10 Useful, Thoughtful Gifts for Older Americans

October 26, 2021

Gifts They’ll Actually Appreciate

Delivering the perfect gift is never easy but hitting the mark for older Americans can be especially challenging. If they humbly tell you they have everything or don’t need anything, take a closer look. Everyone wants to be acknowledged and made to feel special, and nothing communicates that message or feeling better than providing just the right gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be considerate and personal.

This is your chance to come up with something better than a pill organizer or non-slip socks. Thinking about that special person’s interests and passions should provide you with a basketful of ideas, but if you’re still having trouble, here are 10 suggestions to get you started.

Year membership for in-home technical support

This isn’t just a gift for seniors, this is a gift for anyone whose life would benefit from less stress — the kind that easily boils up from futilely trying to hook up a smart TV, digital doorbell, wireless camera, or other electronic device in the home.

Giving the gift of tech support will be like giving your loved ones unlimited access to their own IT department. The next time their computer slows down from a virus or they need to install a new printer or entertainment system, you won’t be the first person they call. 

A subscription to a print newspaper

Yes, this is the opposite of high-tech, but a subscription to a print local newspaper keeps your loved ones connected to their community. Many newspapers offer digital subscriptions as well, so you can deliver the news in the format they prefer.

Besides keeping people plugged into the daily activities and events in town, many newspapers still offer comics, crosswords, and other fun diversions for keeping the mind young and active.

Solar lights

Have you ever considered why so many seniors like to dine out early? Sure, many like to take advantage of the savings and discounts offered by early bird specials, but many also dine early so they can be safely back in their homes before dark.

You can expand their dining window by giving them the gift of illumination, a set of solar lights to brighten a driveway or walkway leading them safely to their front door. Solar power has come a long way due to recent advances in technology, and today’s solar lights shine 6 to 12 times brighter than the original models.

Installing them is a snap. Most solar lights perform best with eight hours of sunlight. If the lights are located in a shaded area with no direct sunlight, you can purchase remote solar panels and place them in a sunny area and run a wire to the lights to power up the batteries.

Arm rest organizer

It’s not flashy, but it sure is practical. Just ask yourself how many times you misplaced the TV remote, causing you to miss half or more of your favorite programs before you found it. A good arm rest organizer should easily hold not only the TV remote, but also your favorite magazines, books, earphones, phones, glasses, flashlights, tissues, and other items to avoid clutter.

Single-serve coffee maker

If an older person is living alone, it doesn’t make sense to brew a whole pot of coffee. It’s wasteful, not to mention costly. Plus, a single-service coffee system is a convenient way (say goodbye to filters and coffee grounds) to always guarantee a freshly brewed caffeinated experience.

If your gift recipient really appreciates the finer elements of brewing a single cup of coffee, go manual, setting up your java aficionado with a French press, pour-over coffee maker, or moka pot.

The moka pot is a stove-top or electric coffee maker that brews coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee. Named after the Yemeni city of Mocha, it was invented by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and quickly became one of the staples of Italian coffee culture.

America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass

For anyone 62 or older, the Senior Pass covers lifetime admittance to more than 2,000 U.S. sites managed by five federal agencies, including 400 national parks.

The pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees, and day-use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 or under are admitted free.

Your giftee may be so excited by the prospect of boundless adventure, they may decide to buy an RV and let you borrow it for free.

The pass costs $80, and you can purchase it:

• In person: Find a location at https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/pickup-pass-locations.htm to purchase this pass at a federal recreation site.

• Online: Buy this pass from the USGS Store: https://store.usgs.gov/senior-pass.

• By phone: Call 888-ASK USGS (1-888-275-8747), extension 2. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mountain Time.

Easy-to-read measuring cups

If your gift recipient is a cook or baker, this is a no-brainer. Just harken to how many times you had to search or squint to see whether the measuring cup was a fourth or a third of a cup when you were making your favorite banana bread recipe.

Measuring cups that feature extra-large contrasting type on both the handle and cup bottom make the task of measuring ingredients a snap. The gift is inexpensive but also tasteful, especially if you’re the one who will be sampling the end product!

Magnifying glass necklace or pendant

You’ve heard the expression, “the gift that keeps on giving.” Well, how about the gift that keeps on magnifying?

Most people have a magnifying glass buried in a drawer somewhere, but few people are likely to have a magnifying glass elegantly ensconced within a sparkling necklace or pendant.

There are designs and materials for every price range. You and your designated recipient are sure to see eye to eye on this unique gift.

Housecleaning or yard-care service

“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” John Wesley, the Methodist minister, gets credit for first saying it in 1778, but you can get credit for bringing the concept literally home to an elderly person who may not be as nimble as they once were keeping their home tidy and spotless.

Paying for a service as a one-time deal or an ongoing basis that can tackle the tough chores like scrubbing shower tiles, wiping the grease from a range hood, or cleaning the lime and hard water spots off windows can restore not only sparkle but pride to the owner’s home.

Personalized duffel bag

They just seem so cool and, well, personal. Sure, nearly everyone has a tote to put stuff in, but this is an opportunity for an upgrade, so that when you go to the gym, enjoy an overnight hotel stay, or even check into the hospital for a surgical procedure, you’ll be doing it with an extra touch of class.

Stitch into the fabric more than just the recipient’s initials. How about a personal message from you, or maybe add their favorite motivational saying for a bit of added inspiration?


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