I was a craft worker for many years, and one of the things I use to make was stress stones. First, I would find nice smooth stones and often got one with a crack on one side that could be imagined as a mouth (as you can see in the photo above) to give them a bit of character. I then painted on the eyes with acrylic paint and gave them a pupil with a permanent marker.
If I had or was part of a craft exhibition, I always had a bowl of them with me. I also wrote a short verse and included it with each stone.
"If you are feeling low and in need of comfort, or just want someone to talk to...
This stone will listen without getting angry or answering back.
Squeeze it gently in your hand, and it will really understand."
It was amazing how many levels they appealed to people.
While some wanted one for themselves to keep in the pocket and use as a fidget tool when they felt stressed, others had a friend that wasn't feeling the best and they wanted to give them a stone for some stress relief.
Children particularly loved the look of them and wanted them for fun, a bit like a personal pet.
This is a fun, creative social project for older adults, and you can do it with groups or individuals.
Finally, be aware that stones are hard, and if someone is prone to throwing things, this might not be the best idea for them. Likewise, bear in mind that if the stones are too small, they can be swallowed.