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Gifts Appropriate for Mom with Dementia

Posted by on 4/25/2014

Typical Mother's Day gifts may not be appropriate for the mom with memory loss. She may not be able to read a book, may lose jewelry, and may not be able to attend events like a movie or play. But there are gifts that can be appropriate and that might even might make daily life easier.

Environmental Gifts to Help Mom with Dementia

The person with dementia experiences the environment differently due to the changes in their brain, which can make it harder for them to get around and interact with the environment.  Here are a few gifts ideas that could help:

  • Dark towel for the bathroom - People with dementia have trouble seeing and finding objects that blend into the background; for instance a light colored towel against the bathroom white tile.  A dark colored towel will stand out more and be more easily seen.
  • Legs to raise up the height of chairs or the sofa - The person may have weakening muscles or have trouble knowing exactly how to line up their body to the chair.  Having a chair or sofa that is raised higher may help the person more safely get into it.
  • Nightlights or motion sensor lights - The person may have trouble finding the bathroom at night.  Nightlights or sensor lights that go on when motion is detected can help and can help prevent accidental falls.

Sensory Gifts to Help Mom with Dementia

Gifts that stimulate the senses, such as touch, hearing, smell, etc. can be a good fit for people at even later stages of dementia.  A few ideas include:

  • Lavender scented items - Lavender spray to put on the pillow at night or lavender scented lotion or essential oil to apply to the skin can help with relaxing and calming the person.
  • Music items - Favorite music on DVD or loaded on an ipod can be enjoyable for the person to listen to.  Song books can be enjoyed individually or when family comes to visit. 
  • Sharing a favorite dessert or food - You might think this is not a good gift idea because you eat it and then it is gone.  But the person with dementia lives in the moment.  A wonderful moment that is created with the taste of a favorite food and the reminiscing that can occur as you eat it together, can be a perfect gift for the person.

Cognitive Style Gifts to Help Mom with Dementia

MindStart offers many cognitive items that provide lots of opportunity to stimulate the brain and engage the person.  Other items that you might already have on hand can also work.  A few ideas are:

  • Large piece puzzles - Pick from 12 or 24 piece styles and an image that mom would enjoy such as Flowers, a Garden, Baking or others.
  • Start a life story book - Put together a This Is My Life memory book for mom, including written information about where she was born, what her favorite things are, about her family and more; then add pictures.  The keepsake book can be used daily by the person and caregivers to reminisce and honor the person's identity.
  • Items for sorting - The person in middle stage dementia may enjoy sorting items. This could be large buttons or coins(ensure the person does not put them in the mouth), colored socks, or silverware.

Even just a visit from a loved one, holding hands, enjoying coffee, or taking a walk, can be a perfect gift.  Do you know what you will do with your mother or grandmother with memory loss on Mother's Day?  Comment below and let us know!

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