With birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions, finding a nice gift for dementia patients can be challenging.
You will need to get creative. The usual roundup of gifts for seniors and the elderly may not mean much for a person with dementia or an Alzheimer’s patient.
Often, the best gift for someone with dementia is a gift that:
- serves a practical purpose to enrich their lives,
- helps them accomplish a task they may struggle with,
- entertains or keeps their hands busy, or
- provides a sensory experience, especially in the later stages.
Think about the size of your gift too. People who live in assisted care facilities or nursing homes might not have room for larger gifts.
Here are our top suggestions for you.
Early Stage Dementia
In early stage dementia, your gift choices may be very similar to what you would buy any older adult. Items that help early-stage dementia patients remember, provide gentle reminders, and improve their home safety are good gift ideas.
This well-made jewelry features a hidden panic button that you can press when you need any kind of assistance from friends, family, or even the authorities.
It could be a lifesaver for people with early dementia if they get lost or have a medical emergency.
Because the jewelry syncs with an app, your recipient must have a smartphone.
Magazine subscriptions provide many benefits for seniors: education, entertainment, and a way to pass some time.
Reading also keeps the mind active and engaged, which is important when you are battling dementia or Alzheimer’s.
They can also be a great link to the outside world for people who aren’t able to get out and about as much as they used to.
Look for large print magazines like Reader’s Digest for seniors with vision problems.
This helpful tool collects all of a senior’s favorite recipes so that they never forget them.
It also preserves these heirloom recipes for the family and future generations. I have my grandmother’s recipe box, and it is one of my most priceless possessions.
Overtime, this gift becomes priceless to the entire family!
In the beginning, keeping up with dates becomes difficult. Having lots of calendars around can help with this.
These calendar towels are so much more decorative than a standard calendar.
And when the new year rolls around, throw them in the washer because they are also functional kitchen towels!
Keeping track of medications is difficult for many people.
This stackable pill organizer holds a week’s worth of medication in convenient daily drawers, each with four slots for the different times of day the pill should be taken.
Simply pull the current day out of the bottom of the dispenser and the other days slide down a notch to replace it.
The small, compact size is great for travelers too!
These medical tags enable first responders to get essential information about your loved one if they wander or have a medical emergency.
They are laminated and completely weatherproof, so they’ll be in great shape for years. The set includes both a keychain tag and a wallet card.
It’s a wonderful way to protect the people you love most.
Many seniors love working on puzzles, so why not provide them with fresh puzzles to solve all year long?
For people with dementia or Alzheimer’s, puzzles help keep the mind active and engaged, improving memory and avoiding boredom.
Nine issues will be shipped to their home each year!
A scrapbook is a great way for your loved one to recall happy memories.
This kit includes crafts, stickers, and decorations to go with it. Use it as a family activity that everyone can enjoy during visits.
These scrapbooks can be filled with different themes, like pictures and keepsakes from a lifetime of birthdays, anniversaries, or travels.
Be sure to label each photo with the names of the people in it and the location!
Call to Mind Conversation Game
Games like these improve memory and recall – even if the senior you are buying a gift for is sharp as a tack.
This game is fit for anyone ages six and older so it is a fun game to break out when family or friends visit too.
Sadly, when our senior loved ones leave us, their stories and history go with them. With Alzheimer’s, these memories fade away before them
This workbook encourages them to share this history with your and provides a place to record memories through a series of questions and prompts.
It will quickly become a treasured heirloom for the family.
This stylish journal is packaged in a gift box and has a unique style and look.
It’s been said that journaling helps improve memory and mental processing – and it’s an excellent way to record memories or private thoughts.
It would also make a good travel or garden diary too.
A digital photo album is fun to load up and display family, vacation, and travel photos.
Rather than having space for just one or two happy photos, you can add or change the pictures by uploading them from your phone to the frame when you come to visit.
It can also be updated via WiFi too!
No matter how old some of us get, that morning cup of coffee is a mandatory start to the day.
This single-serve coffee maker is a great gift to provide that single cup of coffee – quickly and easily. It uses both K-cups and ground coffee and only requires one button to operate it.
No waste, no hassle, just a simple and strong cup of caffeine to get going in the morning.
This is a gift that many people could use – elderly or not!
Keep the transmitter in a central location and attach one of four receivers to the car keys, house keys, remote controls, phones, or whatever else they might frequently lose or misplace.
Hit the button, hear the loud beeps, and find what’s missing!
This set of greeting cards prepares your loved ones or friend for any and all upcoming events.
They can write out holiday cards and send letters of appreciation, condolences, or congratulations. Throw in a set of lifetime stamps while you are at it so that they can mail their cards when it’s time.
For seniors with Alzheimer’s or late dementia, fill out envelopes with names and addresses in advance.
There are many game options that are good for improving brain power. Crosswords, Sudoku books, word searches, and trivia quizzes are just a few.
This book is an excellent option for creating and interacting with games that not only pass time and entertain but also keep the mind firing on all cylinders!
This smart pill organizer helps seniors manage medication by displaying the last time the bottle was opened.
This is a terrific gift for forgetful seniors who can’t remember if they took their medicine or not.
