Great gift ideas for people living with dementia

Bayshore | | Dementia

Senior woman with daughter holding present

Great gift ideas for people living with dementia

Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday list or for a special occasion is a great feeling, especially when you see someone’s face light up when they open it. It is particularly rewarding when the gift is for a loved one with dementia. There are lots of great gift ideas for people at different stages of the disease – early, middle and late – that are both fun and practical.

Early stage gifts

In the early stage of dementia, most people are still fairly independent and able to do most things with a little help. Common symptoms are memory loss, trouble remembering new information, confusion and difficulty having a conversation. Choose a gift that encourages mental stimulation and maintaining interests, skills and abilities, such as:

  • An outing to a movie, play, concert or sporting event
  • Crossword puzzle books or strategy games
  • Magazine subscriptions or books that reflect their interests
  • DVDs of favourite movies or TV shows
  • CDs of favourite music or show tunes
  • A photo album or calendar that features family photos and memorable events (add in the dates of family celebrations on the calendar)
  • A digital clock with time and date in large type
  • A gym membership or sessions with a personal trainer
  • A memory phone that can store photos with the names and contact information of friends and relatives
  • A craft such as scrapbooking that you can do together
  • A pocket-sized diary or notebook

Middle stage gifts

In the middle or moderate stage, people may have more severe memory loss, disorientation, spatial problems and require help with activities of daily living, but they may also be somewhat aware of their condition. Gifts that stimulate the senses, promote reminiscing and focus on the familiar are good choices. For instance:

  • Simple craft activities or adult colouring books
  • Scented lotions or toiletries
  • Simple games or puzzles
  • CDs of favourite music
  • Framed photographs or photo collages labelled to identify people
  • A digital photo frame loaded with family photos
  • Nature DVDs or picture books that feature visual and auditory stimulation
  • A DVD of old family movies or photos
  • Comfortable and easy-to-remove clothing such as a sweat suit or shoes with Velcro fasteners

Late stage gifts

During the late stages of dementia, people often develop severe difficulties with reasoning and language, but they still have their senses of taste, touch and smell. Simple gifts that provide sensory stimulation can help bring back pleasant memories. Gifts that enhance physical comfort are also ideal. For instance:

  • A doll or cuddly toy
  • Responsive stuffed animals that speak or move with an easy press button
  • A fluffy bathrobe in a favourite colour
  • A soft blanket or afghan
  • A nightgown or nightshirt
  • Make or buy a “fidget” lap blanket/quilt with buttons, zippers, beads, and fuzzy and silky fabrics
  • Make or buy a “Twiddle Muff,” a hand muff adorned with an array of gadgets to keep hands warm and busy
  • A hand massage with a favourite scented lotion
  • CDs with songs from childhood and teen years (research shows that music has a positive impact)

Photographs and music are gifts that can revive memories and feelings of joy for people at all stages of dementia. So can the gift of your time, caring and attention.

If you or your loved one need a helping hand at home, Bayshore can help. Our caregivers are trained and certified to care for individuals with dementia. Learn more about our Dementia Care services.