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Holiday Gift Guide for Someone with Dementia


Alissa Sauer

The holiday shopping season is here! While it’s fun to browse the shelves looking for that perfect gift for your senior loved one, it can also be stressful – especially when your loved one has Alzheimer’s or a related form of dementia. Depending on his or her living environment, needs and desires, it can be challenging to find a gift that shows your love and care. These gift ideas can help you find a gift that shows your feelings while also being helpful and useful.

Top 10 Holiday Gifts for a Senior with Dementia

1. Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to keep the mind active and the hands engaged. From a simple 7-piece puzzle to larger more complex options, jigsaw puzzles are a great gift that can be a fun activity to do together, or one your loved one can do on his or her own time. To make the gift more personal, choose a custom photo puzzle of your family or loved one’s favorite vacation spot.

2. Crafts

Beading, toolbox kits, and latches boards are great gifts for busy hands. These can give your loved one a sense of accomplishment while exercising the mind.

3. Fidget or Activity Items

These items can help relieve anxiety and keep seniors who may be fidgety busy. Activity aprons, activity pillows, and other similar items can help keep the minds and hands occupied, refocusing attention and giving your loved one a much needed outlet.

4. Blankets

This is a great gift for a senior in the later stage of dementia. Consider purchasing a weighted blanket that may help your loved one feel more safe and relaxed or make it more personal with a custom photo blanket.

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5. Photo album

Leave your loved one with some of your favorite memories in a photo album. This is a gift you could even make together, crafting, cutting, and organizing while reminiscing and enjoying each other’s company. If you’d rather do it on your own, consider a ‘talking’ photo album that allows you to record your own commentary and memories for each picture.

6. Stuffed animal

A stuffed animal or a therapy doll can help relieve anxiety while also giving your loved one a sense of purpose and accomplishment. A stuffed dog or cat can bring joy to animal lovers who are no longer able to care for a pet but still long for the companionship provided by furry friends. They can also help ease feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

7. Assistive clothing

Clothing made specifically for people with dementia can help make dressing easier with soft fabrics, Velcro, snap, and zip closures. Additionally, some assistive clothing, like back zip jumpsuits, can help prevent spontaneous undressing. Other assistive items like utensils and tableware can increase independent eating and food and liquid intake.

8. Music player

Music has been shown to have positive effects on people with dementia. From relieving anxiety and agitation to even recalling memories thought to be lost, music is very powerful. A music player that is simple to use with large buttons and volume control can help your loved one incorporate music in his or her daily life.

9. Day Clocks

Day clocks are a great way to help your loved one keep a routine. They can help reduce agitation and limit repetitive questions. Some can even send reminders to take medication at certain times.

10. Your time

Nothing is worth more than your time. Commit to visiting your loved one in memory care regularly or read a book series throughout the year together. Make a list of fun projects to do together during the holidays or accompany him or her to community events.

What’s on your holiday list for a loved one with dementia? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear them!

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