With birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions, finding a nice gift for dementia patients can be a challenge.
When it comes to buying gifts for people with dementia, you have to get creative because standard gifts may not mean nearly as much. People who live in assisted care facilities might not have room for larger gifts.
Even smaller trinkets can end up cluttering the home which could make the symptoms of advanced dementia worse.
Recommended Gifts for Dementia Patients
This probably seems like an odd choice, but stick with me for a minute. Seniors are using more tech than ever which means tons of passwords to remember! With this service, they only have to remember one. If set-up is a problem, just have one of the grandkids come over.
Magazine subscriptions provide a ton of benefits for seniors: education, entertainment, a way to pass some time. They can also be a great link to the outside world. Look for large print magazines like Reader's Digest for seniors with vision problems.
This simple music player for seniors with dementia has been designed to be intuitive and as easy to use as possible. Plus, it reminds seniors of old radios which encourages them to use it. One button operation after being set up by a caregiver.
This easy to use cell phone for seniors features photo dialing, an emergency button, and displays the time, remaining batter, and signal strength. And, that's it! Plus caregivers can manage and control the phone settings through a simple portal.
A scrapbook is a great way to recall happy memories together. Include the crafts, stickers, and pictures to go with it, and it becomes 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. Larger sized books are ideal for seniors with vision problems too.
Research shows that memory games are for everyone. 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 6 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 goes with 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 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 and will lay flat and is made from natural walnut.
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. Once received, the jewelry syncs up to an app on your cell phone. Then, once the panic button is pressed, your cell phone will notify the people that your designate.
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. No waste, no hassle, just a simple and strong cup of caffeine to get going in the morning.
Even on my best days I’m not always on top of what day of the week it is or what the date is. That’s not likely to get better as I continue to age over the next several decades. 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.
Makes organizing the pills needed for the day easy as an entire month can be planned out with this organizer. That makes it easier to plan out various medications, make sure they’re all stored in one place, and a handy alarm can bring your attention back to it if things slip your mind.
There are many options when it comes to good brain games. Crossword power, Sudoku books, word searches, or something else entirely, brain games are important. This book is a great option among many for creating and interacting with games that not only pass time and keep you entertained, but also keeps 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 great gift for forgetful seniors who can't remember if they took their medicine or not. Reduces the chance of them duplicating their meds.
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. It comes with and eraser and multiple colored markers plus the whole thing sticks right to the refrigerator.
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 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.
Another great idea is to keep dementia patients engaged with an activity like scrapbooking. This starter kit focuses on the theme of “family” but, of course, there are many other sets, stickers, and supplies you can add 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 over pictures with family or friends and names below. Important dates, events, and people can be integrated into a scrapbook too.
In the middle stages of dementia, gifts like movie collections from their favorite era can be not only comforting but also 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.
The game consists of 36 brightly colored tiles and colored templates which 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.
General Gift Advice for Seniors With Dementia
Here are a few general comments and ideas for buying a gift for someone with dementia:
- Sentimental value is important. There is a lot of value from homemade or family based items.
- Sensory gifts that embody a favorite smell.
- Memory based gifts that are practical. Put together memory boxes with a collection of items meant to stimulate memories like tools, perfume, teddy bears, photos, or other items of significance.
- Smaller gifts can be handmade. For example, calendars with favorite family photos meant to remind loved ones of their friends or family. Mugs with a favorite photo from something like a wedding help patients reminisce about the good old days.
My Top Picks
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. My personal favorites are the Magnetic Reminder Pads, the Memory Loss Calendar Clock, and the Shapes Game.
Almost all of the items above can be personalized. For example, sensory gifts can be modified by including 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.
Do you have other gift ideas for dementia patients that you recommend? Tell me about them in the comments below!