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Last Minute Shopping for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s

This is the season for gift giving. For many, questions like “Mom, what would you like for Christmas?” are greeted by either a short list or, more likely, “Oh don’t worry about me, dear. I don’t need anything.” But if you have a loved one struggling with Alzheimer’s, your holiday wish list is more challenging.

The question of “what to get” becomes tougher because the answer has become less clear.

Perhaps you are a son or daughter and you’ve put off shopping for a memory impaired loved one for this reason. We’d like to help. Here is a list we’ve put together that we hope will make that last minute shopping a little easier.

If your loved one is in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s:

  • A personalized calendar with family photos (it’s easy to do this and can be done very quickly online). Be sure to write in family birthdays.
  • Light sensitive nightlights that turn on when it gets dark.
  • Tickets for an outing, such as a play, movie or other local entertainment.
  • A “memory” phone which can hold photos alongside names and numbers.
  • Attractive counter-top organizers for keys, change and other items.
  • A CD mix of favorite music or a DVD set of vintage TV shows or movies.

If your loved one is in the mid-to-later stages of Alzheimer’s:

  • Lotions, powder or light cologne.
  • Scented sachets to keep in the drawer.
  • A small photo album with photos from earlier times they may remember.
  • A postcard album with cards from towns they have visited or lived in.
  • Soft clothing. Texture is important, so consider chenille and brushed wool.
  • Attractive, brightly colored plastic dinnerware set.
  • Bouquet-a-month flower delivery program.
  • Bright, solar-illuminating garden stakes, wind chimes and other pretty garden ornaments.

For loved ones in mid-to-later stages of Alzheimer’, focus on the senses.

Of course, for those in the mid-to-later stages of Alzheimer’s, there is always a need for practical items such as Velcro-tie shoes and other aids. While they’re certainly useful, try leaving those purchases for later, if you can. Give gifts that you would enjoy yourself, but that are simple to use and stimulate the senses. You’ll feel better and the giving, itself, will be more enjoyable.

At Anthem Memory Care we understand the stress that holidays can bring for caregivers and those you care for. That is why our communities have respite care programs, as well as dementia support groups to support your own physical and emotional health. Be sure to visit our community pages to learn more.