Bloomington / Normal, IL

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10 Gift Ideas for Older Adults


Submitted by Holly Hall, CDP, CMP, CPASRM, Executive Director, The Village at Mercy Creek

The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year. But when you’re trying to think of gift ideas for your parents, grandparents, or other older adults in your life, the holidays can also be the most frustrating time of the year. What do you give someone who has everything they need and want?  And if they live in an assisted living community, where everything they need is provided, it can be extra challenging to find a thoughtful gift that won’t clutter things up and that they will actually use. Don’t despair—following are 10 great gift ideas that are sure to bring a smile to their face.

  1. Digital picture frame. A digital photo frame can hang on the wall or be placed on a surface—just like any regular picture. You just plug them in, upload photos, and it’s ready to go. The best part is that others can send photos directly to the frame from their own smartphones so your loved one is always seeing the latest photos. Once it is set up (by a tech savvy person) it is super easy to use and requires absolutely zero technical skills on the user end.
  2. Weather monitor. Even if your loved one doesn’t plan to go outside, they like to know what the weather is like. A digital device inside can clearly display the current conditions, as well as the forecast. These wireless systems do require some initial set up. Alternatively, you could opt for a simple outdoor thermometer that can be viewed from the window.
  3. Luxurious comfort. Most seniors don’t pamper themselves, and might love a luxurious robe, a wearable blanket, or super soft and cozy loungewear. Some of the newer fabrics are amazing!  Fancy toiletries like lotion, soap, or body creams are always useful and add something a little special to daily routines.
  4.   New coffeemaker, espresso maker, or French press. For those that enjoy coffee but refuse to spend $7 for a cup of “fancy coffee” at a coffee shop, an at-home espresso maker or French press can be a fun idea. A single-cup brew coffee maker, such as a Keurig, is a perfect option for trying many different flavors.
  5. Robotic vacuum cleaner. While these can get a bit pricey, it’s on this list because the newer ones work really well and eliminates at least one chore around the house—especially if they have a cat or dog. Plus, they are fun to show it off to their friends.
  6. Gift cards. Before you roll your eyes, consider how much you appreciate gift cards when they’re from a place you actually like to go. Or have some fun and buy gift cards in small denominations to a variety of places—movie theater, restaurants, retail stores, nail salons, etc. Get creative and make a “gift card bouquet.”
  7. Subscription boxes. There are subscription boxes for almost every category you can think of including flowers, snacks, crafts, tea, or puzzles. These can be set up to ship every month or just a few months depending on your budget. The love keeps coming all winter long with a monthly gift box.
  8. A bird feeder. These can give hours of pleasure watching birds and squirrels. They can be installed on a shepherd’s hook outside a ground floor window, or there are ones that can be attached to a window with suction cups.
  9. Pre-addressed and stamped greeting cards. These can be filed by month to help remember family member’s birthdays or other special occasions. “Get well” cards or “thinking of you” cards can help seniors keep in touch the old-fashioned way.
  10. Snack basket. Favorite snacks or foods may seem like an unnecessary expense for anyone on a fixed income. Although snacks and food are provided at assisted living communities, it’s fun to try different things or splurge on specialty candy or sweets that can be shared with staff.

And when you’re thinking about the best gift ideas for older adults, time together is at the top of the list. The best gifts may not be those that are wrapped in a box, but rather shared time and quality experiences like a dinner out, looking at photos, or watching a favorite movie together. Be sure to make your presence in their life the gift that keeps giving all year long.

At the Village at Mercy Creek, they believe joy should exist in every aspect of daily life. Each day is filled with possibilities and good times because that’s how they choose to live and serve within our community. They offer Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Respite Care services designed to meet the specific, often changing needs of their residents. To tour or learn more about the Village at Mercy Creek, located at 1501 Mercy Creek Drive in Normal, call 309-268-1501 or visit