Dementia-Friendly Gift Ideas to Make the Season Bright
Published: December 9, 2020
Entering the holiday season with a loved one experiencing dementia can be difficult. If they don't seem engaged with the world, you may be wondering what gifts they may appreciate this holiday season.
We've rounded up five categories of holiday gifts that will comfort anxiety and sooth agitation, as well as be fun and engaging, while giving a sense of accomplishment.
When making your selection, look for brightly-colored shapes, larger objects or interactive pieces with surprises. Adults with dementia often respond to boards with doors that open to show fun pictures.
If your loved one enjoys sewing, purchase a wooden lacing beads set. The large wooden beads with oversized holes are perfect for lacing. If your loved one enjoyed building things, look for plastic tool sets with brightly colored plastic or wooden nuts, bolts, screws, nails and tools. The variety of colors and shapes will be entertaining and engaging.
Many adults with dementia become anxious or fidgety. Gifts to help soothe their anxiety might include spiky massage balls, sensory tables, pillows, mats or fidget toys, such as linked or tangled pieces that twist, turn and contort.
Cuddle and Care
Stuffed animals are not just for children, they can bring adults with dementia comfort and become a pet or companion. Stuffed animals that sing and move can bring excitement and joy as well. You can also find therapy dolls to help seniors feel useful and provide them something to focus on. Therapy dolls can bring back happy memories of early parenthood and can ease feelings of isolation by giving seniors something to care for. If you’re looking for something a little more interactive, robotic cats and dogs can be lifelike and engaging too. You can find robotic pet companions that purr, meow, move and respond in realistic ways when petted or hugged.
Practical Life-Enhancing Items
Seniors with dementia may appreciate practical, comfortable clothing to make dressing easier, including soft fabrics and easy-to-use Velcro, snap and zip closures. Specialized table sets that are designed with added stability to prevent spills and dropped food may encourage independent eating. You can find table sets designed to increase appetite and reduce visual confusion or assist with motor function and physical impairments. Additional products to make life easier for your loved one may include: extra-large print calendars, digital clocks, one-button radios and easy-to-use remotes for televisions.
Investing in a digital home device, such as Google Home or Amazon Dot can give your older adult "someone" to talk to, who will instantly answer questions like "what day is it?" or "what time is it?" While technology can’t completely replace human touch or conversation, many of these devices have downloadable companion apps or skills that can interact with someone who has dementia.
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