Christmas Gift Ideas for Seniors with Alzheimer’s

By Ben Cornu

Giving gifts is one of the most common expressions of love and appreciation during the holidays. However, buying gifts for some loved ones can be challenging. For example, what do you get loved ones facing cognitive decline? When your parent has Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, families must be mindful of the gifts they choose.

Here are some gift ideas that are perfect for seniors with dementia. 

Special Considerations for Seniors with Dementia 

When choosing a gift for a family member with Alzheimer’s, there are some things you may need to consider. Here are some questions to think about when picking out a gift. 

  • How advanced is their dementia? Seniors in early stages of dementia may only have minimal symptoms of the disease, while seniors in later stages are very affected. It’s important to adapt your gifts to the abilities of your loved one.  
  • Could the item be used in an unsafe way? Alzheimer’s affects a senior’s judgement and decision-making skills. As a result, they may use items in ways that were not intended, potentially harming themselves.  
  • What does the senior enjoy? People with dementia may not be able to enjoy their hobbies or interests in the same way. However, some gifts could help remind them of their old hobbies and help them reminisce.  

Remember that there are different forms of dementia, and each one can pose different challenges — not just memory loss. For example, seniors with Lewy body dementia are more likely to suffer from hallucinations. Keep your loved one's signs of dementia in mind as you pick out a gift for them.

17 Top Gift Ideas for People with Alzheimer’s 

With the considerations above in mind, here is a list of some of the top gifts for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. 

1. Word Puzzles

It might seem counterintuitive to give a senior with Alzheimer’s a word puzzle book. However, it can actually help stimulate their brain and help them feel accomplished. You can choose more difficult puzzles for seniors in the early stage and easy puzzles for more advanced stages. 

2. Favorite Treat

Many individuals with Alzheimer's struggle to eat normally, especially as the disease progresses. If there's a favorite treat that you know they enjoy, give it as a gift.

3. Movies or Shows

Seniors with dementia might love movies or TV shows from a specific era in their past. Watching shows together can help you quality time with your loved one, too. 

RELATED CONTENT: Picking Movies Seniors Will Enjoy

4. Coloring Book

Coloring is a great way for seniors with dementia to practice their dexterity. Get a coloring book suited to your loved one’s abilities and pick up some colored pencils or crayons. 

5. Soft Blanket

People living with dementia can become very sensitive to their environment — including the temperature of the room. A soft blanket can help them feel comfortable and cozy. 

6. Photo Book

Photos are a great way to help a senior with Alzheimer’s reminisce. You can give them a memory book, memory box, or even a digital photo frame with pictures of you and your family. 

7. Smart Device

A smart device, like an Amazon Echo or Google Home, can help a senior stay connected. It can tell jokes, play music, give weather reports, and more. Some also have screens that show pictures. 

8. Fidget Board

A fidget book or board can help seniors with dementia engage in sensory activities and also improve their dexterity. These boards may have ribbons, snaps, and other materials. 

9. Simple Phone

A senior might struggle to use a device, like a phone, as their dementia progresses. There are dementia-friendly phones that have large buttons and pictures of loved ones so that seniors don’t get confused about who they are calling.

10. Doll or Stuffed Animal

A doll or a stuffed animal can help seniors with Alzheimer’s feel relaxed and happy. As they hold the doll or stuffed animal, they may feel like they are actually interacting with a baby or a dog, giving them a sense of purpose. 

11. Grippy Socks

Socks are a great gift for anyone of any age! As the weather gets cold, we all want to keep our toes warm. Plus, part of aging is actually a decreased ability for our bodies to regulate temperature. Grippy socks can also help seniors with dementia prevent falls when walking around. 

12. Large Clock

A senior can easily get confused about what day of the week it is. A large clock that shows the day of the week, the date, and the time in an easy-to-read display is a great idea for a senior. 

13. Simple Music Player

Just like TV shows and movies, music can transport seniors to another era and help them feel relaxed. There are a number of health benefits associated with music therapy, too, so getting a simple music player for a loved one is a no-brainer.  

RELATED CONTENT: How Music Awakens Those with Alzheimer’s

14. Weighted Wrap

A senior with dementia may develop anxiety or suffer from other behavioral changes. The pressure of weighted blankets and wraps can help ease some of the symptoms of anxiety. 

15. Modeling Clay

Modeling clay or other art supplies can help seniors use their hands and express how they are feeling. Seniors in the late stage of Alzheimer’s may just like the feel of the clay. 

16. Scents

Sensory stimulation is great for seniors with late-stage dementia, and something that smells good can be a great gift. Think about lotion, candles, essential oils, etc. However, make sure that your gift would still be safe and easy for a senior with Alzheimer’s to use.

17. Lava Lamp

Lava lamps aren’t just to bring in a 1960s vibe. A lava lamp can provide visual stimulation for seniors with dementia.  

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 and how to make the holiday a comfortable one for your loved one, reach out to your local Caring Senior Service office

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Tags: Alzheimer's & Dementia, Holidays