Christmas Gifts for a Parent with Alzheimer's

By Ruby Cemental

When your parent has Alzheimer's, you want to choose your Christmas gifts carefully. Not only do you want to be sure that they're able to appreciate the gifts they receive, rather than being overwhelmed by them, you want to choose gifts that will help them go through their daily routines more effectively. These gift ideas are perfect for a loved one with Alzheimer's.

Gift Ideas for Loved Ones with Alzheimer's or Dementia

1. Choose music they'll remember from their past.

Music has a remarkable effect on many individuals with Alzheimer's. Sharing that music with your loved one will enable them to increase their mental capacity and memory as well as making them come alive. 

2. Select craft items that will keep your loved one engaged. 

Does your loved one crochet or knit? Yarn and patterns will help keep them engaged and busy. Scrapbooking can allow your loved one to reminisce about the past, which is often more familiar than the present. Does your loved one enjoy watercolors, love working with their hands, or enjoy puzzles? Choosing these craft items can help increase their mental engagement.

3. Buy a large quantity of a favorite treat.

Many individuals with Alzheimer's struggle to eat normally, especially as the disease progresses. If there's a favorite Christmas treat that you know they enjoy, pick up plenty so that their enjoyment of that item can be spread throughout the year--or at least last a little longer.

4. Buy erasable white boards or chalkboards for the rooms where your loved one spends the most time.

White boards allow you to leave large messages, track care that's been given, and call your loved one's attention to key information. They can also aid with retention of information by allowing your loved one to read it frequently until the message is changed. 

5. Purchase a memory phone specifically designed for individuals with Alzheimer's.

These phones can be programmed with critical information for your loved one. 

Additional Considerations

There are plenty of products on the market for individuals with Alzheimer's: automatic medication dispensers, night lights that come on when it's dark to help make it easier to navigate, and medic alert bracelets that will alert emergency personnel to their disease, for example.

When purchasing a gift, however, it may also be a good idea to consider the stage of Alzheimer's or dementia that your loved one is in. Individuals in the early stage may appreciate activity books, magazines that reflect their interest, or a set of their favorite shows. On the other hand, individuals in the later stages may require more simple gifts that stimulate the senses, like essential oil diffusers or a soft blanket. 

By choosing your gift with care this holiday season, you'll find that your loved one is able to flourish and thrive. To learn more about Alzheimer's and dementia, refer to our Family Caregiver's Guide to Alzheimer's and Dementia. Access all of our downloadable resources by first finding your Caring Senior Service office.

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Tags: Alzheimer's & Dementia, Holidays