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Inexpensive Anniversary Gift Ideas for Elderly Parents

These anniversary gift ideas are perfect for elderly parents who don’t want you to spend a lot of money. Instead of giving them an expensive, boring plate or picture frame for their anniversary – especially if it’s a 50th wedding anniversary! – give them a service or an experience.

gifts for parentsHere, several Baby Boomers share their anniversary gift ideas for elderly parents, ranging from hiring a personal secretary to finding the nearest yoga class for seniors. Some of these gifts require you to spend money, but not too much.

Two quick tips to kick us off: 1) If your parents are coping with memory issues, read 10 Best Gifts for People With Dementia or Memory Loss; and 2) Consider one of the most interesting anniversary gifts for elderly parents who like to read: a Kindle Digital Reader. It’s fantastic for older people who get frustrated at the lack of large print books available at the library or in the bookstore, and who who don’t want to haul books around.

Here are a few gift ideas for elderly parents who worry about you spending too much money…

Dig out the shoeboxes of photos of your elderly parents

“My parents have tons of photos in packages in a box,” says Suzanne, whose parents are both over 80 “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.”

Organizing your parents’ memories into a scrapbook is a great anniversary idea, and it doesn’t cost much money at all. It’s also a great way to spend time together and strengthen bonds between generations; you can bring your kids to the scrapbooking parties!

If you have difficult parents or can’t tackle a project like that, consider hiring 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

Organize volunteer visits for your elderly parents

Loneliness is a constant companion to many elderly people, it’s unhealthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. To arrange regular visits to your parents — especially if they have caregivers who need a break — 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. And, volunteers don’t require you to spend money, which will ease your parents’ mind!

Hire a secretary to 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. Baby boomer Maggie Rayner 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 gift idea for elderly parents lightened their load and assuaged their guilt and regret of not living closer.

Plan a shindig or wedding anniversary celebration

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 elderly parents 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.”

If it’s a wedding anniversary party, Julie recommends hiring a cleaner first. Yes, these tips for anniversary gifts do require you to spend money…unless you get volunteer family members to cater and clean.

Quick Anniversary Gift Tips That Don’t Cost Much Money

    1. Weekly “how to use the Internet” lessons for two months. Or, if you give an electronic device such as an iPad or Kindle, offer to teach them how to use it. Several lessons – not just one.
    2. Subscription to a local newspaper or a favorite magazine
    3. Gift certificates to a taxi cab service, favorite restaurant or coffee shop
    4. Donation to a church, charity, or health organization
    5. Home made gift certificates for yard work, housecleaning, or decluttering
    6. Gift certificates to a beauty parlor or health spa
    7. A gift card for their local community centre (yoga for seniors, water aerobics, and hot tubs are good for those old bones!)

is kindle a good gift for elderly parents?

A great anniversary gift idea for elderly parents or older couples is something that encourages them to learn. That’s another reason a Kindle Wireless Reading Device might be an interesting way to challenge and amuse them.

If you really want to shake things up, plan an anniversary party that takes your parents back to when they were kids. Or, read 10 Fitness Gifts That Encourage Health and Wellness :-)

If you have questions, thoughts, or creative anniversary gift ideas for elderly parents who don’t want you to spend money, please comment below…


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13 thoughts on “Inexpensive Anniversary Gift Ideas for Elderly Parents”

  1. My parents are both in their 90’s and I have been giving them a gift subscription to the large print Reader’s Digest. They love it as it has short stories and humorous articles, word power, etc. that can be read A little at a time. Oftentimes they do not want to read a book as when they continue reading it in a few days, they have to go back as their memory is not as good as it once was.

  2. I think if you’re looking to buy a gift such as a Kindle, it’s a good idea if other family members can club together. That way they get a great gift, but no one is left out of pocket. We got my Grandad a watch for his 70th and we all took that route.

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    That’s a great anniversary gift idea, Nathan! Thanks for sharing.

    The more I think about a Kindle for elderly people, the more I like it. I volunteered at a library for a few years, and we had countless older folk who were frustrated at the lack of large print books in the library. Large print books are bigger and harder to shelve (storage issues!), and aren’t as popular as regular print books.

    A Kindle solves this problem…I wonder if my husband and I should splurge on a Kindle for his parents for Christmas…they’re in their 70s and 80s, love to read, but can’t focus on print for long. I wonder if the Kindle screen would be better?

  4. My wife and I gave the parents a gorgeous photo album of the first three years of our marriage. My parents absolutely loved it!

  5. This may not seem like the most “creative” present, but it’s a practical one. I’ve found that the best thing for the elderly is to have a medical alarm system. I wrote about how having a medical pendant has allowed my grandparents to remain independent.