For those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, it may be difficult for their family and loved ones to think of meaningful gifts that they will use. If you are one of those family members struggling with gift ideas for your memory-impaired loved one, don’t fret, we have plenty of ideas! The staff here at Serenity Gardens Memory Care Assisted Living have decades of experience caring for those with cognitive impairment and have some practical gift ideas to share.
Gift ideas for those with memory or cognitive impairment will vary based on the individual likes and preferences of your senior as well as their level of regressive symptoms. Check with your loved one to assess their needs and preferences. Here are some gift ideas for those who are in the middle to late stages of dementia.
Heated Stuffed Animals
Stuffed animals that have internal heating mechanisms or have features that mimic breathing, heart beats, or purring are comforting for many seniors, but especially so for those with dementia. Mimicking a real pet offers the comfort of a living lap cat or dog without the requirement to care for it.
Weighted Blankets or Scarves
Weighted blankets or scarves are used by people and caregivers of patients with all sorts of cognitive disorders including sensory processing disorders, anxiety, and dementia. Weighted blankets can help stabilize serotonin and melatonin levels and provide comfort by mimicking a hug. Weighted scarves are a great option for those with dementia because they can wear it throughout the day. Discuss a weighted blanket with your loved one’s care team before purchasing it, as some skin conditions may be a contraindication for use.
Fidget Toys and Blankets
Fidget toys like spinners and Rubik’s cube, and fidget blankets that have ribbons to feel or pull, zippers, and snaps are great for anyone who has a need for tactile sensations. Many Alzheimer’s disease patients tend to wring their hands and become increasingly agitated if they do not have something to do. Offering something safe to hold and fidget with helps decrease negative behaviors and offer a good distraction.
Picture phones are a great gift idea for anyone with a cognitive impairment or visual disability. You can program the buttons to dial loved ones and add a picture to correspond. This helps when dementia affects the ability to remember phone numbers, and is increasingly practical when your loved one begins to forget names and relationships.
If your loved one with dementia doesn’t already have a music source, gifting one can be very meaningful. Equip the music source with their favorite artist, tunes, or genre to help them relax and create a peaceful ambiance. Playing music is soothing to most people, and can be especially effective for those who lack the ability to focus or concentrate. If you aren’t sure what artist or genre to play, try a variety until you find something that seems to calm your loved one. They may even begin to hum, sway, or sing, even in the advanced stages of dementia.
When looking for a good gift for your loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or any cognitive disorder, you can never go wrong with one that meets their needs and helps them feel comfortable. If your loved one is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease and you aren’t sure what they would benefit from, connect with their care staff, like the companions and nurses at Serenity Gardens Memory Care Assisted Living center. Not a patient? Schedule your tour today!