I'm 75 and we use a 'proper' computer, and wouldn't thank anyone for a tablet; wouldn't have any use for one, and my wife only has cheapest 'mobile' for emergency use.
As one gets older, you think back to 'the old days'! I have bought myself lots of old, large scale Ordnance Survey MAPS from The Alan Godfrey Edition. They are only £2.50 each, with postage at £1.50 per order. They cover most towns throughout UK, and are particularly useful for industrial and railway sites, and changing populations. So maps of where he used to live, as a child or later, work, flew from and to, etc, would (if he is anything like me) be very fascinating! And certainly an original present!
They range in dates from 1850s to 1920s, and I have some of areas at three different dates, so you can track the changing growth of industry, transport etc. The back of each map has relevant information about the area, written by local experts.
I recently watched the movie The Ladykillers, as it has rare scenes of steam trains in the KIngs Cross, St Pancras areas, and have maps near the area.
As a child I lived in the middle of what is now The Ironbridge Gorge Museum, in the 'Victorian tiles' village of Jackfield, and I have several maps of that area.
For me, their on-line order system has been efficient and reliable.
I bought a good dorling kindersley (I think!) book on aircraft for my mum's partner. He's 80, was a pilot in the war and still likes flying things. It was a big book but full of pictures, from the very earliest planes right through to the most modern stuff. He really liked it - was nice to dip in and out of rather than be a big serious read.
Ferguson FWIW my parents are the same generation as you, and are literally addicted to the tablet they got last year, using it for reading, skyping their DG's, watching iplayer etc. etc. They also have a 'proper' pc, and basic mobiles. You could even download old maps to it....
Thanks for all the suggestions! He has a pad. My SIL has shown him the you tube clip of an older person using it as a chopping board.. he is still laughing and trying to work out what he will use it for.
Gin distillery very promising. Might need to go myself in case there is a tasting