Shopping for a senior living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease shouldn’t have to be difficult. But you may find yourself reflexively reaching for items that no longer serve your aging parent or their condition. These eight gifts are designed to instead help the senior in your life live better, enjoy things they love, and stimulate cherished memories.
Some gifts on the list include specially designed tableware that use the latest studies on memory care to increase appetite and retain independence and dignity while eating. Others are gifts a senior may have always enjoyed like bird feeders that can be more accessible wherever they are. If you’re starting your holiday shopping list, be sure to browse these great gifts for seniors with dementia.
Easy to set up and simple to manage, the Skylight Photo Frame is a great way to stay in touch even from afar. Simply connect to Wifi and create a custom email address, and family members and loved ones can email pictures that will instantly appear on the frame. The frame can help seniors stay up-to-date on their grandkids’ many activities and feel more connected.
The frame is a great gift to help share in special moments and stimulate memories about important people they love. Once it’s set up, you can share memories easily for years to come.
Eatwell tableware was specifically designed by a caregiver to help assist seniors with cognitive and motor impairments to be able to live more independently. The company was started by a caregiver for her grandmother living with dementia. After her experiences, she worked with other professional caregivers to produce a uniquely designed tableware set to assist the needs of seniors.
The set features high contrast colors to help distinguish food and increase appetite. Curved spoons and deep chambers make it easier to scoop food, and an anti-tip design prevents accidents. The bright colors in particular can help those with dementia consume “24% more food and 84% more liquid,” according to a study by Boston University. This practical gift can help someone in your life get the nutrients they need.
3. Color Your Mind: A Coloring Book for Those with Alzheimer’s and the People Who Love Them, by Maria Shriver
This interactive coloring book is specially designed with brain health in mind. The first of its kind, it was created by author and Alzheimer’s advocate Maria Shriver. Each page consists of puzzles, games and entertaining ways to express creativity on the page for seniors. NBC’s “Today Show” called it “one of a kind.”
The games and activities are interspersed with tips, photos and inspirational quotes. The book is meant to provide both a relaxing activity and cognitive stimulation, making it a perfect holiday gift.
Remembering to take daily pills is an important but difficult part of daily life, especially for those suffering from memory impairment. This automatic dispenser and alarm can keep track of multiple types of pills and go off at the exact time they need to be taken for consistency. The alarm can be scheduled up to six times per day for 28 days and allows caregivers to check on the schedule remotely via Bluetooth.
This dispenser and alarm system can work as both a gift for a senior and for a caregiver, giving them both peace of mind about a daily chore. Learn about other electronic pill dispensers.
A window bird feeder is a great gift for seniors, especially if they spend a lot of time indoors. Instead of being far off in the distance and hard to see, this allows birds to come right up to the window for better visibility and interaction. Pair this with a large print field guide to identify visitors while watching. This provides both entertainment and a chance to stimulate cognitive ability. For less mobile seniors in particular, watching birds can be a cathartic release as well as entertainment.
“Our residents love window feeders! They love to tell me about the types of birds they visit, their pairs and their schedules,” said Lauren Cerny, assistant activities director at Delmar Gardens Senior Living.
A weighted blanket is a great gift for seniors with dementia. Some evidence shows weighted blankets can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. It works by putting pressure on the nervous system to help it relax, and the tight swaddle it provides also creates a feeling of security.
Having dementia or Alzheimer’s can involve a lot of fear and anxiety. A gift of comfort could be the perfect way to show you care.
Music can be a great way to stimulate memory. A customized music box could be a great gift for someone you love. The traditional-style music box can be engraved with a special note or memory. The act of spinning the box itself may also stimulate memories for those who had one as a child.
Try picking one that holds a song of their youth or maybe special significance. For many seniors of a certain age, that may be an Elvis song. His dominance of radio in the ‘50s and ‘60s makes this music box a great way to bring back memories.
8. Picture books from Sunny Street Books
Sunny Street Books are books specially created for seniors living with dementia, but you won’t know that by opening one. Filled with beautiful images, calming pictures and almost no text (except some large print descriptions), they avoid referencing conditions so they can be gifted without feelings of embarrassment or offense.
The act of reading a book is special for many people. For seniors who find it difficult to read long paragraphs or see small text, Sunny Street Books can help give back that beloved feeling. There are books on everything from nature to nostalgia to holidays to humorous dogs, so no matter what your loved one treasures, you’re sure to find one to fit the gift list.