Buying a gift for loved ones is hard, but it can be even more difficult if that loved one has dementia. How do you find them a gift that feels personal and unique, but also has a functional purpose to help improve their cognition?
While it can be difficult to find a gift for those closest to you, your best effort is all that anyone can ask for. With that said, we can help get you started with ten great ideas that your family member will love.
If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, then you know that one of the most severe problems they face is memory loss. While this loss of memory can impede on the individual’s daily life, it can be even more stressful for loved ones who fear that their family member might forget about all of the memories they’ve shared.
One in nine adults over 45 experience memory loss, so you’re not alone in your feelings.
Packing an album with old pictures is a fantastic way to jog the memory of individuals with dementia, as it can help them to remember cherished moments and memories. It’s a great way to stimulate their memory while also giving them a keepsake to look through whenever they’d like.
Plus, it can help spark a conversation between you and your loved one. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about their past that you never knew before!
Giving puzzles and activities to people with dementia has multiple benefits. For one, it can help improve their ability to problem solve or complete simple tasks. It can also give them a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that they were able to do something on their own.
Activity books that are filled with age appropriate coloring pages, word searches, crosswords, and more are perfect gifts that have a practical function. It can even be something that you can complete with them to spend some quality time.
Another common symptom of dementia, especially in later stages, is restlessness and fidgeting. It’s a behavioral symptom that can lead to agitation and aggression, which can be upsetting for family members.
A great tool to help keep your loved one’s hands occupied is a fidget quilt. These are soft blankets that have little balls, strings, and other soft sensory items attached to keep their hands busy. This can make them feel more calm and relaxed, lessening the aggression that sometimes coincides with restlessness.
You can even make your own fidget quilt to give them as a homemade present!
Giving people with dementia a real pet to care for on their own isn’t fully appropriate, but people with dementia can still find some comfort and purpose in being able to take care of something.
This is why stuffed animals are a perfect gift. Your loved one can care for their plushy as if it were real, giving them a sense of comfort in having a furry companion. You can even go a step further and get a realistic robotic dog or cat that moves and acts just like the real thing.
As dementia becomes more severe, it can be harder and harder for patients to complete daily tasks. Tying shoes and buttoning shirts are two examples of this growing challenge for people with dementia with worsening motor skills.
Consider getting your loved one a stylish velcro outfit that incorporates easy-to-use velcro rather than buttons. This can make it easier for them to dress themselves. Additionally, velcro shoes can make it much easier to put on their footwear before they start their day.
The Amazon Echo, often referred to as Alexa, is a great tool for anyone who is looking for a voice controlled smart assistant. The Echo Show, an upgraded version of the standard Echo, also contains a video screen.
The benefits of Amazon echo for people with dementia never-ending. For one, it can help them maintain their schedule and create lists, not to mention make it easy to watch shows and get information.
The Echo Show also allows you to make video calls to your loved ones without them needing to physically accept the call. Just activate the “drop-in” feature and you can check in on your family members without actually needing to be there in person!
We know this might sound a little bit “out there” as a gift for a dementia patient, but music is a really important and effective therapy for dementia care. Getting your loved one a ticket to a favorite band or orchestra can really brighten their day.
Consider taking them to a festive concert around the holiday season, or maybe a tribute band for one of their favorite childhood artists. Not only can this gift give them a change of scenery, but it can also help them relive some fond memories that they may associate with the music.
As dementia develops into later stages, it can be difficult for your loved one to communicate with words; but that doesn’t mean they can’t still communicate through art!
Devoting some time to paint with them can give you the ability to spend quality time with your loved one as they use their creative juices to make something new. There’s even a chance that their picture will give you some insight into their current line of thinking.
This is a fun activity that the whole family can get involved in. Just be sure to use non-toxic paints in case some accidentally gets swallowed!
Being able to keep track of time and date can help dementia patients reduce confusion and remain oriented in their surroundings. Consider getting them a clock that communicates the time and exact date, including day of the week and time of day.
You can even look into wall clocks that have audio features that verbally communicate the time. This can help your loved one stay connected and oriented to the time and day of the week.
Similarly, a large wall calendar can be helpful too. This is a perfect gift to coincide with the wall clock as it can allow them to keep up with their schedule and remain engaged with upcoming activities.
The cheapest, and arguably best gift, on this list is your company. By just devoting some quality time to spend with your loved ones, you are creating meaningful moments and strengthening the relationship that you have.
This can be difficult, especially as their condition worsens. However, even if your loved one is unable to properly communicate their appreciation, just being there with them can go a really long way.
Think of some fun activities that you can do together.Go for a walk around a local park or out to dinner at their favorite restaurant. Regardless, you can use this as an opportunity to learn more about them and rekindle some more memorable moments.
It can be difficult to shop for gifts for dementia patients, especially when you want to make sure it has a practical benefit that will enhance the lives of your loved one.
If you’re really at a loss, there’s nothing better than just spending some time with your loved one. Your company is the best gift of all, so you can’t go wrong with devoting a day to doing a fun activity with them.
Caring for loved ones with dementia can be challenging, but the specialists at Waltham Clinic are trained and skilled at providing high-quality care to those experiencing cognitive or functional decline in assisted living communities.
To learn more about how we can help, contact us today.