Having a hard time thinking of a gift to get someone with dementia or Alzheimer's? It can be tricky to know what to get and becomes a daunting task quickly. This list of gifts for dementia patients as well as those with Alzheimer's disease makes buying a gift so much easier.
I know how difficult it is to find a gift for a loved one with dementia. My dad has Primary Progressive Aphasia.
This is a disease where the language part of the brain is damaged resulting in difficulties with speech and understanding language. It is categorized as a type of dementia.
Therefore, gift giving had to become creative in a different way. I have included gifts that my family has given as well other gift ideas that would fit anyone with some form of memory loss.
This post offers the best selection of gifts for dementia patients and those with Alzheimer's disease.
39 Great Gifts For Dementia Patients
Conversation cards are one of the best gifts for the early and middle to later stage of dementia. They come in different sets and are a great way to trigger memory and stimulate conversation.
A person with dementia may be able to visualize what they want to say but have a difficult time recalling the name of the object. We run into this constantly with my father.
Showing him pictures eases the frustration associated with not being able to name an object. Also, a conversation is able to be more easily started to better stimulate the mind. This also allows the person to be involved in conversation.
Puzzles are the perfect gift to use to stimulate the neurons in the brain. We used these often in the early stages of dementia.
It is important to Keep the puzzle to an appropriate size as well as the size of the puzzle pieces. Also, consider the preferences of the individual as well to keep the person interested in the activity.
This gift is a wonderful way for family members to let a person know they are thinking of him or her using a visual reminder.
A great gift idea for the holiday season and targeted for early-stage dementia and possibly middle-stage dementia.
The light is triggered to change color through touch. The light comes as a set of one or two and is set up to be in sync with another touch light. When a person touches the light, the person that has the other light will see their lamp turn a different color. This lets the family member know that they are thinking of them or sending a hello message.
My sister gave this to my dad. Both my parents were able to get use out of this gift. Children love to signal to their grandma and grandpa that they are sending them love even though they live hours away.
Many picture frames are on the market. However, this particular picture frame allows several family members to upload pictures to the frame through the use of an app.
This keeps pictures up to date for the person receiving the images. Older adults often are reluctant to use these technological features so it makes it easier on them.
This gift is an option for any stage of the disease. Although it may be more difficult for the late stages of dementia.
A GPS tracker is useful for Alzheimer's patients as well as a good idea for late-stage dementia patients. A person at this stage has a tendency to walk off or become distracted and lose track of direction.
The tracking device lets a loved one or a caregiver locate the individual with memory loss. This also allows for more freedom and a peace of mind.
Appropriate sleeping patterns become disrupted for the person with dementia or Alzheimer's disease. In order to help the person know when to go to bed or get up, a digital, easy-to-read clock that uses a gentle sunrise visualization comes in handy.
Studies have indicated that robopets help dementia patients handle emotions better and helps to stabilize their mood. This thoughtful gift has also been shown in other studies to decrease anxiety and stress in dementia patients.
Some ethical concerns have been addressed including the misperception of the robopet being a real-life animal. However, the use of these pets have also been shown to be preferred to stuffed animals because of their abilities to interact with the robopet.
Getting in and out as well as up and down from a seated position is made easier with this swivel cushion. These gifts can be pricey, so this is best used with people that have pain associated with getting in and out of the car.
People with cognitive decline may have difficulty with sequencing. So a swivel chair should be considered if you know that the problem with getting out of the car is due to pain or that it will actually make getting up easier.
This is an ideal gift for all the different stages of dementia. Name recall becomes difficult even if the person with memory loss recognizes the face. Reinforcing name recall through the use of this family album is a great choice.
The album is designed to hold family pictures. The recording will play stating the person's name in the picture when a button is pushed.
#10 Sensory Night Light
Here is another gift that is great for any person experiencing balancing issues or easily becomes disoriented.
My father got up in the middle of the night and ran into a wall knocking him to the floor.
A night light like the one above is helpful and can be easily placed in areas that will be most useful to the person needing dementia care. It is not triggered to light until there is movement.
Supplements can be very helpful for the person with cognitive decline or Alzheimer's because their body usually has underlying issues which may have triggered dementia problems in the first place.
A gift card to get need supplements can come in handy since supplements are often times pricey.
#12 Food Basket of Snacks / Favorite Drinks
Keeping nutrients in the body can help balance things like blood pressure, mood, and memory recall. Giving a gift basket of safe and useful snacks can come in very handy for the caregiver of the dementia patient.
This gift will make going out to eat easier for the person with dementia as well as the caregiver. Looking through pictures to identify what he or she would like to eat is often time easier than recalling the food name from memory.
This gift can be created in many forms. They can be made of paper and laminated or created on an Ipad or phone. You can also create a physical book to look through created through a site like this one.
Sensory stimulation is a great way to help a person ease and relax the body. This can especially come in handy at night time when the body is getting ready to sleep.
Weighted blankets have been proven to be useful for those having difficulty sleeping. This case study shows the benefits for a person with dementia. It is important to know the size and weight of the person, however, to get an appropriate weighted blanket.
You will want to do your research on this before just buying any weighted blanket. However, there are other weighted things that can help relax and calm a person as well as this weighted shoulder sack.
Another gift that can be useful when trying to get a person with dementia to sleep well through the night is this blackout shade. Light can play a big role in alerting the body to get up.
Time changes can become even more problematic for the dementia patients. Keeping the room dark longer allows the body to rest longer and not be triggered to wake up due to the light.
The one-touch music player is a great idea for someone with cognitive decline. The person is able to listen to music with a push of a button.