Knowing if they already took their medicine reduces the chance of them duplicating their meds.
This is probably one of the most useful gifts for any senior.
Alexa Echo will tell them the time, date, and weather forecast, play them their favorite songs, and also remind them to take their medicines.
You may need to help them set it up, which is easy to do via an app. You can even make changes from far away with it.
Magnetic dry-erase boards can help tremendously during the early stages of dementia: write down grocery items, appointments, upcoming birthdays, etc
Put one in each room so that there is always a reminder or a space for notes when needed.
It comes with an eraser and multiple colored markers, and the whole thing sticks to the refrigerator.
If large whiteboards are too intrusive, your loved one may find these smaller magnetic notepads more acceptable.
With this kit, you get a pack of 12 reminder pads, one for each month. There are magnetic strips on the back of each pad, so they will stick to the fridge, a metal filing cabinet, etc.
Be sure to include a pack of pens and a magnetic container to hold them so that there is always one nearby.
As we age, it’s not uncommon to begin wondering where we came from and wanting to learn more about our roots.
A gift subscription for Ancestry®DNA can help aging adults learn more about where their roots come from.
A gift like this can also prompt stories about previous generations of your family you’ve never heard!
Middle Stage Dementia
In middle stage dementia or Alzheimer’s, your loved one’s needs will be greater. This is when easy-to-use items, reminders, and home safety items become more important when gifting.
MedCenter 31 Day Pill Organizer
This one tool helps seniors or their caregivers plan out a month’s worth of medications at one time.
That makes it easier to plan out various medications and ensure they’re all stored in one place, and a handy alarm can bring your attention back to it if things slip your mind.
Learn more about automatic pill dispensers for dementia in this guide.
SMPL Simple Senior TV Remote Control
This simple and senior-friendly remote control is just that – simple!
Operating it requires only a few buttons for favorite channels and an up/down button.
The remaining three buttons are for volume, on-off & mute. Works with almost every TV.
Relish Radio for Dementia
This nostalgia-inspired radio is specifically designed to be extremely easy to use. Even for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
It features an easy-to-use control panel with big buttons that are easy to see. The volume never goes completely off so that the user will know it’s still on. it’s lightweight and durable too!
Caregivers can program their favorite stations into the one-touch buttons on top, allowing them to still have variety and choice in their music.
Looking for a unique gift idea for a senior or elderly person who lives alone? Here is a great alternative to expensive medical alert systems.
Snug is a free – and friendly – check-in service for people living alone. It works via an app on a mobile phone and alerts a senior’s emergency contacts if they don’t check in by their assigned time.
There are free and paid subscription plans available.
The free plan sends text messages to emergency contacts, while the paid Dispatch plan takes additional steps, including phone calls to ensure the person is safe. If they can’t reach anyone, they will request a Wellness Check to the cell phone’s last location.
The Dispatch Plan is $9.99 per month, but Graying With Grace readers can save 15% by using my discount code GWG15 or the button below.
Even on my best days, I’m not always on top of what day of the week or the date is. Of course, this is also a prevalent problem for seniors with dementia.
This large clock/calendar is perfect as it shows the date, day of the week, time, and year all there at once to make it very handy.
You can also program various reminders into it, from appointments to medication reminders.
This absolutely simple smartphone for seniors features photo dialing with an emergency button and displays the time, remaining battery, and signal strength.
And that’s it!
Plus, caregivers can manage and control all of the phone settings through a simple portal or app on their own phones.
Learn more in our guide to smartphones for dementia.
SMPL Hands-Free Photo Phone
This “SMPL” home phone offers everything seniors and the elderly need: photo memory dial buttons, super-loud speakerphone, big, bold buttons, and easy-to-use volume buttons within reach.
Plus, it is a corded landline phone, so there is no handset to get misplaced!
Late Stage Dementia
Gifts for late-stage dementia patients and people with advanced Alzheimer’s disease are the toughest of all. Their needs are greatest in this stage, and they may no longer take pleasure in the things they previously enjoyed. Gifts in this stage are generally more about comforting or keeping loved ones safe.
In the later stages of dementia, some people experience difficulty dressing themselves and even engage in stripping behaviors.
The open-back gowns and pajama products from Dignity Pajamas are easier for caregivers to put on them because they are open in the back with simple closures like hook and loop fasteners. No need for all the tugging and pulling to get them ready for bed!
The best part? They don’t look like hospital gowns either; rather, they look like any other stylish nightgown or pajama set a person would choose for themselves!
They have many styles available for both men and women!
The object of Shake Loose A Memory Games is to keep as many cards as possible.
But the “secret” goal is to talk about and recall memories!
- “If you have played the piano, do you remember practicing?”
- “Have you ever had champagne?”
- “Remember celebrating weddings?”
There are no wrong answers. The game aims to create success and help recall positive emotional events.
In the later stages of dementia, a gift like movie collections from their favorite era can be comforting and 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 aid in memory and calm patients down when they are stressed or anxious.
SIMPL One-Touch Music Player
This simple music player for seniors with dementia has been designed to be intuitive and as easy to use as possible.
