even if they only use it when you’re there (which is what I suspect my in-laws do!). But I’ve learned that kids like to use it, too – it’s actually a very useful gift for both the young and the old.
Plan a shindig – no gifts allowed! – to celebrate your elderly parents
Musician Julie Vik’s parents are in their mid-80s – and they still like to party. “I’ve hired a band to play at their house a few times,” she says. “I invite their friends, and hire a caterer. My parents still feel like they’re graciously entertaining without having to do a thing.” She explains that this gives them back their power, especially since they loved to entertain when they were able. “I let them decide on things that don’t stress them out, such as the guest list and napkins.
Having it at their own home – not somewhere else – is the key. Let them be hosts again.” Hire a cleaner to come in before and after the party, to help your parents prepare and clean up.
A memory quilt gift idea for elderly parents
This would be an awesome project to embark on togther! In Quilts from the House of Tula Pink: 20 Fabric Projects to Make, Use and Love, Tula Pink offers 10 large quilt patterns and 10 accessory sewing projects, such as an embroidered lampshade and a fabric cuckoo clock. She offers guidance on choosing and combining fabrics, selecting a quilt motif, and even sketching your own fabric and pattern designs. The step-by-step illustrations and simple sewing techniques will help you and your parent or grandparent create a beautiful gift together.
Or you can make your own memory quilt out of baby clothes, army uniforms (if your grandparent or dad served in the military), wedding dresses, and other unique clothes or heirlooms is a very special gift. Quilts are practical and creative gifts for elderly parents who have everything, especially if you make it yourself – or you make it with them.
A book or class about computers or the internet for seniors
Many grandparents can’t keep in touch through email, Facebook, Twitter, or their children’s blogs because they don’t know how. So, a book or class about computers and the internet – such as Internet for Seniors in Easy Steps – For the Over 50’s – would not only connect them and you, it would keep your grandparents’ brains young, improve their memories, and help them stay in touch with technology. This isn’t the best Christmas gift for grandparents because it’s a little ho-hum, but it’s practical.
A preloaded Kindle Fire
The All-New Kindle Fire HD Tablet is an excellent Christmas gift for older parents because Kindles are light, easy to adjust, and easy to understand.
You can preload the Kindle with all sorts of books, which means you’re giving your elderly loved ones more than just a Kindle. Kindles are less expensive than the iPad or other type of tablet for elderly parents, which means both you and your parents will be happy.
Gourmet treats gift basket – and time together
Remember how I said the best gift ideas for elderly parents who have everything is time spent together? Well, you could give them a Victorian Lace Gourmet Tea Gift Basket and Chest with Clock, and tell them you’ll visit every week or every two weeks to enjoy the treats together.
If you know your parents like to treat themselves to gourmet teas and food, consider a gift card to their favorite restaurant or store. Practical, thoughtful gift certificates for elderly parents include restaurants, beauty salons, health spas, community centers, gas stations, grocery stores, and continuing education classes.
If your elderly parents or grandparents struggle with early stages memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease, read 17 Cheerful Gifts for People With Dementia or Memory Loss.
Yoga for older parents
I gave my elderly mother-in-law the Yoga DVD for the Rest of Us: Easy Yoga for Arthritis because I know she likes to do yoga, but can’t always get to the seniors yoga class. This home-based yoga DVD for elderly parents is a great gift — especially if you pair it with something fun and light-hearted, such as…
The Yoga Dogs Wall Calendar is a creative gift idea that goes well with the yoga for older parents DVD. All the dogs in the yoga poses are smiling, and I think my mother-in-law will get a kick out of the wall calendar. Plus, it’s motivation to keep doing yoga. If the dogs can do it, so can our elderly parents 🙂
A beautiful wall calendar for the new year
The Secret Garden Wall Calendar is a bestselling gift on Amazon because of its beauty and usefulness.
Described as an “an enchanting gift for gardeners” – though I’m not a gardener and I love flower calendars! – this is a gift that will lift your elderly parent’s spirits and bring fresh life to your grandma’s home. Each month features a gorgeous outdoor sanctuary swathed in green, abloom with vibrant flowers, filled with the calming sounds of birdsong and trickling water. Give the gift of beautiful retreats from all over the world: an English garden beckons with frilly pink roses, a canopy of fiery red Japanese maple leaves is reflected in the still waters of the pond below, and a cottage garden awash in lupine exemplifies cheerful abundance.
Here’s what you can write in your grandparent’s gift card: “Follow the narrow path, unlatch the gate, peek over the aged stone wall…a slice of paradise awaits.”
An annual membership to a local zoo, aquarium, or museum
Some grandparents would love to round up a few friends and go to fun places like the aquarium or zoo! For others, it’s a great way to spend time with grandchildren. A gift of an annual membership could encourage the family to spend more time together and get to know each other in a different way.
If you know your elderly parent has just a short time left, you might find 17 Comforting Gifts for Someone at the End of Life helpful.
Radio with remote control
An Alarm – Clock Radio Docking Station with Remote is the gift my husband and I gave his elderly parents (who have everything and more!) last year. It’s a gift for older people that makes their life easier – and it’s especially helpful because it has a remote control. Grandpa and grandma can turn the volume up and down without having to get up.
A monthly flower bouquet – a whimsical gift for older parents
A monthly bouquet of flowers, roses, tulips, or your mom’s favorite flower is a wonderful gift that will remind her that you love her – and all year long. Same with a monthly bottle of red wine or Scotch for dear old dad, or perhaps a gourmet coffee, chocolate, nut and dried fruit basket for grandparents who love to snack.
If one or both of your older parents are caregivers, read 10 Thoughtful Gifts for Caregivers.
Quick Gift Ideas for Elderly Parents
- Weekly “how to use your iPad or Kindle” lessons for two months
- Subscription to a local newspaper or a favorite magazine
- Gift certificates to a taxi cab service, favorite restaurant or coffee shop
- Donation to a church, charity, or health organization in their name
- Home made gift certificates for yard work, housecleaning, or decluttering
- Gift certificates to a beauty parlor or health spa
- A gift card for their local community centre (yoga for seniors, water aerobics, and hot tubs are good for those old bones!)
You’ve reached the end of my gift guide for elderly parents and grandparents – it’s time to scroll back up and click on the gift that resonates with you! And remember: the best gift ideas for grandparents and elderly parents involve stuff that you can do together. Don’t just give your grandpa and grandma another picture frame. Give gifts that encourage y’all to spend time as a family. Experiences create memories that money can’t buy. By the way — what awesome, creative gift for elderly parents have I missed? Tell me below…I’d love to add a few ideas to this list.
If your parents or grandparents are young at heart, read 40th Birthday Gift Ideas to Surprise and Delight Her. Seriously! There are some fun and creative gifts there that will add pizzazz to their and your holiday season.
Happy shopping 🙂