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Gift Giving for People with Dementia

December 4, 2015

By Editor
Gift Giving for People with Dementia
Each holiday season, many struggle with buying the perfect present for those they love. Will he be able to use this? Will she like this colour?
Caregivers or loved ones of a person with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias might find themselves in similarly frustrating situations. Fortunately, there are many wonderful gift ideas for people with dementia that are both pleasurable and useful for the recipient. 
Early-Stage dementia
The majority of individuals in the early stages of dementia can still manage many of their daily activities themselves but may need some assistance or support to stay organized. For example, some people affected by early-stage Alzheimer's may have trouble carrying out everyday tasks that require multiple steps, like balancing a cheque book or remembering what to buy at the grocery store. Gifts which help to foster mental stimulation, old memories and socializing are great for individuals at the earlier stages of dementia. Some examples are:
  • Crossword puzzles and strategy games to keep the mind active.
  • Reading material reflecting your loved one’s interests.
  • An iPod with a personalized playlist.
  • Plan an outing to a movie, play, sporting event or other similar activities.
Mid-Stage Dementia
People with moderate Alzheimer's or mid-stage dementia may experience gaps in memory and require some assistance with daily activities like bathing, choosing clothing and eating reminders. Individuals at this stage may have trouble recognizing family members and may feel restless. Simple gifts that can help bring back pleasant memories are best, such as:
·         A CD with favourite music.
·         Framed photographs/photo collages with people’s names labelled.
·         Simple games or puzzles.
Advanced-Stage Dementia
People at this stage often require complete assistance with the activities of daily living, like eating and using the bathroom. These folks may be largely unaware of all recent events and life experiences. Gifts that provide sensory stimulation or are particularly useful can include:
  • Comfortable and easy to remove clothing. 
  • Nature or other videos that feature visual and auditory stimulation.
  • Doll or stuffed animal.
Most importantly, the best gift most of us can give to those we care for -  at any stage of their illness - is the gift of time.  It is that gift of time, to chat over a cup of tea, to run small errands or simply visit and sit together, that can mean a lot to someone with dementia.
For more holiday support ideas to keep you and your loved ones safe and happy this holiday season or more gift ideas, please visit our website www.alzheimerlondon.ca.