Sentimental Gift Ideas for Grandparents in Assisted Living

Jan 7, 2023

When you’re celebrating big events (or small), from personal accomplishments to holidays, gifting can make the occasion special. Sometimes the one you love has a thorough wish list of items they’ve requested (or dropped very unsubtle hints). But what can you give when your loved ones say, “I don’t need anything?” Or maybe you’re searching for a unique, wow-factor idea.

Choosing a sentimental gift for loved ones or grandparents in assisted living and personal care can be challenging. You want to give them something they’ll cherish, whether it’s a gift supporting their life in their community or a snapshot of a valued experience.

The best gifts always come from the heart. But it can also help to look at curated general ideas to inspire a personalized gift. The key is getting to know your loved ones’ lifestyle and any likes or interests.

Activities & Events

Spending time with loved ones is a gift. Human connection—the sense of belonging and closeness—nourishes health, physical, mental, and emotional. Healthy social relationships can lengthen lifespan, reduce stress, and support cognitive health. Gifting your time and attention to someone is precious and can mean a lot to a loved one.

Arranging a one-on-one or group activity with friends and family can offer meaningful experiences they’ll treasure. It can be an intimate, quiet hangout or an energy-fused event. Base your activity or event on your loved one’s typical energy level or how much time they feel comfortable being away from home.

Examples include:

  • Crafting (build a gingerbread house or paint together)
  • Family meal (dining out or cooking together)
  • Game or trivia night (board games, puzzles, mini putt)
  • Manicure or pedicure (with you or a group)
  • Spa treatment or massage
A grandmother sitting on a sofa covering her eyes with both hands while a young girl is holding flowers making a surprise gift for her grandmother.

Kind Gestures

Physical gifts have value, but they can also clutter. When your loved ones already have everything they need in their residence, sometimes a kind gesture is most valued. A kind gesture might be a temporary item or something supporting their everyday lifestyle.

Examples include:

  • Digitize favorite handmade memorabilia or childhood drawings
  • Edible gift basket (favorite foods, tea & coffee, fruit, or charcuterie)
  • Flowers & wreaths (real or artificial, styled for everyday or festive)
  • House slippers or socks with grippers (to reduce slips or falls)
  • Organize (or frame) keepsakes, photos, or collectibles
  • Perform a favorite song, poem, or theatrical scene
  • Weighted blanket, heated blanket, or heating pad
  • Write a letter (handwritten or typed, but personalized)

Keepsakes & Collectibles

Keepsakes and collectibles are longer-lasting than kind gestures but can be seasonal or longer-lasting. The keepsake might feature a family member’s photo, or a collectible might add warmth to their residence. When possible, avoid adding clutter and focus on adding something they’ll look at or use regularly. Or at least use the item completely.

For example, you might gift:

  • A custom photo puzzle, calendar, or album
  • Holiday decorations (& help taking them down after!)
  • Handmade or personalized scrapbook
  • A signed item signed (favorite celebrity, athlete, musician)
  • Print or digital subscriptions (magazines, journals)

Hobbies & Recreation

When your loved one or grandparent has a favorite hobby—or a few favorites—it can narrow your gifting focus. You know they’ll appreciate an item supporting their hobby, but make sure it’s not a double! If you’re gifting for a big occasion, like a birthday or holiday, coordinate with other siblings or friends who might have the same brilliant idea.

You know your loved one’s hobbies best, but some general ideas include:

  • Booklight, custom bookmark, or special edition book
  • Craft supplies (paint brushes, pencils, cardstock)
  • Gardening tools (gloves, kneeling pad)
  • Local guidebook (birds, wildlife, plants, walking paths)


Technology can make everyday tasks easier, support long-distance communication, or add a little fun. Many forms of digital technology are user-friendly, so your loved ones can stress less about figuring out a new system. And you can help them set it up with ease.

Some technology loved ones in assisted living may appreciate include:

  • Charging station (all-in-one for fewer cords)
  • Digital photo frames
  • E-reader (or a portable digital magnifier)
  • Music player (press-and-play or voice-controlled)
  • Tablet (for entertainment or video calling)

Everyday Essentials 

Think of the things your loved one uses every day. So many household items can run out or run ragged, and gifting them an upscale version—or a replacement of a classic favorite—can let them know you care. Everyday essentials can make life cozier or more comfortable. It’s useful, so they can appreciate your thoughtfulness every time they use the item.

Gift ideas for every day include:

  • Bath or shower gift basket
  • Cozy bathrobe & bath towel set
  • Hair accessories (clips, ties)
  • Hand or body lotions
  • Personalized mug, cup, or water bottle
  • Toiletry gift basket

Gifting Community

They say it’s the thought that counts. When you put your love and care into a gift, it shows. Regardless of the size, cost, or occasion of your gift, giving can show your loved ones you value your relationship. Connection is a precious gift, and encouraging your loved ones’ social connections can support their quality of life.The community at Chestnut Ridge strives to build connections so our residents feel inspired and fulfilled. We put the wellness of our residents first. Schedule a visit or contact us to learn more about becoming part of the Chestnut Ridge family!