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Gift Ideas for the Person with Alzheimer's

Posted by on 11/30/2015 to Dementia Activities

Holiday 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 types of gifts from MindStart that the person with dementia can use and have a feeling of accomplishment and joy. These items are also a great way to bring family members together, as the person with dementia can participate without feeling confused or overwhelmed.

Holiday Gifts for Dementia

Gifts for Alzheimer's - Puzzles

Setting puzzles is something that most people have done before, so it is familiar activity. And there many people who are avid puzzle setters. However, traditional puzzles become too difficult for the person with cognitive loss. They have too many pieces and images that are too complex. It can be near impossible for the person to find 2 pieces to fit together. MindStart puzzles have less pieces, with larger size pieces. The 24 and 12 piece styles also have simpler images, with much less detail, so they can still be set by a person with more extensive cognitive loss.

    large piece Garden puzzle for dementia

    • 63 piece puzzles - These puzzles do not have an adapted image, but do have large pieces. The overall finished puzzle size is 11.5 X 16.25. These puzzles work best for those with beginning/mild memory loss or when done together with a helper. Puzzle styles include Barn, Wash on the Line, Swimming, Raking, and Biking. See 63 piece puzzles.
    • 24 piece puzzles - These puzzles have an adapted image, with blocks of color in the image, helping the person know how the pieces will fit together. Finished size is 8.25 X 11. Appropriate for people with early stage dementia (see activity level guide for a description). Puzzle styles include Fishing, Baseball, Baking, Summer, Spring, Winter, Autumn, Garden. See 24 piece puzzles
    • 12 piece puzzles - These puzzles also have an adapted image, with blocks of color in the image - but even more simplified - helping the person know how the pieces will fit together. Finished size is 8.25 X 11. Appropriate for people with early stage dementia (see activity level guide for a description). Puzzle styles include Flowers, Sports, Vegetables, Candy, Ice Cream. See 12 piece puzzles

    Gifts for Alzheimer's - Books, Including Art and Music

    Traditional books are no longer able to be enjoyed by the person with Alzheimer's or other form of dementia, as the person cannot remember what is read and track a storyline. But alternate types of books, that use pictures, art, or music, can be enjoyed and used with success.

    • Adult coloring books - These books are popular now for adults, not just children. But many traditional adult coloring books are too detailed and difficult. The coloring books sold by MindStart have simplified, yet adult-oriented, images to color - See our Birds and Butterflies and Flowers coloring books. A nice activity for caregivers as well!
    • Picture and song books - These books use both familiar images combined with familiar lyrics to make a book that can be enjoyed together both in conversation and song. See Celebrating America and Praise and Glory picture song books.
    • Trivia style books - Traditional trivia games are too difficult for the person with dementia. But books that tap into the more preserved long term memory to recall parts of a famous quote, nursery rhyme, or song, can be very successful. See Finishing Lines 1, Finishing Lines 2, and Finishing Lyrics books.
    • Life story book - Put together a books of the most important details of the person's life to allow repeated opportunities for reminiscence and conversation. A great tool to use when visitors come and conversation is difficult or when outside caregivers work with the person who do not know the life history of the person. See Life Story book.
    • Word Searches - Many people enjoy the past time of finding hidden words, but traditional word searches are too difficult for the person with Alzheimer's. MindStart Word Searches are simpler - no words that go backwards, upside down, or diagonal. The set also comes with different sizes of word searches, with the easier ones having a smaller grid of letters to look through or even having the word the person is looking for, in bold print, so it is easier to find. See MindStart Easy Word Searches.
    gifts for Alzheimer's dementia

    Gifts for Alzheimer's - Games

    Traditional games are too difficult for the person with Alzheimer's, as the person cannot follow all the details or remember all the steps and cannot plan a strategy. Adapted games that are simpler to follow or that can even be used more for matching and sorting, are a great fit for the person with dementia.
    • Bingo - Traditional Bingo can be hard to follow for the person. Rainbow Bingo uses colors instead of numbers and has visual calling cards so the person can both see and hear the call. It also has 2 levels of playing cards, so the person who can only do matching and not follow a 2 step call (i.e. B Red) can instead just match the red chip onto the red circle on their card. A great game to play together with children. See Rainbow Bingo and learn more.
    • Playing Cards - Traditional playing cards are too difficult for the person with dementia to play with - too many numbers and symbols on each card. Simplified playing cards with only one number or one symbol on each card are very versatile and can be used in many ways. A simple game can be played or a lower level person can use them to put the numbers in sequence, sort the cards by number or symbol, match a pattern of cards or more. See Numbers and Suits cards; game ideas included.
    • Scrabble style game - The tiles of scrabble are great for spelling out words but are small so are harder to handle and see. The 'What's Your Word' game has large cards with highly visible letters on them. Great for a simple game or for spelling out words together. See 'What's Your Word' cards; game ideas are included.
    Word Card Game for Alzheimer Dementia
    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.

    To help make the holidays go smoothly this year, get our Holiday Guide for Dementia Care for tips to help both the caregiver and the person with dementia.

    holiday guide for dementia care

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