As the Christmas clock winds down many of us will be rushing out for last minute gifts and stocking stuffers. When you have a loved one living with dementia, however, your shopping list can become a bit more challenging since the things they may have enjoyed years ago may no longer be practical.
You may also have extended family members and friends asking for advice on what your loved one might want, leaving you wracking your brain for new ideas.
At our Anthem Memory Care communities, we understand how gift giving can become more complicated when it’s for a loved one with dementia. So we’ve put together some ideas to get you thinking. You might pass along some of them to others as well.
- Digital, back-lit calendars. These come with oversized numbers and letters, making them easy to access and read.
- Digital photo frames. While they have been around for quite a while, these framed digital photo “shows” continue to be popular. They allow you to upload dozens of your favorite photographs as images that can be sorted and arranged in order.
- Warm sweaters and blankets. Today we have sherpa and fleece lined garments that are super soft and warm. For an individual, the touch and feel of something soft, like a blanket, can be soothing and comforting as well as practical.
- Lotions, creams and scents. Sensory stimulation is something that can greatly benefit individuals with memory loss. Look for scents that your loved one has always enjoyed. Rose, citrus and herbal scents are some of the more popular ones.
- Card games and puzzles. Look for those which have been designed for individuals with memory impairment.
- Gift baskets. This is a great way to package together a number of small items that your loved one likes. You can purchase items and create the basket yourself or shop for pre-packed baskets with teas, coffees, cookies or other items that you think your loved one would like.
Thankfully, most of these items are available online. Be sure to check the delivery dates as we get closer to Christmas Day. And, above all, don’t forget that gift giving should be an enjoyable experience. The key is to keep your gifts simple and meaningful.
And remember, it really is the thought that counts.
(The top image shows a festive row of Christmas gift bags ready to be opened at Greenridge Place Memory Care in Westminster, Colorado!)