Living with dementia

Gift ideas for people living with dementia
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Who doesn’t love receiving a gift? Tearing into a parcel in anticipation of its content is a source of fun. But it is also a ritual dating back to childhood and for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, it can be therapeutic by bringing attention to whatever special occasion is being marked.  A gift can remind her who, where and with whom she is. So don’t let them be left out on the fun!

Here are some ideas to help you choose the right one. Keep in mind that some of these options, like a CD, can be given to somebody in any stage of the disease. Also, as a general rule, don’t give more than two or three presents. Too much stimulation can be bad a thing.

A printer-friendly version of this tipsheet has been made available for download.

See the rest of our holiday tipsheets here.  

Early stages

In this stage of the disease, it is important to keep her active. Gifts that encourage her certain skills will help her maintain these abilities and slow the progression of the disease.  Also, those that promote mental stimulation, remembrance and socializing and aides for independent living can also be helpful. Here are a few ideas:

  • Classic movies and TV shows
  • Crossword puzzles and strategy games to keep her mind active
  • Reading material reflecting his interests
  • A homemade memory calendar full of family photos and important dates such as birthdays and anniversaries
  • A membership to a health club to encourage him to stay active
  • A special clock that displays the date as knowing for sure what day it is can be reassuring
  • Offer your services to help with the housekeeping
  • Plan an outing to a movie, play, sporting event or other similar activities

Middle to late stages

Remember that as the disease progresses, it will be more and more difficult for him to perform simple tasks and activities he once enjoyed. Simple gifts that provide sensory stimulation are often the best and can help bring back pleasant memories, such as:

  • A CD with his favourite music
  • Simple games or puzzles
  • Pampering toiletries and other products
  • Framed photographs/photo collages with the names of the people beneath
  • Comfortable and easy to remove clothing 
  • Nature or other videos that feature visual and auditory stimulation
  • Doll or stuffed animal
  • A DVD with old family movies and picture

Last Updated: 12/10/15
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