Finding the right holiday gift for someone can be a challenge. Finding the right holiday gifts for a senior with dementia provides an added challenge. Activities and hobbies that interested them a few months or even weeks ago may no longer have any appeal. So what do you do?
Matching the Gift with the Loved One
In the early stage of dementia, it is best to focus on gifts that stimulate the mind, the use of their hands, and their senses. Therefore, you must recognize that the gifts you give Mom or Dad may be different from the kind they have always enjoyed.
Even so, finding the right gift can be quite challenging. The gift should not be so below the senior’s cognitive ability that it could be perceived as boring, or even insulting. As the dementia progresses, the gifts should be less complicated but still stimulating for the person with dementia.
We’ve outlined our favorite gifts for seniors with dementia, broken out by the stage of dementia below. Take a look:
- Activity books, crossword puzzles, picture puzzles, and games
- CDs or DVDs of Movies and TV shows that are familiar to them
- Photo albums and a calendar of family occasions and celebrations
- Books and music or nature DVDs
- A gift made by a grandchild
Online you can find memory picture phones and dial-less phones – and phones that block unwanted calls. Reset Tips explains some of the phone features that simplify calling.
Gifts for the Middle Stage of Dementia
As dementia progresses, the emphasis is still on stimulating the mind and body and providing comfort. Gifts can include the items above in a somewhat less complex form. Also, consider the following:
- Erasable white boards
- Clocks that display the time, day, and date
- Toiletries and products that pamper
- Crafts, toolbox kits, beading kits, and latches boards
- Activity pillows (if your senior loved one is fidgety)
Late-Stage Dementia Gift Ideas
As your loved one’s dementia continues to progress, consider the following gift ideas:
- Stuffed animals
- Weighted lap pad
- Special clothing that make dressing and undressing easier
- Music DVDs (music stimulates even in dementia’s late stages)
The Best Gifts for a Senior with Dementia?
These items are just suggestions. You will need to observe your loved one closely because dementia progresses differently in each person. What kind of stimulation do you believe Mom or Dad needs? What interests did they have in the past that perhaps can be re-kindled with the “right” gift? Maybe they used to read but no longer do. Bring a book, read it to them, and leave it with them. Talk to them about photos in their new photo album. Encourage them to reminisce. Bring something as simple as baked cookies to stimulate their senses and connect them to memories.
The gift you hand to a loved one with dementia may not be what you are used to giving or what they are used to receiving – and that’s fine. Just remember that to them, the most important gift you bring will be the gift of yourself—your physical presence, the sound of your voice, and your expression of devotion, concern, and love.
Find more tips to keep this holiday season happy for you and your senior loved ones on our blog!