The holidays are a special time for gathering with family, sharing traditions, and, of course, giving thoughtful gifts. But if you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you know that finding them the perfect present is not always easy. Don’t worry — as with all gifts, it’s the thought and meaning that counts!
To provide some inspiration, here are five great gift ideas that will help make the holidays a little brighter for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia:
#1: Digital photo frame
Photo-themed gifts are a great option for seniors living with cognitive decline. While your loved one may not be able to recall specific names and details, simply looking at favorite photos can elicit happy feelings. Consider getting your loved one a digital frame that allows family members to send photos directly to the frame from their computer or smartphone. Another idea is a beautifully-printed album or coffee table book featuring favorite family photos.
#2: Personalized care package
If you don’t live near your loved one, consider shipping them a care package filled with smaller gifts to let them know you’re thinking of them this holiday season. As you choose what to put in the care package, think about your loved one’s hobbies and interests and what might make their day-to-day life a bit easier. Consider gifts like large-print crosswords and puzzle books, magazines, coloring books and colored pencils, favorite healthy snacks, and hand lotion, lip balm, and other pampering personal care items. Add a personal touch with a handwritten card or even a grandchild’s drawing.
#3: Sensory activities
Sensory stimulation is an important form of therapy for seniors living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, helping to evoke memories and boost positive feelings. Depending on your loved one’s interests and abilities, examples of sensory-based gifts may include art supplies, jigsaw puzzles, soft items scented with essential oils, or a simple music player or radio. There are also specialized sensory activities for seniors with dementia, such as stress balls or “busy boards,” which can help to reduce fidgeting and improve dexterity.
#4: Cozy comforts
Seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia often face difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, so consider a functional gift that helps your loved one relax and wind down for the night. Examples may include a soft throw or weighted blanket, fuzzy non-slip socks or slippers, comfortable loungewear, or a fluffy robe.
Stuffed animals are also known to help relieve feelings of stress, agitation, and anxiety among seniors with dementia. Several companies design small, lifelike robotic cats and dogs to bring a sense of comfort, companionship, and fun. These battery-powered plush pets have realistic, brushable fur and can even make soothing noises and movements.
#5: Your presence!
Last but not least, there’s no gift more valuable than your presence. Make time to visit your loved one at home or their memory care community. You can enjoy any number of activities together, from assembling puzzles, looking at family photos, and listening to music, to simply chatting over a cup of tea. If you can’t visit your loved one to celebrate the holidays together in person, consider scheduling a phone call or video call, or send a thoughtful letter and photos with their care package. Sharing these moments together is a meaningful way to make your loved one feel special and appreciated this holiday season!
When is it time for Memory Care?
If you have a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it can be difficult to determine the right time to move into a memory care community. Maybe your loved one values their independence, but they need assistance with some daily tasks and could benefit from memory-specific therapies. Here’s where assisted living memory care comes in.
For seniors with memory concerns, assisted living memory care bridges the gap between living independently and needing the full range of care provided in skilled nursing memory care. This type of care is designed to help seniors in the early to mid-stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia maintain their independence as long as possible by providing supportive services and a range of engaging activities and programming.
As a continuing-care retirement community (CCRC), Bethany Village offers both assisted living memory care and skilled nursing memory care options within our continuum of care, ensuring your loved one will be surrounded by Faithful Caring now and in the future. Even if your loved one doesn’t yet need the support of a memory care community, it’s well worth starting the research process early so you can make a confident, informed decision when the time comes.
Would you like more information about the memory care options at Bethany Village? Get in touch with us today to arrange a private tour and learn more about life at Bethany Village and our approach to memory care.