This study from Neuroscience supports the fact that music increases "brain plasticity" and positively affects working memory. Therefore, gifting this simple play music player is an easy way to stimulate cognitive function.
The player comes with a memory stick pre-loaded with songs. The songs may be deleted leaving storage room for the person's favorite songs to be uploaded instead.
Another great option that is also affordable are activity books or coloring sets. People with memory challenges often find it soothing and relaxing to color or perform simple activities.
This controlled study shows slight improvement in specific areas of the brain in Alzheimer's patients with the use of art therapy. This is especially the right gift for anyone who enjoyed art work in the past.
Another reasonably priced gift is modeling clay. Clay is great for hand strength and manipulation.
Being able to create over and over again or simply press it in the hands can be a great stimulator and ease the sense to fidget with something and keep the mind active. Therefore, it makes a great activity for the dementia patient.
Lava lamps are soothing and calming. They are also visually stimulating which is important for the person with memory loss.
It is important to create a space with the use of visually stimulating objects. This improves the quality of life for someone with limited cognitive abilities. It is also stress-reducing which also makes this a helpful gift.
Another visually stimulating object to decorate with are these color changing lights. Outlining a room with these lights create different moods and provide a visual change.
This can become important when a person is not able to change scenery or space often. You are able to create a different feel for the person simply by changing the color of the lights.
This gift is nice to have, and you do not need to worry about taking care of the fish. It is a colorful electronic fish tank that is beautiful and visually stimulating.
This gift can provide stress reduction for anyone living with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
#23 Transfer Benches for Bathing
These transfer benches are the gift to give someone that has difficulty maneuvering in and out of the bathtub. Bathing often becomes a chore for the person with dementia, so offering a way to make things easier will be well appreciated by the caregiver.
Something that we noticed after a while is the difficulty with simple tasks such as eating. In the later stages of dementia, sequencing and understanding certain tasks become increasingly difficult.
Motor control is not as good either. Therefore, easing the task with these plates and dishes will have great benefits for the dementia patient. The plates are lined to avoid food spilling off the plates and the dishes are slightly slanted to make it easier to pick up food.
Another form of sensory stimulation that has been found helpful for memory problems is the sense of smell. There are certain essential oils that provide a positive affect on the brain.
They also can be used to provide a calming sensation which is much needed when an Alzheimer's person gets upset. Creating a positive and calming environment in the first place is a great way to ease problems in the future.
This ViewClix Calling frame makes it easy for a person to make a video call. This is great for an elderly adult who has difficulty using advanced technology. This takes the frustration away but still allows the person to keep in touch with their loved ones.
It is important to keep the mind of the person who has dementia busy. This fidget board is a good way to occupy him or her while keeping the mind active.
There are different fidget items available on the market. They come in the form of boards, blankets, pillows, and so forth.
Using a baby doll as a therapeutic measure for the dementia patient is another good gift idea. Doll therapy has been shown to ease aggression in Alzheimer's patients and lessen agitation.
The social interaction with the baby doll eases anxiety and allows them to project their needs for caring for an object instead.
These dolls are realistic looking. My daughter had 2 of them, and people in the grocery store would think the doll was a real baby at first.
These picture books are great conversation starters. If this is the goal, then the earlier or mid-stages of dementia is a better period of time for gifting this gift.
The books contain high-definition photos with no text. They have lots of topic choices making it easy to target the person's specific interests.
The pages are 6 x 9 in size, and many of the books consist of around 40 pages. Additionally, these books are a great way to spend quality time together.
During the early development of cognitive decline, having a calendar with pictures designating special occasions is handy. A custom calendar like the one above allows you to place people on it to remember birthdays as well.
Also, each month can have a specific collage of pictures to indicate the season and provoke memories.
A memory box is a wonderful way to evoke memories. It is also great for starting conversations.
The memory box can be filled with all sorts of things. Some ideas would include some of the favorite items the person had from the past, pictures of people, notes, drawings, and so forth.
Another gift designed for the earlier stages of cognitive decline is this remote control. Getting items which are simpler for the person with dementia to handle alleviates frustration before it begins.
This remote control allows for independence but does not require as much thought.
Here is a great activity that encourages cognitive functioning. The speech therapist that worked with my father told us to play games that were challenging but not frustrating.
It is important to stimulate the neurons as much as possible to prolong the disease's effects. This game is simple but stimulating.
#38 Doing Gifts / Spring Clean-Up & Mulching
A doing gift is also a great idea for dementia patients. Doing something such as taking the person out to their favorite restaurant, to a movie, or to a park are some ideas.
However, my husband and I chose to have a spring clean-up done for my parents. This allowed my dad to spend time with us and even help with simple chores. He was then able to see the mulched and neatly edged garden beds which my dad was always sure to do.
This post offered the best selection of gifts for dementia patients and those with Alzheimer's disease.
- Pu L, Moyle W, Jones C. How people with dementia perceive a therapeutic robot called PARO in relation to their pain and mood: A qualitative study. J Clin Nurs. 2020 Feb;29(3-4):437-446. doi: 10.1111/ . Epub 2019 Dec 2. PMID: 31738463.
- Petersen S, Houston S, Qin H, Tague C, Studley J. The Utilization of Robotic Pets in Dementia Care. J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;55(2):569-574. doi: 10.3233/JAD-160703. PMID: 27716673; PMCID: PMC5181659.
- Nakamura, M., & Yamauchi, N. (2021). A case of effective usage of a weighted blanket for a person with severe dementia. Psychogeriatrics : the official journal of the Japanese Psychogeriatric Society, 21(2), 239–242.
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