15 Gifts For Seniors For Healthy Living (2024)

‘Tis the season to wrack your brain for the perfect gifts for everyone on your list.

If you’re shopping for a beloved senior in your life, look for a present that can make daily life easier, healthier and more enjoyable. Here’s a complete guide to gifts for seniors that encourage both healthy living and fun times.

How to Pick the Best Gifts for Seniors

Be “practical and realistic,” advises Anthony Cirillo, a healthy aging expert based in Huntersville, North Carolina. “Consider gifts that promote safety and healthy living,” he suggests. It’s also important to contemplate their cognition level and factors like mobility and health restrictions.

But don’t forget—just because someone might be considered a “senior” doesn’t mean they don’t like to have a good time. “Sometimes when we’re talking about seniors, we think that they’re older or more feeble than they are,” says Wendy Bronfin, a New York City-based caregiver and CEO of BRIGHT, a health tech company. “Bruce Springsteen is 72 years old, and I would buy him a guitar.”

While useful gifts are certainly welcome, it’s okay to prioritize items that will liven up a senior’s life, too.

Best Healthy Gift Ideas for Seniors

Not sure where to start your practical and fun-focused present search? Here are some gift ideas to consider.

A Medical Alert System

An excellent gift for many seniors is a medical alert system, “which essentially gives them independence,” says Jonathan Marsh, who owns Home Helpers of Bradenton, a senior care company in Florida. These systems—which are often worn as a pendant or bracelet—connect users to a dispatcher who can quickly send help.

As you’re checking out different options, prioritize a system that has a smartphone app that allows remote caregivers to access real-time information about their loved ones. That way, “caregivers can check in regularly behind the scenes without making a phone call,” says Marsh. “Seniors can live as independently as they want, with as much or as little involvement of family members as they wish.”

A Session With an Aging-in-Place Specialist

Hire an aging-in-place specialist to perform a safety inspection of the senior’s home and recommend improvements, suggests Cirillo. The experts’ recommendations could “go a long way in helping loved ones age in place,” he says. “Perhaps boring, but practical and maybe life-saving.”

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A Massager

Ah, a massage—at home. Consider back massage chair cushions, which are available with a variety of health-promoting features, including massage, vibration and heat for relaxation and muscle benefits, says Elizabeth Kennedy, a Philadelphia-based home health physical therapist and certified aging-in-place specialist.

Or perhaps a foot massager is more appealing. It’s “a functional and luxurious gift,” says Kennedy. “Foot massaging has health benefits and improves foot comfort, especially for people who spend a lot of time on their feet.”

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Pickleball Equipment

Pickleball is quickly becoming a favorite sport among seniors (even Bill Gates enjoys playing) “because it has simple rules, is easier on the joints and requires little equipment,” says Kennedy. Consider gifting a senior some paddles and balls—you might introduce them to their new favorite activity.

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A Flexibility Class

George Harrop, founder of online community SecondFifty—designed for baby boomers who want to stay active in their “second 50 years”—recommends giving a 21-day hip or back flexibility course. He particularly enjoys those taught by Lucas Rockwood, an instructor with YogaBody.com.

“I believe mobility and functional movement is of primary importance to leading an independent life as we age,” says Harrop. “Too many seniors lose their basic range of motion, slowly reducing what they can participate in, which can lead to isolation and infirmity.” Rockwood’s classes are about 15 minutes long and demonstrate how to regain and retain basic range of motion.

A Book Club for Two

Gift your favorite senior a book that you both can read at the same time. It will provide intellectual stimulation, plus something interesting for you two to talk about, says Bronfin. Or you could watch the same movie, even if you’re unable to physically be together. “Be your own little club, which gives you what we call micro moments or touch points,” she says.

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A Digital Picture Frame

Perhaps you’re separated from your loved one this holiday season (or the rest of the year). Consider gifting them a digital picture frame that you can fill up with pictures of the grandkids and special activities, suggests Bronfin. “It can make you guys feel like you’re together, even if you’re apart.”

