Finding the perfect gift can be a daunting task, but when you're shopping for a loved one with dementia, there’s an additional element to the challenge. You might think to yourself, “Will he still enjoy this?” or “He’s changed so much - what makes him happy now?” It doesn’t have to be hard, though. Just remember: your loved one with dementia is just a regular person and still has wants and needs just like the rest of us.
Here are five suggestions for gifts for loved ones with a dementia, like Alzheimer’s Disease, that they might find both helpful and fun:
Useful items - Particularly in the early stages of dementia, items like activity books, colorful post-it note stationary and elegant notebooks can help keep the mind active and provide a place to jot reminders.Comfortable clothing like soft robes, cardigans and slippers is a nice gift for anyone. In later stages, items of clothing that make dressing easier can be particularly helpful like slip-on or velcro shoes.
Entertainment - Favorite films and classic television shows featuring the stars of your loved one's era like I Love Lucy and variety shows like The Dean Martin Show are a huge hit.Musicals like White Christmas and Yankee Doodle Dandy can be particularly enjoyable because it's easier to follow their story. Nature documentaries are another engaging option with their expansive imagery.
Music - Recordings of beloved artists and favorite songs can have a powerful impact on those with dementia.Studies have shown that playing familiar music can deeply resonate within a person's mind and there are many stories of non-verbal patients suddenly singing along with their favorite tunes. Play the albums or invest in a simple-to-use MP3 player loaded with your loved one's favorite artists.
Photos - There are many ways to give the gift of a friendly image. An album of photos of family members and friends captioned with their names and simple description can be a special momento.Another excellent option is to create a calendar with those family photos. Drug stores like Walgreens offer a great option that lets you add a photo along with a caption to important dates.
Dolls and handyman kits - More than just toys, a lifelike baby doll can give those with the later stages of dementia a feeling of attachment and the responsibility for caring for another.Similarly, handyman kits offer men with dementia a way to use their hands and provide stimulation. (For tips on how to use dolls to the best benefit, see these suggestions.)
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