Plus, it resembles old radios, encouraging them to use them. The bright, bold color will help them find it and prompt them to use it often.
The best part is that it only requires one button to operate after being set up by a caregiver.
This gift idea is a fun way to keep track of visitors and get some great stories along the way.
Having a sign-in journal in their room encourages guests, family, and friends to leave notes, stories, and other keepsakes.
I chose this one because it looks great, will lay flat, and is made from natural walnut.
The game consists of 36 brightly colored tiles and colored templates that encourage memory.
This game has been tested on individuals with various stages of dementia and is enjoyable and gives them a sense of accomplishment.
People with dementia are not children but might still enjoy games that younger people enjoy. That is why this game is a nice middle-ground gift.
If you’re looking for ways to support a loved one with dementia, you may want to search a gift that will stimulate their senses. These dementia sensory gifts help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients stimulate mental processing and memory.
MindCare’s Sensory Weighted Blankets have designed this line of weighted blankets specifically with dementia patients in mind.
Perfectly weighted, the blanket can wrap the body like a shawl or cover the body when sleeping.
They are comfortable while applying pressure for a soothing effect that helps alleviate anxiety and other dementia-related symptoms
This seasonal/quarterly box contains sensory jigsaw puzzles that are designed to use multiple senses: sight, touch, and smell. Plus, it’s a fun activity!
There has been lots of research on using activities that stimulate the senses with dementi patients to improve memory. But these activities are good for all seniors and elderly folks.
Who wouldn’t enjoy a puzzle that also has a pleasant aroma and you can actually feel the textures?
Sensory blankets are soft, lightweight blankets that usually offer a wide range of simple sensory activities.
Keeping busy with activities can reduce the anxious feelings that many people with late-stage dementia experience.
There are also all sorts of colors, options, and accessories for these blankets, so you can find one your loved one will surely love. Check out the selection at Etsy for more unique choices.
I have an entire guide to fidget blankets and quilts for dementia you can read for more info.
Relish Painting Kits
Dementia can leave seniors feeling disconnected from life and might make it difficult for people to keep enjoying their favorite hobbies.
This kit is a fantastic gift for seniors that are artistically inclined but might no longer paint like they used to.
This set contains five images that are specifically designed to bring back positive memories. Messy paints and steady hands aren’t required.
To bring these images to life, all you need is water. If you sit down with a loved one while they’re painting, the image could even spark conversation!
If you aren’t sure which fidget activities to get or don’t want to limit your loved one to one type, this activity pack from the Alzheimer’s Store is very helpful!
This set has a liquid touch tile, a crinkle pad set, a fidget back, and a sensory, tactile ball to give your loved one several different sensory activities.
Dementia Fidget Toys
The purpose of dementia toys is to keep the always-moving hands of a dementia patient busy. Many caregivers of people with dementia report that toys and activities keep their loved ones calmer and less agitated.
This soft and furry muff provides the benefits of both sensory and fidget activities.
Your loved one can rub it to reproduce the sensation of petting an animal, But it also contains activities like hook and loop fasteners, fiddle beads, a zippered pocket, and more.
You can encourage the “pet” benefits by putting their pet’s name on the included ID tag.
This Fidget Blanket provides engaging sensory activities for adults, including a Snapback buckle strap, webbing buckle, memory card/photo, shoelace, cloth flaps, buttons, zipper, and threaded rope.
Keeping the hands active and busy help keep fingers, hands, and joint mobile and engaged to help strengthen them, which is particularly important for people with dementia.
If you want to ensure that your loved one with dementia always has access to fidget activities, you may want to look at this wearable collection of fidget activities.
The apron has nine activities in total, all of which are designed to improve agility in hands and keep their minds busy.
Of course, wearing this apron is completely optional. Seniors can also place the apron across their lap like they would with a fidget blanket.
No matter how they choose to play, it’s likely that they’ll find these tactile activities to be highly stimulating.
It’s common for dementia patients to experience a loss of coordination, also known as apraxia.
A track maze allows seniors to work on their coordination and problem-solving skills simultaneously.
Of course, these games aren’t just a way for seniors with dementia to keep their skills sharp.
Even if someone can’t get the marble to the end of a track, they’re sure to have a lot of fun with this easy-to-play game.
This colorful ball is beautiful enough to display, but it can also be a way for seniors with dementia to strengthen their joints while exercising their imagination.
The interconnected wood balls are easy to move and can be molded into all sorts of shapes.
Since the wooden balls are all polished, there are no rough edges to worry about either. This art ball is available in different colors too.
Choose Gift Ideas That Make Life Easier
Overall, choosing a gift for people with dementia is difficult but not impossible.
In the early stages, you should choose gift ideas that entertain and engage the mind. In the later stages, a great gift idea might keep their hands busy and reduce anxiety.
Remember, the best gifts for dementia are both useful and engaging. Get creative.
If you can incorporate elements and important memories from their past, you should.
Many of these gifts can be personalized. For example, a sensory gift can be modified by including their favorite color 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 provide a sensory experience and can be purchased in their favorite color or a color that 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.
Do you have other gift ideas for dementia patients that you recommend? Tell us all about your favorites in the comments below!