Giving the perfect gift can be challenging under any circumstances. But, when someone in your life has dementia, finding a gift that meets their changing needs can feel nearly impossible. Luckily, there are numerous gifts designed specifically for those with dementia to make the art of gift-giving a little easier.
At Autumn View Gardens, ensuring memory care residents have space and time to enjoy life's little moments is a priority. So, whether you’re gearing up for the holiday season or have a special birthday around the corner, here are six perfect gift ideas for loved ones with dementia.
The gifts you choose will vary based on how advanced your loved one's symptoms are. For example, those in the early stages of dementia might appreciate a gift that sparks an old memory such as a homemade scrapbook. Those in later stages of dementia might benefit more from a simple sensory toy. Whichever type of gift you choose, always try to incorporate a personal touch. This could mean buying a gift in their favorite color or purchasing something with their favorite animal on it, for example. With that in mind, let’s talk about gift ideas.
Sensory toys offer a long list of benefits for adults living with dementia. These stimulating gadgets are known to lower stress, improve sleep and support cognitive function. You can find everything from spinning rings to fidget blankets and so much more. To take things a step further, try making a sensory bin for your loved one.
Decorating your home is deeply personal and rewarding. The best home decor-related gifts will match your loved one’s aesthetic and also serve a purpose. Finding home decor gifts that support the gift receiver through the symptoms of dementia is easier than you might think. A large-font alarm clock that displays the date or a whiteboard for little reminders are great places to start.
Although reading may become more challenging as dementia progresses, gifting a book is never a bad idea. Something like this Bible verses picture book or a fun adult coloring book is easier to handle in the later stages of dementia. Alternatively, you could purchase a book or novel you intend to read to your loved one. Reading aloud can help evoke memories and stimulate imagination in memory care residents.
Whether it’s a jigsaw puzzle or a book of puzzle games, puzzles provide a remarkable amount of mental stimulation. Those with dementia will benefit from the distraction puzzles provide as well as the feeling of accomplishment when they're completed. Puzzles come in a variety of difficulties, making them ideal for people at any stage of dementia. Additionally, this is a calming activity you can do together, which is the greatest gift of all.
Painting is another calming activity with a slew of benefits for those living with dementia. Treating symptoms of dementia with art therapy is a common practice among health care workers. Similar to puzzles, painting provides increased brain stimulation, a sense of accomplishment, lower stress levels and more. Painting kits or blank canvases and painting supplies offer a creative outlet where memory care residents can express their feelings and emotions in a helpful way. This is especially true if verbal communication has become a struggle for your loved one.
While these might sound like children's toys, stuffed animals and dolls make excellent gifts for adults with dementia. Caring for a stuffed animal or baby doll can provide feelings of comfort, improve communication and prevent wandering, among other benefits. You can give this gift idea a personal touch by finding a doll that looks like your loved one or a stuffed animal that looks like an old pet of theirs.
Can’t find what you’re looking for on this list? Don’t worry; it just means you might need to get a little more creative. To put a personal spin on your next gift, try the following:
Gift giving is all about showing someone special that you love, appreciate and understand them. The best gifts highlight your loved one’s personality and benefit their life in some way. This is true for those with and without dementia. So before you load up your shopping cart with generic chocolates and coffee mugs, ask yourself, “How will this gift improve the well-being of the receiver?” If the answer is, “It won’t,” try finding a gift idea on this list instead.