Surprisingly Practical Gifts for Elderly People

It can be difficult, frustrating, and time-consuming to find the ideal gift for any person, but it gets even harder to choose gifts for older adults who already seem to have everything. Of course, the first thought that comes to mind is that they must have received a lot of gifts in their long lives, making it a daunting challenge to impress them. 

Actually, some elderly people openly state that they are not interested in gifts. While we sincerely accept that they mean it, we’re sure there is always a meaningful gift for every elderly person–something that will be relevant and innovative.

If you need help, then you’re in luck today–because we have assembled five of the most practical items that you can gift an elderly person.

A Coffee Maker

If your gift recipient loves a good coffee but they’d never make one, chances are that it’s too much hassle for them to brew fresh coffee. They have to find the right one, grind it, or end up spilling messy grounds everywhere–and they still end up with coffee that’s not quite as they’d like it. 

Actually, according to The New York Times, it’s not a habit but rather a ritual. Investing in a nice coffee maker can really spoil them.

Purchase the smallest, simplest and most utilitarian unit you can find and ideally, make it the pod type that is not fiddly. Ensure no intricacies that make it difficult to use, and seek out a common-sense machine. Then, supply at least several months’ worth of pods. Now, you have provided an old-school treat in a modern way. They’ll be proud to show their machine off to everyone, and will no longer have to brew a half or full pot of coffee once a visitor shows up. 

A Padded Toilet Seat

You think this is a crazy idea, right? 

Yet we’re sure this will be one of the best gifts you could ever give. This is what we mean by practical and thoughtful.

You know how uncomfortable it feels to sit on a cold, hard toilet seat? This is exacerbated when you are full of aches and pains, and perhaps not as fit as you were. And in fact, the old plastic, chilly toilet seat we all know and hate was invented more than a century ago when everything was somewhat spartan–so it’s time to give the treat of a lovely seat! 

Japan is presently leading the toilet game after inventing high-tech automated toileting systems, delivering warmed toilet seats as well as in-built sound systems. 

Most older people would find that unnecessary overkill–but a padded toilet seat addresses the ‘bare’ needs with no frills or extravagance. Yet it still delivers a major advantage in comfort and usability. Although it has no heating element to it, this seat holds a cushion of air, so is naturally much warmer than the usual solid plastic seat. It is a pleasure to use.  

This seat is perfectly created for a person struggling with pain when sitting, or who hates the cold; dementia sufferers, as an example, have heightened sensitivities and a cold cold toilet seat can lead to discomfort and an accident. These seats are an incredible way to add extra comfort to the bathroom and to deliver a safer, kinder environment. They are also super hygienic and able to be bleached and sterilized. 

Heat Pad with/without Massager 

There are so many massagers on the market to choose from, and such a gift will be especially useful since elderly people have regular pains and aches. The heat pad can also be used as a substitute for putting on the heating on a chilly evening–saving a great deal in energy bills.  

We would advocate seeking out a heat pad that either has no massage or just gentle massage; some of the deep-kneading types can be too aggressive and cause injury. The emphasis should be on gentle relaxation and relieving muscle tightness and stress. According to ScienceDaily, massage provides an improved sense of well-being and this is very important for the elderly.

Some such heat-pad gadgets lie flat, while others have an ergonomic design; they are all good for use on the upper and lower back, calf, abdomen, and thighs. Some come with adjustable straps to secure them to your favorite chair. A final note is that we recommend avoiding the typical ‘medical aid’ types. The last thing someone wants is to be reminded how old or disabled they are, so staying away from disability products is a good idea unless you want them to reject it. 

Buy a nice, high-end heat pad from a store that appeals to everyone, of any age.

Upmarket Argyle Socks

A pair of socks, I hear you say. A pair of socks? Really?

These may sound like one of those boring and unthoughtful gifts–but a sock is not a sock. They are all different, and what we all know about most elderly folks is that they just do not spoil themselves with quality. When we say socks, we mean superbly manufactured, plush, luxurious Argyle socks that will not only feel incredibly kind to elderly feet that never receive much pampering, but which will also look stunning and classical.

The traditional Argyle design harks back to Scottish lairds and country castles, bringing a sense of opulence and superiority. But ask any Scotsman, and he’ll say that practicality is uppermost. 

So, on a practical note, as people age, their bodies can’t generate enough heat. That’s why seniors always feel cold. So, an extra pair of best-quality socks should keep your loved one warm, while the fabulous quality gives a better grip and prevents slips and falls. 

While esthetics aren’t paramount here, the availability of many colors also means you can jazz up your gift recipient. There’s a temptation to pigeonhole elderly people into drab, dark colors. That’s a pitfall to avoid. So, for a woman, we’d buy the bright pinks–and for a man, red or purple. Not only are you not giving them “old people’s gifts”, but you’re also showing you see them as super trendy–which is again less likely to see the gift thrust back at you. You can even have these gift boxed with a special bespoke label. 

A Robot Vacuum

As long as your gift recipient is not prone to falling over things, they might love a techy gadget that also makes life easier. A robot vacuum cleaner that can clean all types of floors can be a fascinating thing to watch as well as to talk about–and it does a super job. 

Today, there are many affordable options that clean better and faster. Such smart vacuum cleaners can work on laminate, tile, carpets, etc. 

These can make fantastic gifts for your elderly folks and grandparents because they are simple to use as well as self-charging. They even take themselves back to their little docking stations! Imagine what fun your loved one will have watching a robot vacuum cleaner clean their home, and then sharing the innovation with friends.

These devices are also suitable for people who’re sensitive to dust and suffer from allergies. According to CNN, frequent vacuuming makes home spaces more allergy-friendly. A robot will do the work for your loved ones and will allow them to keep their floors clean without lifting a finger. And again, you’re buying a super-modern gift that does not label them as too old to be tech-friendly.

A Tablet Device

Really, although elderly people are stigmatized as not enjoying technology, this is often far from the truth. It just has to be a good idea with a rationale that makes sense. We think that giving a tablet with pre-installed video software that you can use to check in and say hi is a great gift. Plus, what better present is there than sitting together for an afternoon and showing them how to use it–over treats you also take along? 

Software you can put on–as well as a video app–might include subscriptions to their favorite music, hobbies or online magazines, shopping pages (set up already with their logins all pre-programmed and your debit card attached to their account), and easy-to-use photo apps. You can bet this device will give them a whole new lease of life.   


Elderly people are not usually looking to be gifted with ‘nice to have’ accessories, but they are sure to appreciate something that’s practical and functional first and foremost. The knack is in combining the practical and functional ‘must have’ with superlative design and cool tech they can enjoy just like anyone else would. 

And of course, do avoid positioning them in the ‘disability aids’ bracket just due to their age; you will be the elderly person yourself someday, and you’ll appreciate when people put thought behind practical but alluring gifts.