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Choosing Gifts for Alzheimer's

Posted by on 12/4/2013

Choosing Gifts for the Person with Alzheimer's

Just as you and I would, the person with Alzheimer's will likely have excitement and joy to open a gift. But what is inside may be tossed aside and never used if it is something the person no longer knows how to use.  Here are some ideas for gifts that the person with dementia can use.

Fun Gifts for Alzheimer's

  • Mental stimulation activities for the person with Alzheimer's can help with exercising the brain and preventing boredom. 
  • Activities that tap into the artistic side of the mind can be relaxing and enjoyable for the person with dementia, for example adult coloring books and failure-free painting.
  • Gift certificates to a favorite restaurant and coffee shop (and an offer to escort them there) is another fun gift idea.

Practical Gifts for Alzheimer's

  • A sweater, shawl for women, or lap sized blanket helps to stay warm.  Older adults have less ability to regulate body temperature and do get colder easier.  A sweater or lap blanket in a brighter color (for example, red) will be easier for the person to find and notice when set on a couch or bed.
  • Healthy snacks.  People who are still at a stage where they can find and get their own snacks may overindulge in chips, crackers, candy, etc. as they may forget how much they have eaten.  Instead give easy to open, healthy snacks.  For example, mini boxes of raisins or pretzels; string cheese; granola bars.
  • The person with Alzheimer's may be on a limited budget due to health care costs.  So great, practical gift idea would be gift certificates that can be used for things the person needs, such as haircuts and toiletries. The person may not fully understand what this type of gift is for, but you can be assured of knowing it will help the person financially in the long run.

Gifts You Can Enjoy Together with the Person with Alzheimer's

  • The person with Alzheimer's likely enjoys having visitors, but the person visiting may not know what activities to do or what to say to the person. Items that spark conversations can be very helpful, such as an album you create with old photos the person has. Also, picture books or cards.
  • Games designed to be easier for the person with dementia can be played and enjoyed by all.  For example, Rainbow Bingo, Jenga, or a simple card game, such as Go Fish.
  • A favorite food or dessert brought in for the person can be eaten and enjoyed together.  This joy of this meal may be a more valuable gift than a typical gift item that the person will not use.

I hope this list gives you some ideas of gifts that will be useful and enjoyed by the person with Alzheimer's.  And remember that even a simple hug, handshake and smile, or even holding hands with the person, might be the best gift received.

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