It is incredibly hard to know the best Christmas gift ideas for elderly relatives, isn’t it?
When you’re younger and your parents are in their 40s and 50s, there are lots of things you can buy. Your parents (I hope) are probably quite active. They are still working, maybe playing regular sport, or travelling, or busy with social gatherings.
As your parents get older, the good gift options shrink dramatically. Maybe they can’t play golf these days, or problems with things like arthritis or eyesight have made reading and gardening less fun. Knitting or gardening can present an issue for those with arthritis. Mobility and accessibility issues make certain days out impractical or stressful.
I recently asked my Twitter followers to give me gift ideas for elderly relatives, and I got some amazing tips. I’m not telling you what I bought, because I don’t want to spoilt the surprise. But here are 25 great presents for elderly relatives and older parents. You should know that not only are these tried and tested by Twitter users. I also ran this list past my 79-year-old Mum who approved everything on it. So it’s official. These are the BEST gift ideas for elderly relatives.
This list contains some affiliate links, meaning if you buy through these links I receive a small commission payment, at no extra cost to you.
20+ Gift Ideas for Older Parents
1. A Weather Station, £56
We all know older people who love to watch the weather, so this is one of my favourite great gift idea for elderly relatives. My Dad checks his weather app on the iPad daily and loves to know whether it’s going to rain on Tuesday, or if it’s safe to hang the washing out. So how about a weather station? This one from Bresser has a small sensor that you can put outside and a bigger digital display that you put up inside. It’ll show the temperature inside, outside and (crucially) the weather forecast including if it’s going to rain! This one works wirelessly and costs around £50.
2. Traditional Wicker Basket, £39
My Mum is a big lover of a traditional wicker basket, and I think it’s one of the nicest gift ideas for older parents. Perhaps it could be used for shopping trips, but it’s equally likely to get used as a home for knitting needles, logs or even to store a blanket next to the sofa. This wicker basket is only about 40cm by 20cm so not too big, but plenty for most needs, and just £39 on Amazon. If your parent would find carrying a basket a struggle, then how about this version with wheels?
3. Lunch in a town you haven’t visited before, £ Whatever you like!
With my older parents it gets a little harder to go to new places as they get older. My Dad can’t drive and my Mum gets stressed by long journeys, trying to follow the sat-nav. If that sounds familiar, then why not think about offering to take your elderly parents to a pretty market town for lunch, or a riverside country pub for a Sunday roast? You take care of the planning and the driving, AND they get the pleasure of your company for the day.
4. Photo Book, from £15
True story: we once bought my parents a digital photo frame and set it up to run a carousel of treasured family photos, thinking this would make an amazing gift. My parents plugged it in and marvelled at it for an hour, then unplugged it to save on the bills.
Since then, we’ve tended to give them either large framed photos for the wall, or photo books instead. There are a hundred different apps and services for this, we’ve tended to use Photobox because they often have good deals on, and they’re extremely simple to create – just upload photos, choose a book design and ‘auto-complete’ the rest.
5. A Year’s Audible Subscription, £7.99 a month
My Dad is registered blind and struggles to read regular books. A couple of years ago, we treated him to an Audible subscription, which gives him a new audio book every month from a massive selection. If you have an older parent with vision problems, audio books can help plug the gap when they can’t read or struggle with TV.
You can sign up for a free trial of Audible for up to 30 days and you’ll get up to two free audiobooks plus access to thousands or free original podcasts, shows and audiobooks. After that a subscription of £7.99 per month gets your parent a new book every month (this can be rolled over month to month and paused at any time). Click the link below to set up a gift subscription with 30 days’ free trial:
6. Window Garden Bird Feeder, £34
My Mum used to love spending time in the garden but these days she feels the cold more. For a recent Christmas, we got her a bird table so that she can watch the birds from the table when she’s having her morning coffee.
I really like this window version of a bird table which attaches to any glass window, giving a great view for your parents (and their cats, lol). This window bird feeder has lots of 5* reviews and is designed to give the best possible view from inside the window, while having a feeding tray that’s really easy to remove.
7. Ready filled planter, £24.99
I love this personalised planter from Etsy – it’s made of metal, so will be very light, and can be personalised with a birthday message, someone’s name or perhaps a family motto or inside joke. All you need to do is add some compost and some pretty flowers and hey presto – a perfect, no-stress gift for the plant lover in your family.
It’s a great gift idea for older parents because it’s fuss-free, and they can just enjoy the results. Don’t forget to pop in pretty drip water bulb and plant feeder so this gift really is low maintenance.
8. Google Maps tour of their life story, £0 (only costs time!)
One of my Twitter followers spent a few hours creating a Google Maps tour of her Dad’s life story, showing special places and stories. This is such a thoughtful present for elderly relatives! A virtual walk down memory lane.
Google actually has a tutorial for how to do this, but essentially you can create a project in Google, add places using street view, and then add in bonus photos, videos and text. Google lets you personalise the style of your story, making it a really thoughtful gift.
10. A Hamper
It’s a classic gift for grandparents and older people for a reason. Hampers often let you fill a basket with small items suitable for 1 or 2 person households, and you can usually personalise the hamper to someone’s interests and tastes.
Fortnum & Mason let you choose the size of basket you want for your hamper and then add any items from their range. The baskets are also really pretty, so it’s often my first choice for a hamper gift. However, there are loads of other hamper ideas, depending on whether your older relative would like afternoon tea for two, cheese and charcuterie, or perhaps a classic selection of treats from Betty’s?
