Searching for the perfect gift for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia isn’t easy. Gifts that they enjoyed in the past may no longer have the same effect, as these items may now be unfamiliar. They can even act as a trigger, especially in the later stages of mental decline.
A great way to go about holiday shopping for a senior with Alzheimer’s or dementia is to first consider the stage or progression of the disease. You can then choose a tool to help them maintain independence or exercise the brain to offset some of their symptoms.
Here are our gift ideas for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia, organized by stage:
Gifts for Early Stage Alzheimer’s & Dementia Patients
People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia may function independently. They only experience subtle mental differences such as trouble remembering things (like dates, names, something you may have just told them, and other menial things) and mild confusion (about what time it is, where they are, etc). Get your loved one a special something to help them maintain their independence!
Easy Closure Clothing
Specially designed clothing such as magnetic button shirts and open-side pants are a wonderful addition to the closet of a dementia patient, since they may have trouble remembering how to use certain closures. Silvert’s has a full line of Alzheimer’s clothing that addresses a spectrum of needs.
Large Display Clock
A clock that displays the time in large digits (because hands may be difficult to read) is essential for an elderly person’s home. Some models, like this Amazon gem, even show the date or denote if it’s morning, afternoon, or night.
Talking Photo Album
Though your loved one’s mental capabilities may start to go, they still cherish their fond memories and love hearing from you. A talking photo album can record up to 200 hours of speech, so you and other relatives or friends can record messages for every page in the book.
Gifts for Middle and Late Stage Alzheimer’s & Dementia Patients
Patients who have middle to late stage Alzheimer’s or dementia have much more noticeable cognitive struggles. They require a greater level of care as their forgetfulness and confusion increases to the point where they are unable to function independently. Their personality and behavior may drastically change, and they may react to their surroundings in extreme ways. For these reasons, a gift that helps comfort them is the way to go.
Any stimulus of the five senses is great for an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient. Of course, some may garner a negative reaction instead. Be sure you’re familiar with the sounds, smells, tastes, textures, and/or visuals your loved one already likes. We suggest things like scented lotions, patchwork blankets, music players, (safe) snacks, and LED light displays/decorative objects.
Clothing for Assisted Dressing
As mentioned, a person with severe Alzheimer’s or dementia needs a heightened level of care. From a caregiver’s perspective, it is extremely physically challenging to dress a senior. That’s why clothing that is specifically designed to address caregiver concerns is so helpful compared to regular garments. They have closures in the back for no-lift dressing and are machine washable.
Another common symptom of dementia is trouble controlling the bladder. For this reason, many patients wear adult diapers or require clothing that is easy to remove. Silvert’s has all kinds of onesies and bottoms designed for incontinence issues, like pants that accommodate adult diapers or onesies that fasten at the crotch.
Did we miss something? As always, if you have any suggestions, please let us know in the comments below!