11 Helpful Gifts for Dementia Patients

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With birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions on the rise, finding a nice gift for dementia patients shows you care. However, finding the right gift can be a challenge. It is always nice to buy gifts for those around you. But, when it comes to buying gifts for people with dementia, you have to get creative because standard gifts do not mean nearly as much.

People who live in assisted care facilities or nursing homes might not have room for larger gifts and even smaller trinkets can end up cluttering the home which can make symptoms of advanced dementia worse.

Sentimental Gifts

Sentimental value is important. Whether the value is derived from homemade, family-based items, sensory gifts that embody a favorite smell, or memory based gifts that are practical, there are plenty of options. Many smaller gifts can be handmade, like calendars with favorite family photos meant to remind loved ones of their friends or family. Mugs can be designed with a favorite photo of something like a wedding, to help patients reminisce about the good old days. Families, of course, can put together memory boxes with a collection of items meant to stimulate memories like tools, perfume, teddy bears, photos, or other items of significance.

gifts wrapped up and ready to giveDementia Patient’s Environment

As a caregiver or physician, you have to consider is the design of the environment. So, shade, light, colors, all play a critical role in helping dementia patients recall day versus night, time of day, and date. Rummage drawers are good for patients, full of items that are unique to the touch, squeak, or sparkle. These can be useful during times when a patient is restless. Clothing items like soft scarves, gloves, pajamas, can all ease the burden of dementia while encouraging recipients to spend time outside. Matching socks can help patients to keep tabs on their clothing.

As a caregiver for a dementia patient, you should focus more on those gifts that help to design the environment, aid in the different phases of memory loss, and help bring forth happy memories.

Specific Gift Ideas

Thinking about the general comments above, consider these more specific ideas below:

Dry Erase Boards

Magnetic Dry Erase Board - Whiteboard Sheet for Fridge STAY ORGANIZED Refrigerator Day Planner &...

Magnetic dry erase boards can help during the early stages of dementia. The goal during the early stages of dementia is to aid in memory with things like notes and reminders. Put one in each room so that there is always a reminder or a space for notes, when needed.

This magnetic dry erase board  has multiple uses. Write down grocery items, appointments, upcoming birthdays, etc… There are 2 erasers, 2 marker kits with 4 colors, a notepad and some fridge magnets to help you stick everything where you need it to be.

If you opt for the dry erase boards, work with the patient to clear away space for them to hang in each room and make sure the location you decide to hang them is practical, and somewhat the same in each room.

Magnetic Reminder Pads

Creative Hobbies Magnetic Memo Note Pads, Seasonal Monthly Themes, Set of 12 Pads (1 Complete Year)

During the early stages of dementia, magnetic reminder pads for the fridge can ease the frustration of memory loss. With this kit  you get a pack of 12 reminder pads, one for each month.

This themed set means you can coordinate reminders based on the time of year. There are magnetic strips on the back of each so they can be put on the fridge, a metal filing cabinet, etc…

Be sure to include in your gift set a pack of pens and a magnetic container for the pens to rest, so that there is always one.

Calendar Clock

TimeKeepers - Top Rated Extra Large Memory Loss Digital Calendar Day Clock. Our Dementia Clock Shows...

In addition to remembering tasks, items, appointments, and people, during the early stages of dementia, it is best to help patients remember the date and time. A large clock with the date and time can help with everyday tasks. This is an extra-large clock  for those with memory loss. It has a large digital display and keeps track of the day and date. LED numbers make it easy to see from across the room. There is also an auto-dimming feature that helps to eliminate any confusion over day/night.

For dementia patients, this gift can reduce any worry over missing appointments or not knowing what day of the week it is. If you invest in this gift, consider replacing an outdated clock with it, so that there is less confusion. Perhaps invest in more than one for multiple rooms in the home.

Scrapbook Kit

Me & My Big Ideas Boxed Album Kit, Today is The Best, 12-Inch by 12-Inch

In the early stages, you can keep dementia patients engaged with an activity like scrapbooking. This kit is a starter kit that focuses on the theme of “family” but of course, there are many other sets. Stickers and other supplies can be added to the project as time goes on.

