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Alzheimer’s Insights: Gifting ideas to help those with Alzheimer’s

Scott Finley

In my neighborhood, some folks have skipped Thanksgiving and gone directly to the Christmas lights.   There’s no doubt we all could use some extra cheer as we approach the end of 2020.

You can provide some extra cheer for those living with Alzheimer’s and for their caregivers as well this season.  Here are some gifting ideas to help you get started.

Gifts for people with Alzheimer’s in the early stages

Items to help remember things

  • magnetic reminder refrigerator pads
  • Post-It notes
  • baskets or trays that can be labeled within cabinets or drawers
  • a small pocket-sized diary or notebook
  • erasable white boards for key rooms in the house
  • a memorable calendar featuring family photos – write special family occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries

Items to help with everyday tasks

  • a memory phone that can store up to eight pictures with the names and contact information of family and friends automatic medication dispenser that can help the person living with Alzheimer’s remember to take medicine
  • nightlights that come on automatically when it gets dark
  • a clock with the date and time in large type

Items to help keep the person engaged

  • an outing to a movie, play or concert, sporting event, museum or possibly an organized holiday shopping trip with friends and family
  • favorite musical CDs or CD with compilation of favorite tunes
  • a DVD collection of favorite movies or subscription to a streaming service.
  • activities such as scrapbooking or other craft projects

Gifts for people with Alzheimer’s in the middle-to-late stages

Sensory stimulation gifts. Stimulating the five senses may bring back pleasant memories. Give gifts such as:

  • scented lotions
  • a fluffy bathrobe in a favorite color
  • a soft blanket or afghan to keep warm

Clothes. Get comfortable, easy to remove, easily washable clothes such as:

  • sweat suits
  • knits
  • large banded socks
  • shoes with Velcro ties
  • wrinkle free nightgowns, nightshirts and robes

Music. Research shows that music has a positive impact on individuals with Alzheimer’s, bringing them back to good times, increasing stimulation and providing an opportunity to interact with family members. Buy favorite CDs or burn a CD full of musical favorites

Framed photographs or a photo collage. Copy photos of family members and friends at photo centers, insert the names of the people in the photo and put in frames or in a photo album created specifically for that person.

Gifts for caregivers at any time

A gift for yourself.  Arrange for respite care so you can enjoy a movie or lunch with a friend.

The gift of time. Cost-effective and truly meaningful gifts are self-made coupons for cleaning the house, cooking a meal, mowing the lawn, shoveling the driveway, and giving time off so a caregiver can do something to meet their needs.

Gift cards and certificates. Give gift certificates for restaurants, laundry/dry cleaning services, lawn care services, computer/technology support, maid services, and personal pampering services such as massages and pedicures.

Books. In addition to giving novels on the caregiver’s “must read” list, there are also a number of books on caregiving such as “The 36-Hour Day” by N.L.Mace and P.V. Rabins; “The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care” by V. Bell and D. Troxel; and “Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Guide and Sourcebook,” by H. Gruetzner; and “Coach Broyles’ Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers” by Frank Broyles. Also consider giving book on CD.

Digital Video Recorder (DVR). Purchase a DVR and years’ worth of a downloading service so the caregiver can record favorite shows or sports programs he or she may not be able watch in real time due to care responsibilities.

With a little forethought, holiday gift giving traditions can continue to be rewarding.

 

Whatever you do, here are some tips and ideas for safely engaging with family and friends during the holidays.

https://www.alz.org/help-support/resources/holidays

And just a reminder – you can always get the latest information about the Association’s COVID-19 emergency preparedness guidelines for Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in long-term or community-based care settings here:

https://alz.org/professionals/professional-providers/coronavirus-covid-19-tips-for-dementia-caregivers

 

The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia – by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. Visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900.

 

Scott Finley is Media Relations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association® in Texas.  He can be reached at scfinley@alz.org