11. Ready Meal Subscription, from £50
If you have an elderly parent who you suspect isn’t eating regularly or well, it can be a worry. Often, when you’re living alone it’s a lot of hassle to start making tasty meals from scratch. These days there are plenty of services that will deliver frozen meals that let people living alone have easy, tasty meals that can be ready in just a few minutes.
My personal favourite that I’ve used regularly myself is Mindful Chef – with a focus on sustainable, local ingredients these meals are packed with nutrition and really tasty. There are loads of different bundles and options, but a good deal just now is this bundle of 12 best-selling meals (6 varieties) at £57. I’ve also tried and tested the Cook range of frozen meals. Cook offers home delivery to much of the UK, but not everywhere, so you need to check the delivery postcode before ordering.
My favourite offer from Cook is this bundle of 14 meals for 1 at £69, which works out at just under £5 per meal. The same package with 14 meals for 2 adults costs £118. It’s a great way to stock up an older relative’s freezer during the winter months, especially if your elderly relative worries about the cost of using the oven these days.
12. Amazon Prime TV Subscription
If your parents are Amazon shoppers (my Mum is obsessed) then Amazon Prime makes for a great gift idea for elderly relatives.
First, Amazon Prime means mostly free shipping on all their Amazon purchases for the next year. It also means access to Amazon Prime TV. You could add a new channel to let your parents access niche content that they might not have on their existing TV package like the History Channel, Documentary Channels, or even the Hallmark Channel for heartwarming films and TV shows.
New channels mostly cost £6.99 per month, and you can get a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime and a 7-day trial of any new channel. If your parents already have a smart TV, they should have access to the Amazon app, or you could buy a fire stick for them to use.
13. Genealogy or DNA Package
My older aunt is absolutely obsessed with family history and if your elderly relatives are the same then a family history or DNA package makes a great gift idea. For a DNA package, this one from 23andMe checks your genes to identify which parts of the world you’re from and even which traits you’re most likely to have. If your relative is more interested in family history, then how about a subscription to ancestry.com and this workbook that provides lovely pages to record 10 generations of your family tree?
14. A warm throw
As they have got older my parents feel the cold more and my Dad always seems to have cold feet and legs. One of his favourite gifts in recent years is this gorgeous throw. It’s cosy and keeps his legs warm and in the winter – bonus – it can be used as an electric blanket.
This electric fleece blanket from Amazon is made of soft and warm fleece blanket with 9 heat settings and can be set to auto-shut off after 1 or 9 hours. It costs just 4p per hour to run, and is machine washable.
15. National Trust Membership
I must confess that I love a National Trust garden in the summer, especially when we go to the Lake District. For my parents, it’s an ideal day out – generally the properties have mobility scooters so that my Dad can get around, and they both love the gardens and then stopping for tea or a scone at the tea shop.
I especially love the idea of a gift membership that means you plan special days out with older relatives, as you go and see your favourite houses and gardens.
16. A Surprise Family Meal
If your family get along, then I think one of the nicest gifts for elderly parents is the opportunity to have all the family together, without the need to worry about preparing the house for guests or doing the washing up. Why not treat your parents to a family meal out at a special time of year, where everyone has the chance to catch up in person? After Covid, I think time together is something many of our parents enjoy far more than things.
17. Oven Gloves
Now, you’ll have to bear with me, but my Mum tells me that these oven gloves that I bought are one of the best presents I’ve ever come up with.
Like many older people, my Mum struggles from time to time with arthritis and I’d noticed she would struggle to get dishes out of the oven with her regular oven mitt. Buying her a pair of heatproof gloves means that Mum finds it far easier to pick up hot trays and pans, while the long sleeves mean she doesn’t burn herself on the top of the oven or rack when sliding trays out.
Plus they also just look SUPER jazzy.
18. A Flower Subscription
I often think the nicest gifts are things we wouldn’t buy ourselves – and a monthly bouquet of flowers or a gorgeous wreath for the front door will brighten up your parents’ day through the whole year!
There are a range of subscription services available such as Freddies Flowers or Bloom and Wild. You might even find a local florist who will offer this service for you.
19. A Photo Shoot
Another present that I bought my parents that they loved was a professional photo shoot. It must be said, we didn’t send everyone to a studio for some of those cheesy family portraits. We hired a photographer friend to come with us on a walk around our local park, and capture photographs of my parents and their grandchildren.
We then made a photo book of the best images, and had one photo blown up and made into a framed print that has pride of place in their lounge.
20. A Seatbelt Cutter
I suspect that like many parents, it’s my Mum who often gets the most benefit from the presents I buy. My Dad is definitely one of those people it’s very hard to buy for. So I asked my Dad what’s the best present he’s received lately and it was – I kid you not – a little tool that is a car seatbelt cutter and a window hammer. So that if he gets stuck in a car accident and modern electronics mean he can’t open the window or release his seat belt, he’ll be fine.
It’s random, but he LOVED it. So if your Dad or Uncle or Grandpa is anything like my Dad, check out this 2-in-1 seatbelt cutter and window hammer from Amazon for less than £10. It’s a weird but honestly brilliant gift idea for older parents.
So there you have it – 20+ of my favourite gift ideas for older parents and elderly relatives. I hope this makes shopping for your next birthday or Christmas a little easier, and if I missed one of your top present ideas for elderly folk, please let me know in the comments!