If they have a CD player (I bought my dad one of those boom boxes with a CD player in it for $29 from Best Buy) there are great things on CD like "Great Speeches of the 20th Century" (check it out on Barnes and Noble/Amazon) or Lake Wobegone or tapes from the old radio shows that they might love to hear again. Or songs from WWII or Big Bands. Often these are the times they can still remember... and I've seen it put a smile on the face of someone with little memory, and perk up a sleepy or depressed person in seconds.
FEEL GOOD BOOKS
Is anyone active AND hip enough to use a NetFlicks subscription? If not, then how about a subscription to anything from Readers Digest to Scientific American to the Daily Word to Astronomy to Cooks Illustrated or something like that? Too bad Life Magazine is no longer. People comes closest but it's still no comparison.
If any of them still cook -- or bake cookies - how about getting them a new cookie sheet or two with those $19 Silpat liners? Now that's a newfangled product they'll love! Or replace all their old cracked spatulas, burnt pots, etc. Some may be favorites or carry memories, so think about what might really be useful -- maybe just new potholders, dishtowels, scrub sponges?
Fab dominoes set? New bridge double deck 'o cards with a beautiful decoration on it? a tool for some hobby they have (ie: Men - wood working tool? Ladies who knit, some fab, unusual yarn).
Not all older folks are used to this, but a Gift certificate for a theraputic massage (even if the local person comes to their house?). A manicure for the ladies or if the men were from that era, an old fashioned barbershop shave (that would take a little research on your part in their area).
If they do know how to work a DVD at home, there are wonderful Boxed sets of old movies by director or actor. One all round crowd pleaser can be the singles or 4 DVD boxed set of "That's Entertainment". Or try for the Oscar Winners from a certain time period in their lives. For the veteran there are plenty of war documentaries, shows on weapons and Ken Burns works such on PBS's website. Discovery Channel and National Geographic has things like "Dirtiest Jobs", Myth Busters, Survivorman, and a plethora of things on space, astronomy, how things were made, etc... You may want to look for religious DVD's as well. Or video format scriptures based on their beliefs. Charlton Heston does a good one on the bible, found HERE
Lastly, it never hurts to make up a photo album or a DVD of old photos, and you can make the same for each sibling if you have older aunts and uncles to buy for. It's always nice if you can seek old ones they haven't seen in years, of them in their prime, or the best times of their lives.