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Mother’s Day gift ideas for seniors of all ability levels

Mother’s Day gift ideas for seniors of all ability levels

There’s no doubt that moms deserve to be pampered on Mother’s Day (and as often as possible), but this can feel harder to do as she ages. Not only might you be running out of gift ideas for things she wants or need but also a decline in mental or physical health might make treats that she previously enjoyed no longer an option. Plus, depending on if she now lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, limited space might make any extra trinkets less practical. 

“My mom said as she got older, ‘If I can’t eat it, spend it or wear it, I don’t want it,’” recalls Suzanne Blankenship, an eldercare expert and author of ”How To Take Care of Old People Without Losing Your Marbles.” 

So if you’re unsure of what to get your guest of honor, whether she has limited mobility, cognitive decline or is simply hard to shop for, consider these meaningful ideas from experts and caregivers.

Mother’s Day gifts for seniors with limited mobility 

Don’t let mom’s mobility struggles limit your gift ideas. For moms who have likely been spending more time indoors, check out these thoughtful presents that will break up her routine from the comfort of her home.

Bring the beauty salon to her. Patricia Roberts, a caregiver to her mother, says the best gift idea for a mom who is homebound or who is living in a facility is a visit from a hair stylist. “My mom always loved having her hair done and when it became more challenging for her to get to a salon, it was such a treat for her to have a stylist visit her,” she says. “It brought her such pleasure to have her hair done.”

Start a book club. Instead of just giving mom with a good book, take it a step further by turning the gift into a little book club. Whether you both read the book in advance and then have a date to discuss or make plans to read one chapter each weekend together, this will help her feel more connected, says Laura Gitlin, an applied research sociologist and dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

A DNA kit. One gift that every mother should receive is a 23 and Me DNA test, according to Dr. Scott Noorda, a family physician in Utah and creator of the Brainlift Neuroprotective Program

“It only takes a few minutes to spit in the tube and mail off the package, but what you get back is a fun look into your family’s origins and connections to relatives you never knew you had,” he says. “You can use FamilySearch.org to help mom chart her known ancestors and add the new relatives that she finds.”

Monthly treat subscription. “The mother of another friend of mine loves really good, quality ice cream but is now in assisted living and can’t drive, so the friend, who doesn’t live in the same town, arranged for the local ice cream parlor to deliver ice cream to her mother twice a month,” says Mary Greene, who was a caregiver for her mom and two aunts. 

Whether it’s pastries from her local bakery, Edible arrangements, or even a wine club for monthly tastings, sweet treats will bring your mom joy.

A virtual class. Bring experiences to her with virtual classes like this at-home Paint and Sip LIVE service. Before this Mother’s Day painting party, a kit with all of the supplies she needs can be delivered to her door so she’ll have everything ready to go without any prep work before the paint night.

Voice recognition device with a music subscription. Jill Leonard, founder of ImPowerAge, says that her mom has been a keen fan of the arts and music for most of her life. “When she was younger our house always had music playing, but I noticed in recent times that her habit of listening to music has waned,” she says. “It turns out that changing the radio station or putting on a record got to be too painful because it was difficult to get up to do so.” So last Mother’s Day, she wanted to bring music back into her mom’s life and she bought her a home assistant device with voice recognition and a music subscription. “It took her a bit of getting used to, but now she’s a pro,” she says. “It’s such a delight to see her enjoying her beloved tunes again.”

Mother’s Day gifts for seniors with cognitive challenges

If mom is dealing with memory struggles, these are some meaningful gifts that can benefit her brain and serve to remind her of heartwarming times.

A modern slideshow. For moms who have been diagnosed with dementia, a trip down memory lane can be one of the most rewarding things for them, explains Noorda. He recommends compiling old photos she hasn’t seen in a while and digitizing them if possible, to keep these beloved memories close at hand. 

“Taking them back to a time where they feel secure and more aware can be a powerful way to connect,” he says. “Digitizing old pictures, slides or home movies and then watching a slideshow with her will bring back those memories and become an amazing bonding experience.”

Video memory book or card. Instead of a handwritten card, consider video cards or books that let you upload a collection of videos and meaningful moments into a lasting video-playing book.  Check out Heirloom, a physical book with an integrated video player that automatically plays up to 10 minutes of video when opened.

A talking photo album. While digital frames are a fantastic way to revisit memories with moms, Megg Mars, founder of Safer Senior Care, recommends taking this gift up a notch with a talking photo album. “I love this product because Mom not only receives pictures from her children and grandchildren, she will hear their voices too,” she says. “You can record voice messages to remind her who everyone is and how much she means to you.” 

