For a senior with memory loss, maintaining a normal schedule is important—even during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
Making the holiday season dementia-friendly is an important step in allowing a person with memory loss to be part of the festivities. One way to do that is through meaningful holiday gifts. But coming up with gift ideas for a person with memory loss isn’t always easy to do.
Holiday Gift Guide for Adults with Alzheimer’s
Here are a few ideas you may find useful when shopping for a senior loved one who has dementia.
- Music: The healing harmonies of music can help to boost the spirit and soothe agitation in adults with memory impairment. Consider purchasing a few CDs for your loved one’s holiday gift. Or, load a playlist of old-time music on an iPod for them. Another fun idea might be to track down a record player (they are back in style again!) and a few vinyl records of your loved one’s favorite artists from their younger days.
- Stage-appropriate toys: One thing for families to keep top-of-mind as the disease progresses is protecting a senior’s dignity. We suggest purchasing stage-appropriate toys specifically designed for people with dementia. It can be something as simple as poker chips the senior can sort by color, or a game of checkers to play together even if you don’t quite follow the rules. Large piece puzzles also come in adult versions for people with Alzheimer’s to enjoy.
- Comfortable clothing: Those with Alzheimer’s can have difficulties with dexterity and coordination. It can make seemingly simple tasks like getting dressed more difficult. A good holiday gift might be comfortable clothing that looks nice but is easy to get on and off. A stylish jogging suit or jeans with an elastic waistband instead of buttons or a zipper are a few examples.
- Bird feeder or bird bath: If you’ve ever witnessed an adult with memory loss watching birds out their window, it is easy to understand why this item makes the list. Studies have shown that watching birds eat, build a nest, and otherwise go about their day can be calming for a person with dementia—so much so that the National Audubon Society created a special dementia initiative called Bird Tales.
Discussing Memory Care during the Holidays
The holidays can be the one time of year the whole family is reunited. From aunts and uncles to grandchildren, families tend to go home during this season.
To prepare to go home this holiday season, try listening to The Senior Caregiver Podcast. This includes an episode on how to talk to your children about Alzheimer’s, as well as episodes on other aspects of caring for a senior loved one.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living