Finding the perfect gift for family members and friends during the holiday season can be a struggle. Add an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis onto an already difficult task and many are left scrambling to find the right gift their loved ones will get excited about. That is why we took the time to compile a list (and updated it for 2022) of the best gift ideas that are sure to put gift givers in the holiday spirit.
Best gift of comfort for someone living with dementia
For your loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, the world around them can sometimes feel like a scary and unfamiliar place. Having items that bring comfort available can be a great option to help them to relax when they need it most. For example, if your loved one grew up with pets they may find comfort in a mechanical pet or even a stuffed animal.
Here are some examples of comforting gifts:
· Regular or weighted blankets
· Slippers with non-skid soles
· Stuffed animals and/or mechanical pets
· Pampering toiletries like soothing lotions (although depending on stage of dementia and sensitivity to smells, ensure they are non-toxic if ingested)
· Comfortable clothes that are easy to put on or remove
Best holiday gifts to keep someone with dementia entertained
One of the best ways to keep your loved one with dementia in good spirits is to keep them engaged in activities that bring joy. Boredom can make the days drag on and ultimately lead to depression. Although your loved one may not be able to participate in all of the activities they once enjoyed, there is still plenty to keep them busy throughout the day.
Here are some examples of activity-oriented gifts for a person with dementia:
· Voice activated smart speaker (i.e. Amazon Echo)
· Playing cards
· Adult coloring books (with photos of places or other areas of interest) and nostalgic activity books
· Tickets to online performances
· Audio books
· Music players already set to a preferred station or loaded with a playlist of their favorite songs
Give special memory-evoking gifts this holiday season
As your loved one’s memory loss increases, gifts that remind them of places and people that brought them joy can elicit enjoyment too. Putting together a scrapbook of some of his/her best memories is a thoughtful way to make older adults smile this holiday season. As your loved one’s memory declines, taking the time to label each photo with some of the details such as names, relationship to your loved one, and the location makes for a nice touch.
Here are some more memory-evoking gift ideas:
· Photo albums or digital photo frames
· Books about places where your loved one has traveled
· Music that is reminiscent of old/good times
· Favorite movies
· Sports memorabilia
Best activities to do with someone living with dementia during the holidays
Above all else you could offer this holiday season, the gift of your time is most valuable. Sit and talk to your loved one, reminisce about old times, or plan activities to do together.
Here are some activities you can do with your loved one:
· Play a card game
· Cook a favorite meal
· Bake a favorite treat
· Put on some music and dance around the house
· Decorate for the holidays together
· Make a craft together
· Look over old photos of good memories
If you have additional questions about gift items for someone living with dementia, reach out to Ask Mimi.