Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What Gift to Give if Your Loved One Has Dementia

"The holidays can be bittersweet time for caregivers. But there are ways to make them fun and relaxing for family members and patients."

The holiday season can be a more joyous time for everyone — even under the circumstances of celebrating with someone suffering from dementia or Alzheimers. You just have to know what to get. 
  • Gift ideas for the person with dementia include (some of these depend on their level of independence or if they have full time care): an identification bracelet; a stuffed animal to hug; a picture album filled with family pictures; exercise equipment (a stationary bike, jump rope, membership to a swimming pool); comfortable, easy care clothes; music, tapes or records -- especially familiar old tunes; radio; tickets to a musical or concert; favorite food; a low maintenance pet; home health equipment (safety bars for bath or shower); lap robe; bird feeders and taxi or town car charges.
Here are some more products found at The Alzheimer's Store or call 800.752.3238:
  • The Memory Phone allows a person to dial the phone by simply pushing a picture of the person they want to call.
  • A picture book explains Alzheimer's disease to young children 5-years old and up.
  • Aerobics for the Mind is a set of 100 cards, each with its own exercise in mental fitness.
  • The Fuzzy Wuzzy Bear, the world's softest and "cuddliest" Teddy Bear, provides nurturing for those in later stage dementia.
  • Sing-a-long video tapes provide hours of enjoyment for patient and caregiver.
"We select only products that satisfy real issues faced by people with age-related diseases and those caring for them," said Ellen Warner, co-founder of The Alzheimer's Store.

For another gift site CLICK HERE where you should be able to find:
  • Reflective Impressions is a spiritual and calming CD — 33 hymns and Bible instrumentals that not only provide beautiful music, but also fond memories.
  • Favorite Hymns - From "Amazing Grace" to "What a Friend," this beautifully illustrated book features verses from twenty four of the most popular hymns in large easy to read print.
  • Four Piece Puzzles: Each of these easy puzzles has only four large pieces. Simple to you and I, these puzzles can create a wonderful sense of accomplishment for those in the middle stages of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Swing 'N Sing is a fun-filled video exercise program, perfect for people experiencing dementia. It's mixed with nostalgic melodies — guaranteed to put a glimmer in the eye, a song in the heart and tapping in the toes!
What about their caregivers? Gift ideas for them could include: tickets to a show, concert, movie; "respite visits" to give the caregiver time off; offers to run errands for the caregiver; dinner out or dinner delivered to the home; books; housekeeping tasks done or paid visits by a housekeeping service; subscription to favorite magazine; coupon for 1 day (or more) at an adult day care; telephone gift coupon for long-distance calls.

  • TIP: Stay away from gifts that require a lot of care or attention. Be aware that expensive of fragile gifts may be broken or lost.
Be realistic as to how much holiday activities the person with dementia (and the caregiver) can handle. Holidays are stressful for everyone and caregivers may need to adjust expectations about how much holiday entertaining they can do. Avoid too much food, drink, and people.

Thanks go to First Time for the picture 


Woodswoman Abroad said...

It's too late for our mother, and some of these things probably wouldn't be allowed anyway, but please remember these lovely suggestions when I get demented! Before I take the pills, I'd love to have some of these comforts around me!

Love this column/blog, Rock. I'm so glad you have time to keep updating it.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful blog, Rock. My Dad had Alzheimer's and his favorite food cheered him up, even if he didn't know me. You are providing a real service. Thanks!