senior man with dementia receiving holiday gift with blue bow from family caregiver

For most families, the holiday season is a time for gathering, sharing, laughter and memories. It’s also a time for gifts and presents for everyone, but seniors with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia may not be able to use gifts they would have loved to receive in the past. Choosing gifts for seniors with a memory disorder can be challenging.

When deciding what to give a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease during the festive season, choose a gift that involves photos or memories, entertains, and that can boost their creativity.

Wondering what to give? We have thoughtful gift ideas for seniors living with dementia that we know will thrill your loved one.

1. Custom Photo Storybook

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias affect problem-solving skills, thinking capabilities, and cause memory loss. A senior living with dementia may end up losing their identity over time. Think of a gift that will involve past photos or memories to help them recall their past experiences they can share. A custom storybook will remind them of certain people, things, places, and experiences that can bring them joy. Fill the book with family photos, places they visited, or you visited together, and even photos of their younger selves.

2. Auto Answer Video-Call Devices and Accessories

Technology can be a great gift to your senior loved one and yourself as well. There is nothing better than a gift that will enhance communication between you and your loved ones. An auto-answer video device like ViewClix photo frame and Echo Show smart display have auto-answer features that help seniors stay connected. You can see them as often as you would like, and the seniors get a direct line to family members who are precious to them without any struggle.

3. Puzzle and Activity Books

There are many wonderful, age-appropriate activities that come with instructions and can help ensure that the person with dementia feels a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Many are tested with seniors at different stages of dementia to ensure that the activities are enjoyable and well-suited for various ability levels. Gifts that entertain and boosts creativity can have a deep and meaningful impact.

Keep in mind these things to consider when gifting puzzles and activity books:

  • Pick large prints and easy-to-read fonts. Eyesight depreciates with age, and you don’t want loved-ones to strain figuring out words, letters, and images.
  • Simple patterns work best. Over time, dementia can interfere with the ability to complete simple, daily tasks, which is why simple patterns, designs, words, and puzzles are ideal.
  • Include variety. Choose activity books with the most options and activities to present a new challenges. Options with things such as puzzles, coloring spaces, word games, mazes, and origamis, are the best.

4. Weighted Blankets

Weighted blankets have been scientifically proven to relieve distress and anxiety. They’re especially helpful for soothing people with Alzheimer’s or dementia – day or night. The heaviness of the blanket is sometimes called deep pressure therapy. When our body feels a gentle pressure, we produce serotonin, a key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness that improves mood and promotes calm. A 2008 study showed that weighted blankets were a safe and effective therapy for decreasing anxiety.

5. Cuddle Toys

In advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, our loved-ones can feel agitated or anxious at times. The calming benefits of spending time with a pet can also be experienced with stuffed animals. Stuffed animals don’t pose safety issues, such as tripping, and your loved one can keep them by their side all the time if that’s what they want.

A cuddle toy can give seniors living with dementia a chance to nurture and care for something else, which stimulates positive emotions and can increase overall happiness. If you gift a stuffed animal that reminds them of one of their own beloved pets, it may be especially soothing.

6. Personal Time Is the Greatest Gift

Playbooks, puzzles, custom photo storybooks, and auto-answer video call devices are all ideal gifts for your senior loved with dementia, but sometimes the greatest gift of all is time spent together. Dementia can steal away memories and mobility, the way we make our loved-ones feel always remains.


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