It is the winter holiday season and the perfect time to show our loved ones how much they mean to us. When it comes to the elderly, gift selection can sometimes be a challenge. Many seniors don’t necessarily want the newest gadget or items that might collect dust.

It is important to be mindful of what your parent or grandparent really wants or needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Listen thoughtfully. Many seniors will ask for personal care items for everyday use. While these might not seem like loving gifts for elderly family members, they just may be what preserves the dignity of your loved ones. Remember that these are people who have lived a long time and are wise. They are due the very basic respect of knowing you have heard them.

Beyond the gifts of basic needs, which are likely affordable items that can be part of a care package, gifts for seniors can include unexpected things that will bring surprised smiles to the faces of those we care about. Here are some ideas for thoughtful gifts for the elderly members of your family.

Audio Book Subscription

A perfect gift for seniors who love to read is an audio book subscription. You may have to include a Kindle or iPad with headphones. Many seniors have less than stellar vision and really miss the joy of reading books. Listening to an audio book can help keep them sharp and engaged.

Don’t be tempted to get those little earbuds that are often so awkward. Full headphones offer a comfortable and immersive experience. Always take comfort into consideration when choosing gifts for the elderly.

Meal Delivery Plan

Many seniors require some assistance with daily tasks while you are at work or caring for your own family. This may include help with meal preparation. Rather than having the caregiver just cook a meal, you could have a customized meal prep kit delivered, say 3 days a week for dinner, to their home.

The caregiver or you can engage your loved one in helping to prepare a special meal, even if she is just reading the directions to you. Many meal plan delivery companies allow you to choose the ingredients based on dietary restrictions. Let your elder help with that. Breaking bread together is a lovely gift.

Handmade Blanket

A handmade blanket is a great gift for the elderly. It is crafted by hand and can be personalized. This gift adds warmth and comfort. Who doesn’t like curling up in a cozy blanket that was made with love?

Flowering Plant

A flowering plant, such as an amaryllis, can provide life, color, and something to nurture. There is nothing more rewarding than caring for a living thing and watching it grow and change. Windowsill plants are thoughtful and healthy gifts for seniors. They clean the air and provide oxygen that can promote restful sleep.

Your Time

It might sound obvious that one of the most thoughtful gifts for elderly loved ones is the gift of your time spent with them. Schedule (promise) time to spend doing whatever your family member wants. It can be catching up on a Netflix program together, going for a stroll in the park, or grabbing lunch at his favorite diner. Bring the grandkids if appropriate. Time spent together is invaluable.

Final Thoughts

Our elders are important members of our family and community. The holiday season is a wonderful time to show appreciation by picking out some thoughtful gifts for the elderly who mean so much to us. Gifts can be as simple as personal care items or as sophisticated as the latest technology in audio books.

If you are a primary caregiver that also relies on assistance from others, consider gifts that engage interaction from all who are involved.