It's that time of year when we buy holiday presents for our family and friends. If you have a loved one with dementia, you might be stuck trying to figure out an appropriate and useful gift that person can safely enjoy.
Here are eight unique gift ideas for someone with dementia, for you to use as your guide this holiday season.
• A large clock that shows the day of the week, time of day and calendar date can be very helpful for someone with dementia, as they often have trouble remembering dates. With the correct details for the current time of day, your loved one will feel more reassured.
• To surround a person with dementia with happy memories, as well as help remind them who's who, consider making or buying personalized gifts with family photos and names.
• AARP explains how art therapy can significantly help those with dementia express themselves creatively. Even if your loved one experiences language loss, drawing or painting can help them communicate in a new way. Consider buying appropriate crafting supplies or kits, such as a watercolor set, for fun activities.
• Restlessness is a common symptom of late-stage dementia, which causes people to fidget or move their hands more often, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Try to find sensory-rich objects to occupy your loved one's hands. For example, a pillow made specifically as a sensory object includes lots of materials and items that can also help with fidgeting.
• Puzzles help those with dementia with dexterity while fitting pieces together, as well as stimulating cognitive function. Keep in mind the stage of dementia when picking out puzzles. You might want to opt for simpler versions with fewer pieces for later stages.
• Scientific studies have shown that crossword puzzles can have cognitive benefits. You can order large print crossword puzzles to make it easier to see. Alternatively, there are dementia-specific puzzles packs available.
• Give the gift of ease with automatic or motion-sensor night lights. Along with restlessness, your loved one with dementia might have trouble sleeping or need to get up during the night to go to the restroom. Make life easier with a night light system in each room.
• Subscription services are the gift that keeps on giving. While bringing a holiday plant like a poinsettia or rosemary tree is a festive gift, with monthly deliveries, your loved one can enjoy a new present every month. Search the internet for companies that deliver monthly potted plants. If you think taking care of a house plant might be too much for your loved one, you could also consider a monthly flower delivery, such as Bloomsy Box.
While it can be challenging to find a present for your loved one that he or she will enjoy and use, these gift ideas for someone with dementia will fit the bill, no matter the stage. Each person with dementia has their own desires, so make sure to consider individual taste and interest when buying a present.
Lastly, remember that the most important gift is spending time with someone to show that you care.
Kaylynn Evans, MSM-HC, LNHA, CADDT, CDDM is executive director at Vineyard Bluffton. vineyardbluffton.com