Creative kits like this  can be something a patient does with their caregiver, when their family visits, or just in their spare time. They can turn to completed scrapbooks for practice with recall by looking at pictures with family or friends and names below. Important dates, events, and people can be integrated into a scrapbook too.

Soft Blankets

NTBAY 1 Throw Blanket, 51'x67', Grey

As far as clothes are concerned, search for something comfortable, easily washed, and easy to remove. Easily removed and washed clothing items or warm items are cozy comforts that everyone appreciates.

Large quilts  in their favorite color, for example, can not only be comfortable but can keep the senior warm during the winter months. Make sure the item is something they do not already have and something they have room for. If they already have soft blankets, modify the gift slightly by giving a scarf or bathrobe instead.

Classic Movies

Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 1 (The Asphalt Jungle / Gun Crazy / Murder My Sweet / Out of the...

In the middle stages of dementia, gifts like movie collections from their favorite era, the time period in which they grew up, can be not only comforting but reap positive benefits. Naturally, there are many gift sets  out there of movies from various genres and time periods, so try to find something that best suits your dementia patients. Sets of westerns or Marilyn Monroe films can aid in memory and calm patients down when they are stressed or anxious.

Music Sets

The Sun Blues Box: Blues, R&B And Gospel Music In Memphis 1950-1958

Research indicates that music has positive impacts everyone, including those with dementia. Ten minutes per day of music can reduce stress, anxiety, and encourage creativity. Music from an era important to the recipient brings them back to positive times in their history, increases their stimulation, and gives them an opportunity to interact with family members.

That said, buying a set of hits from their favorite time period like this one  is perfect. Easy to use radios and even some MP3 players are another way to give the gift of music.

Shapes Activity Game

Match the Shapes Engaging Activity for Dementia and Alzheimer's

This game is specifically designed for those who have dementia. It is not childish nor is there any actual mention of “dementia” or “Alzheimer’s” on the game itself. What it does have, however, are 36 brightly colors tiles and colored templates which encourage memory.

This game  has been tested on individuals with various stages of dementia and at all stages seniors found the game to be enjoyable, giving them a sense of accomplishment when all was said and done. People with dementia are not children but might still enjoy games that younger people enjoy. That is why this game is considered a nice middle ground gift. If you like the idea of games, you can find other game ideas in this article.

Sensory Gifts

Patchouli Lover's Spa Gift Set- Lotion, Soap, Oil, Candle & Sachet.

During the middle to late stages, sensory stimulation gifts play an integral role. Stimulating the main senses can stir pleasant memories. That is why gifts like scented lotions are great. This particular set  is a patchouli based lotion set with scented lotion, soap, oils, and candles. If this scent does not work for the recipient, pick one that they love. You can find more lotion choices here.


ZOSI 8Channel Surveillance Video Recorders 1080N/720P 4-in-1 HD-TVI Standalone CCTV Security DVR...

As you reach more advanced stages, gifts like a DVR  can be wonderful. With a DVR you can help your friend or family member record the shows or programs they might not be able to watch during the day. This can be a great way for them to replay favorite shows or documentaries.

MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®

This gift is not so much a tangible present, as it is something you might want to do on the side. You can enroll your dementia patient in MedicAlert + Safe Return. This is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service which can be activated in the event of medical emergencies or when a dementia patient wanders off.

Choosing a Gift for a Dementia Patient

Overall, picking gifts for dementia patients can be difficult, but not impossible. Try to find something that is useful and appreciated. Get creative. If you can incorporate elements from their past, it is best to do so.

wrapped gift with pretty bow and brown paperAlmost all of the items above can be modified so that they have a personalized element to them. For example, sensory gifts can be modified to include their favorite scent or a scent from their childhood. Music and movie gifts can be personalized to include a list of their favorite artists or actors. Soft blankets can be purchased in their favorite color, or a color which matches their existing furniture or clothing items. With things like dry erase boards, you can easily include photos you pin to the corners of their family or friends, even a photo of themselves when they were younger.

So, what gift ideas do you have for seniors with dementia? Have you given a gift in the past that was a big help? Or, maybe you know of a gift to avoid that didn’t go over so well.  Share your story in the comments below. Also, if you found this article helpful, please share on your favorite social media.

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