What’s in the bag? Holiday gifts for older adults

The holidays are quickly approaching and that means it is time to start thinking about who and what you want to buy for those closest to you. It can be especially hard trying to find the “perfect gift” for an older adult. 

With the Pandemic continuing to disrupt life as we know it, older adults have been considered the most vulnerable and thus have been required to take precautions to remain safe. As a result of the precautions, older adults have been faced with the loss of socialization and stimulation. To help offset this loss, gifting user-friendly technology that can help users stay engaged and get connected could mean a world of difference. We have put together a list of tech gifts that are simple and enjoyable to utilize. So don’t fret, the gift recipient does not need to be tech-savvy!  

  1. First on our list is the Grandpad, a tablet designed specifically for older adults. This subscription service includes a tablet pre-loaded with the user’s preferences and contacts. It allows users to connect with loved ones through a simple video chat platform, send videos, photos, or voice emails through the easy to use large text applications. In addition, there is customized music and popular games to ensure the user has plenty of opportunities to stay engaged.  
  1. Great Call, a company whose focus is on providing older adults with health and safety products, has developed cell phones specifically for them. The Jitterbug Smart2 is a top pick this year, with features including a large 5.5” screen, voice typing text, a clear-named list based menu, and a long-lasting battery life. It also has mobile internet access and the ability to video chat with loved ones. In addition to being a cell phone, consumers can turn their phone into a personal safety device at an additional cost, by choosing a Lively Health & Safety Package upon purchase. This device currently has a 4.1 out of 5-star review. 
  1. For the older adults in your life who enjoy reading books, but have difficulty doing so, Amazon’s Kindle is an ideal gift. The Amazon Kindle has a few versions with different price points. We recommend the new Kindle Oasis. This model is waterproof, has an adjustable warm light, a side space with page turn buttons, and the ability to adjust the size of the text. Also, for individuals who have eyesight impairments, the kindle can be paired with Bluetooth headphones and be used aside Audible so that listening to books is just a click and connection away. 
  1. Oftentimes when we think about wearable technology, we think of watches that can accept phone calls, read text messages and overall simplify our lives. A smartwatch that can monitor an individual’s heart rate, provide personalized health metric information and notify emergency responders if it detects a sudden fall or an irregular heartbeat are all features incorporated in the Apple Watch Series 6
  1. We know vacations and plans to travel have been canceled or rescheduled due to COVID-19. However, it does not necessarily mean that eye-opening experiences we would normally see upon traveling need to be missed out on. Virtual reality headsets are allowing older adults to experience the world from the comfort of their homes. MyndVR has created an in-home virtual reality package where older adults have access to the largest library of senior-friendly virtual reality content through the use of a headset and corresponding tablet. The tablet, with a high definition screen and simple user interface for easy navigation, is used to pick the video of choice while the lightweight ultra high definition display headset provides the viewer with the ultimate visual experience. Chose from a trip to a country you have never visited or take dive with dolphins.

We hope found some ideas in our suggestions. Do let us know what you end up getting for the older adult in your life, and what they thought of the gift. Happy holidays!

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Angelina Portuense, LSW
Angelina is a licensed social worker who has been working in the elder care field for over seven years. Her passion for working with older adults started in her teenage years when she became a family caregiver.