If you’re caring for an aging loved one, your schedule may be even more hectic during the holiday season as you juggle work, plan for gatherings and continue the valuable support you provide.

Image of two children giving grandfather a holiday gift

These gift ideas may help you determine what to give to your aging loved one. This list includes something for everyone, in each price point, from sentimental family heirlooms to gifts for the more practical family member.

  1. Handwritten Recipe Book. Holidays for many families mean food and feasts. Ask your loved ones to submit their favorite recipes in their own handwriting. You can scan the pages and create a book by printing yourself, or use any of the many online services that create professional quality books for you.
  2. Homemade Scrapbook. Pictures help the whole family reflect on memories, but for loved ones living with dementia, the images may evoke stronger feelings of remembrance. The personalized touch of your handwriting on the pages or quotes someone said during the time make the effort even more meaningful.
  3. Digital Videos. Treat your loved one to a digital version of family video recordings so they can watch it on their phone, tablet or computer. There are online services where you can ship VHS tapes and have them converted to USB drive or DVD in order to preserve the footage as tapes are phased out.
  4. Long Distance Touch Lamp. If your loved one lives in another state, you may rely heavily on phone calls or emails. This unique lamp can show your loved one you love them in another way, by simply changing colors whenever either of you touch it.
  5. Blanket made from clothing. Collect clothing from family members that your loved one might recognize or associate with a memory. You can have a handy family member or a seamstress sew the clothing into a pillow case or blanket and give it to your loved one so they can cuddle or cover up with fond memories.
  6. Light Therapy Lamp. Many older adults don’t get outside as much as is recommended due to mobility issues. Light therapy lamps imitate the rays of the sun without the UV exposure, providing the body valuable vitamin D that boosts mood and helps regulate the sleep cycle. Since the winter months have the shortest amount of daylight, these lamps are great for the holidays because your loved one can use it until the spring to combat the winter blues.
  7. Adaptive Devices. There are many gadgets out there that can help your loved one get around more easily, but one of the most unique is the Stander Handybar. This portable handlebar clips into the frame of your car and gives your loved one more leverage to sit down and stand up out of their seat. It also doubles as a window breaker and seat belt cutter for added safety.
  8. Heated Blanket. Older adults can be prone to experiencing a “chill” in the air, especially in the colder winter months. Smaller throw blankets that come with several heat settings can keep your loved one toasty without too much change on your thermostat.
  9. Magnifying Lamp. If your loved one has hobbies like knitting, crocheting or puzzle-solving, a magnifying floor lamp with a rolling stand could be wonderfully helpful in allowing them to continue the hobby anywhere around the house.
  10. Dinner Dates. If your loved one is able to leave their place of residence, give them the gift of a monthly dinner date to their favorite restaurant. The nostalgia of tasting their favorite dish, paired with company in a social setting, rather than a caring setting, could help boost their mood and give them something to look forward to each month.
Do you have gift ideas for parents, grandparents or loved ones? Let us know in the comments below. For more information on life while caring for a loved one, visit our resource section for caregivers.
By Blair Klayko