Puzzle sets. Colorful puzzles are a tactile and engaging source of entertainment for many older adults and for those with cognitive struggles, Mars recommends checking out Mindstart, a company that makes big puzzle pieces for people with dementia. 

Read-aloud books. Piyushi Dhir, who has been a caregiver for her grandparents as well as elderly parents, recommends a unique picture storybook called “The Sunshine on My Face: A Read-Aloud Book for Memory-Challenged Adults.” 

“This book supports shared reading, nostalgia and conversation through large, simple text and beautiful illustrations,” she says. “This book is great for moms with Alzheimer’s, you can use it to start a conversation, promote engagement, and the easy-to-read book encourages song suggestions for each illustration. Although Alzheimer’s can affect communication, this book stimulates remaining abilities and allows you to connect with Mom.” 

Mother’s Day gifts for seniors seeking companionship

For aging moms who are feeling isolated, the gift of companionship can be priceless. Whether it’s helping them feel connected to loved ones or forming new relationships, consider these ideas.

A virtual game party. If it isn’t possible due to geography or health restrictions for kids and grandkids to be together, conduct a Zoom party where everyone can play the same game together. 

For Anita Brooks, a corporate wellness expert who also cares for her mom, virtual Bingo is a win, because it’s what they used to play altogether years ago. “Doing her favorite thing shows how much we love her and how valued she is in the family,” she says.

A new hobby. A gift that will introduce a new hobby and social group can also be a gift that keeps on giving. “Pickleball paddles, golf lessons, a cooking class or a family history course can keep her brain young by providing opportunities for both personal growth and new relationships,” says Noorda.

A documentary or movie club. Either of these activities — both which can be done over Zoom or in-person — can curb feels of isolation. 

“Long-distance” gifts. You can show your mom you love her and that she’s always on your mind, even when you aren’t there with in-sync presents like light-up lamps or frames. When you touch yours, it will set theirs off with the color of your choice, as a special “I’m thinking of you.” She can do the same with hers, and you can also add additional friends or family members with their own colors. These spontaneous pops of love will light up her day or evening.

Mother’s Day gifts for all older adults 

These smile-inducing gift ideas are perfect for moms of all different ability levels.

Something that connects her to the outdoors. Gifts that help mom reconnect with nature will keep on giving all year round, explains Noorda. “A bird feeder and some bird seed can bring delight for a mom that isn’t able to get out as much as she used to,” he says. “For those that are more mobile, a raised gardening table that will allow her to garden without having to bend over can bring hours of enjoyment.” 

A self-care gift basket. Glenn Lane of Westchester Family Care says that gift baskets with skincare products, perfumes, essential oils and balms don’t just offer small keepsakes that bring a smile when gifted. 

“Such products are beneficial to all seniors, despite their medical ailments or lack thereof,” he says. “Smells from tinctures, oils, and creams can be both calming, therapeutic and meditative, but also can help seniors recall memories and be transported to another time and place. It makes them feel relaxed and at home.”

Gift that gives back or charity donation. For moms who have everything they want, or no room for anything else, a gift toward a good cause or their favorite charity is a powerful way to honor them this Mother’s Day. 

One example is this New Mother and Baby Kit, which gives new mothers in need the essential things like a bassinet, cloth diapers, blankets, a container for clean water and soap as well as providing mom with life-saving infant care training.

Afternoon tea. This year’s afternoon tea party might look a bit different depending on mom’s health or where you live. So if taking her out to a local tea parlor isn’t possible, you have many other options, explains Angela Renals of Destination Tea

She recommends looking into restaurants that are offering curbside Mother’s Day teas to-go or bringing the tea party to her by shipping a special delivery from her favorite tea. But whether she dines in or out, with you in-person or virtually, she’ll love the sentiment. “Especially for moms and mom-to-be that have recently been vaccinated and are eager to go out into the world again, it will be a pleasure to have a reason to get dressed up,” she adds. 

Manicure or pedicure date. Whether you take her out, treat her to a gift card or surprise her with an at-home visit, you can’t go wrong with a mani/pedi present. Blankenship says many older adults find it challenging to clip their toenails or work on feet calluses, so a pedicure is a win-win. 

Lastly, as you’re shopping, she offers one last important reminder: “Don’t forget their caregivers.” Whether or not she has children herself, consider surprising a caregiver with a gift on Mother’s Day. It’s a lovely way to thank someone who’s dedicated to ensuring your mom is well.