Four Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Elderly Loved Ones

These top gifts are non-material in nature!

With the holidays and seasonal festivities in full swing, you must be in the process of finalizing your gift list for your friends and family members. If you have an elderly parent or other loved ones in the senior years and want to give them good and useful gifts, you may find it hard to come up with gift ideas for them because they may say that they don’t need gifts due to their age and their less than active lifestyle, or they claim that they already have everything they need. Rather than giving your elderly loved ones material gifts, try to denounce materialism and give them a gift that has an emotional and sentimental value, something that adds to their life experiences’ quality. Here are some of the gift ideas that are not your average, run-of-the-mill stuff and are far more unique and valuable.


Book Them a Wellness Holiday

Your elderly parents and relatives may not show a lot of interest in traveling due to their age-related limitations. While typical family vacations can be a bit overbearing and tiring for a loved one above 65, taking them to or booking for them a wellness holiday can be more beneficial for their health. A visit to a hot spring, spa, yoga center, and sunny beaches would not only be relaxing for a beloved elderly but also beneficial for his or her health. One book recommends that wellness holidays are popular with young as well as the elderly lot due to the desire  of  modern  tourists  to look and feel better, slow down aging processes, reduce their weight, relieve pains   or   discomfort,   deal   with   stress   and   improve   their   physical   and psychological  state.

Creating Memory Books

Memories are more valuable and cherished than material gifts. There is nothing an elderly cherish more than recalling good old days of his or her youth. Their short-term memory may be suffering in terms of taking their medication on time. But you would find their long-term memory of past events to be crystal clear. You can use old family photos to create an exclusive memory book for your elderly loved one. Another great gift would be spending time with them in person and listen to their personal stories and anecdotes. This is a great way to lower their sense of loneliness and safeguard them from developing emotional problems like dementia and depression.  

Plan Activities Together  

Read another related post

Your elderly parents or loved ones may claim that they have everything they can possibly need. But there are some things that are non-material but are far more valuable than material ones, i.e., creating memories and experiences, like spending time together in activities both caregiver and the recipient can mutually enjoy. This means going to a museum together, playing chess, watching a movie, cooking together, etc.  Knowing your parent’s or an elderly relative’s preferences would enable you to come up with the activities that are most relevant and interesting for him or her. According to one research,

social relationships and emotional well-being benefit from experience and time perspective. Experience confers improved regulatory skills; shorter time perspectives lead older people to place greater priority on meaningful aspects of life.

Give Physical, Emotional, and Financial Support

With the decline of physical activities and cognitive functioning; it becomes very difficult for your elderly parents and relatives to do things they used to do with relative ease. As a gift, you can send them cooked meals they can warm up and eat with ease. You can also mow their lawn or take their dog for a walk. If they are finding it difficult to support themselves in retirement years, you can take care of a medical bill or a household expense. One research rightly points out,

parents and adult children are the most likely network members to give each other gifts, emotional support, child care, care for family illness, help with major home maintenance, and financial aid to buy a house or provide care for illness and infirmity.

Material gifts that are not well thought out and irrelevant usually amass into stuff that becomes more of a liability than a treasure for an elderly in an old age. However, non-material gifts that are thoughtful, considerate and relevant to the emotional needs of your elderly parents add more value and happiness to their lives and living experiences.      


  1. Berg, Waldemar. Gesundheitstourismus und Wellnesstourismus. Oldenbourg Verlag, 2008. 
  2. Charles, Susan T., and Laura L. Carstensen. “Social and emotional aging.” Annual review of psychology 61 (2010): 383-409. Retrieved from
  3. Wellman, Barry. “Which types of ties and networks provide what kinds of social support.” Advances in group processes 9, no. 1992 (1992): 207-235.  
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