A Supernatural Subscription

Virtual reality fitness is more accessible than ever—all you need is a headset like the Oculus Quest 2. You can then use it to subscribe to Supernatural, a workout program that allows you to smash targets, box, meditate or stretch in beautiful locations, like snow-capped mountains or even on Mars. It’s an ideal way to exercise for seniors with mobility issues who perhaps can’t head to a gym or hop on a treadmill, says the app’s head of fitness Leanne Pedante.

“One of the cool things about virtual reality is that it opens up the options for accessibility and adaptability and moving,” she says. “I’ve heard from a lot of our members who say, ‘I took this to my grandmother who’s not able to travel anymore. I just put the headset on and let her sit in Bali or Iceland and look around.’ It’s a really emotional experience.”

A Bidet or Squatty Potty

During the COVID-19 pandemic, bidets—toilet attachments that spray water to clean your bottom—surged in popularity as panic buying led to problematic toilet paper shortages. Christine Lee, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, says they can be particularly useful for seniors—especially those who have poor hand-eye coordination and who aren’t able to trim their nails (which could cause them to cut themselves accidentally while wiping).

You might also consider a Squatty Potty. Sound like a gag gift? “It’s actually a really useful device for seniors—or anyone,” says Kennedy. The device facilitates a squatting position, which naturally assists bowel movements, which is “a process that often becomes more difficult with age,” she adds.

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Arthritis Gloves

If arthritis in the hands is holding a senior back from enjoying daily activities, a pair of arthritis gloves could be a helpful gift. These gloves “provide gentle compression and warmth that

soothes joints,” says Lisa Chavos the owner of NuLife Medical, a medical supply store based in Newport Beach, California. Arthritis gloves feature a fingerless design so they don’t inhibit hand mobility, she says, making them ideal for all-day arthritis relief during activities.

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A Raised Gardening Box

A raised gardening box brings flower and vegetable growing to waist height so seniors don’t have to bend over to tend to their plants, says Kennedy. She notes that gardening is beneficial for health and well-being and can be enjoyed at every age.

If you’re shopping for a senior who doesn’t have space for a garden, consider an indoor plant-growing system, such as an Aerogarden, she suggests. “This is a great present for anyone who loves to garden or cook,” and having fresh vegetables and herbs available at any time of year encourages a healthy diet.

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Smart Security Devices

Kennedy recommends a smart doorbell: “It’s convenient and improves home and personal safety,” she says. “It allows a senior to see, hear and talk to someone at the door through their smartphone” without needing to rush to get to the door.

Another idea: A smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector. These devices have lots of innovative features for senior safety and convenience. For example, they quickly identify and announce the location and type of fire or carbon monoxide leak and allow you to silence the alarm from your phone—“no need to get on a stepstool,” says Kennedy.

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A Mediterranean Diet Cookbook

It can be difficult to broach touchy subjects with older family members, such as the fact that they could stand to eat healthier. Perhaps there’s another way to ease into the conversation over the holidays. “Instead of saying, ‘Hey, Mom and Dad, you guys should be exercising and eating well,’ give them a great Mediterranean cookbook,” says Bronfin. “That’s a really easy way to talk about healthy diets.”

Pedal Exerciser

A portable pedal exerciser is “a versatile and inexpensive piece of exercise equipment,” says Kennedy. “It can be used on the floor to exercise legs and on a table to exercise arms.” Plus, you can adjust the tension to increase or reduce the workout intensity. You can generally place a pedal exerciser anywhere you sit—under your desk, by your favorite chair or next to the couch, for example.

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New Bathing Equipment

Consider a handheld shower head, recommends Kennedy: It’s an easy way to increase showering options. A shower head adds the flexibility to shower while seated, which boosts safety and convenience. Plus, most have features like rain-style and massage settings that create a spa-like bathing experience, she says.

You could also opt for a foot bath. With age, it can become harder to reach one’s feet and care for them well, explains Kennedy. A foot bath can help solve that problem.

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15 Gifts For Seniors For Healthy Living (2024)


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