Have you already found a Holiday gift for your Mom and Dad? We understand that finding the right gift is challenging, especially if your senior loved one has dementia. The key is to match the right type of gift with the particular type and stage of dementia. When you do that, that gift will keep on giving. Generally speaking, a gift for someone with dementia should be a gift that stimulates and engages the mind of the Elderly person and offers them peace and comfort. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a condition is diagnosed as dementia if at least two of the following core mental functions are significantly impaired:
- Communication and language
- Ability to focus and pay attention
- Reasoning and judgment
- Visual perception
Ask your Mom’s healthcare provider about what stage and type of dementia your loved one has. Her mental functions might be impaired to a lesser or greater extent depending on the type and stage of her illness. This information will be helpful in determining the type of gift which will be the most appropriate. For example, a gift that would mentally stimulate your Mom, would be more appropriate in earlier stages of dementia. Puzzles make great gifts for someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. A cozy, soft blanket may be more comforting in later stages, when there is a very severe cognitive decline and difficulty with verbal communication.
Here are several examples of dementia-friendly gifts that will keep on giving.
A Gift that Will Sharpen Mom’s Thinking and Focus
- Board games, especially games with larger components (easier to see, pick and handle), with sorting and organizing functions, where Mom needs to match colors and shapes
- Puzzles with fewer, larger pieces, which Mom and Dad can put together and have a sense of accomplishment and pride
- Coloring books with reminiscent topics and a box of large, easy-to-handle crayons
A Gift that Enables Them to Remember, Recall and Relive
- Key locator for those often misplaced keys
- Kitchen clock with big screen displaying date, time and day of the week
- TV remote control with fewer and larger buttons
- Homemade calendar with most important family dates
- Handcrafted photo album or scrapbook
- Daily journal or notebook so she can write down her plans, upcoming appointments, or medications to take
- CD with music your loved ones like the most (Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Benny Goodman, Tony Bennett, Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, etc.). This type of gift will surely be music to their ears
- DVD with Dad’s favorite movie or Mom’s beloved TV show. Who does not love “I Love Lucy”? We all do, and laughter is the best medicine
- Her favorite perfume, soap and his favorite aftershave — those toiletry items can also trigger positive memories and stimulate senses
A Gift that Will Help Your Mom and Dad Reunite with Family and Nature
- Bird feeder will be a great way to reconnect with nature, enjoy bird watching and relieve Mom’s stress and agitation
- Group tickets to a movie, concert, basketball or baseball game
- Arranging a family fishing trip for your Dad
- Gift card to parents’ favorite restaurant and a promise to join them for a family meal
A Gift that Will Keep Them Safe and Warm
- Soft blanket or a scented pillow (with Mom’s favorite herbs inside), which will stimulate her senses
- Comfortable, easy-to-wash and easy-to-remove clothing. Sweaters, socks, robes, hats and scarves fall into that group
- If Mom has a tendency to wander off, medical alert bracelet may be a useful gift. Pick the one which is also beautiful and Mom can wear it as a jewelry piece
The key is to select only one meaningful gift. Mom and Dad, if they suffer from dementia, may actually feel overwhelmed and frustrated when presented with more than one gift.
We hope that you found this article helpful, and that you are now better equipped to select a gift that will keep on giving.
With Love for the Elderly…