Giving Care: Senior & Disabled Caregiver Resource Blog

Best Gifts for Dementia & Alzheimer’s Patients

Best Gifts for Dementia & Alzheimer’s Patients
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If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, finding them the perfect gift can be difficult. Many of the typical gift ideas for elderly people won’t be beneficial for them. To make your gift shopping a little easier this year, we have compiled a list of top gift ideas for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, from anti-strip jumpsuits to dementia fidget toys.

Adaptive Clothing

Many elderly people struggle to dress themselves in traditional clothing and having dementia can make that process even harder. If they are having difficulty with independent dressing, make it easier for them with self dressing adaptive clothing. Garments such as pull-on shirts, pants with an elastic waistband and jackets with magnetic closures make it possible for someone with early stage dementia to maintain independence and continue to dress themselves.

Women's Open Back Cardigan
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If your loved one is in a wheelchair and needs assistance with dressing, open back clothing could make it easier on your loved one and their caregiver. Open back tops are designed so that shirts won’t have to be put over your loved one’s head anymore. Instead, the shirts have snaps on the shoulders so they can simply put their arms through the armoles. Then the caregiver can wrap the top around in the back and fasten it in place. 

There are also open back pants available, which allow your loved one to stay in a seated or lying-down position, making dressing easier on both your loved one and their caregivers.

Anti-Strip Suits

If other styles of adaptive clothing are too easy for your loved one to take off, anti-strip jumpsuits might be the gift they (and their caregivers) need. People with dementia are sometimes prone to pulling at their clothing or even fully undressing at inappropriate times, including while they are out in public, which can make it hard to care for a dementia patient at home.

Anti-strip suits are a great way to help your loved one keep their dignity while remaining comfortable. Anti-strip jumpsuits feature hidden or hard-to-reach closures that make it difficult for dementia patients to undress themselves when they are having an episode. It also eases the job of the nurse or caretaker as well, allowing them to be able to provide better care because they won’t have to worry about disrobing problems. These outfits come in many different styles and colors, including anti-strip pajama suits.

Hospital Slipper-Grip Socks
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Slip-Resistant Socks

You might also consider adding a pair of slip-resistant socks to your gift of adaptive clothing or anti-strip suits. These socks are a great option since Alzheimer’s patients often won’t want to wear shoes and many long-term care facilities require some sort of footwear. Slip-resistant socks will keep their feet warm and dry and help them to stay steady on their feet when walking indoors.

Wheelchair Accessories

If your loved one with dementia also uses a wheelchair, wheelchair accessories can be a great present for them. Many elderly people run cold all the time, and wheelchairs aren’t exactly the most insulated seat, so a wheelchair blanket is a great option to keep them nice and warm. Look for one with a big pocket at the front that they can keep their hands warm as well.

Wheelchair Walker Utility Bag
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If they like to keep certain items with them, a wheelchair pouch or organizer can be attached to the frame and keep all the essentials within easy grabbing distance. This pouch can help them keep all their things in one place, whether it is their dentures, glasses or handkerchief, so they won’t lose anything anymore.

Gift Ideas for the Elderly

Comforting Items

Many elderly people with dementia experience a certain level of distress due to their lack of memory. Thus, giving them items that they find soothing or comforting is always a great gift idea, especially tactile items that they can touch and feel on days when their memory is fuzzy.

Blankets are a good standby option if you don’t have something more specific that you can give. If your loved one already has enough regular blankets, consider giving them a weighted blanket, which can help reduce anxiety, instead. Weighted blankets are filled with small glass beads, and the extra weight mimics the feeling of a hug. Having it around for the days of extreme confusion can reduce stress and keep your loved ones calm. On days that they may be feeling lonely, this blanket can be extremely comforting for them.

Another more personal option is giving stuffed animals that resemble an old pet they may have had in the past, which can be a nice reminder that would make them smile. A stuffed animal can also be used as a therapeutic animal — sort of like therapy dogs that come into assisted living facilities, minus the upkeep. If you want to, you can combine this with another gift idea (music!) and get them an MP3 teddy bear that allows you to download their favorite songs onto a device and insert it into a cuddly stuffed animal for extra comfort.

Senior Woman Using Colourful Fidget Toy To Improve Mental Stimulation At Home
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Dementia Fidget Toys

Many people with dementia get restless very easily, and giving them a fidget toy to keep their hands and minds occupied can help calm them down when they get agitated. These toys come in many different styles and styles to suit different needs. Fidget spinners are popular and very portable, as are reusable silicone “bubble wrap” toys.

You can also get fidget toys that are specifically made for people with dementia. For instance, dementia busy boards are made of wood and come with various attachments that the recipient can play with. If you want something softer, check out fidget blankets, dementia mats, and dementia pillows, all of which are made with different fabric scraps and materials to provide lots of sensory stimulation that can help relieve restlessness.

Music

Music isn’t just soothing but can also be used to trigger beloved memories. Try making them a playlist of their old-time favorites or simply old-time classics. You can also reach out to caregiver support groups and see if they know any calming music for dementia care. If you have some time, make different playlists to work with any mood.

If your loved one is in a long-term care facility, explain to the staff which playlist is for what mood. This way if they are having an anxious day, they can have a calming playlist. If your loved one loves dancing, have a dancing playlist for them to groove along to. You can mix in some of their old time favorites with some newer music that may be your favorite. This can create a better bond, so you can both enjoy the music together.

Your loved one will also need a way to listen to the music. Download the playlists onto their phone or get them an MP3 device that will allow them to play it on demand. If they don’t already have headphones, get them a comfortable pair so they don’t have to worry about ear buds. Be careful with Bluetooth and other fancy technology features, though; you don’t want to confuse or frustrate your loved one with your gift.

Crafts & Puzzles

If your loved one enjoys something that engages their mind as well as their hands, consider giving them a craft or puzzle as a gift for Alzheimer’s patients. Creative activities are a great way to pass a rainy day or a day that you can’t visit. For instance, a paint by numbers can let them use their brain while still having an enjoyable and relaxing thing to do. This is also a very easy gift to personalize: If you know they like cats, get them a cat coloring book, etc.

Puzzles are another amazing gift idea that works both their hands and their brain. It’s a great way to strengthen memory and can also give them a sense of control. And when you are visiting them, it could prove to be a wonderful way to reconnect family by involving grandchildren and allowing them to complete the puzzle with their grandparents. Just be sure to get a puzzle at the appropriate level of difficulty. A 1,000-piece puzzle may prove too much for them, whereas a 100-piece puzzle with large pieces might be just right.

Waterproof Seat Protector
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Gifts For Loved Ones In Nursing Homes

Wall or Desk Calendar

If your loved one is getting confused with dates — which is very common for people with dementia — a wall or desk calendar could be helpful for their mental state. Give them a calendar with a marker attached to it so they can (with the help of a caregiver) cross off the date each day to keep track of time passing. Write down birthdays, anniversaries, and important family dates on the calendar before wrapping it up so they will be reminded throughout the year.

Electronic Photo Frame

If your loved ones have lowered manual dexterity from arthritis in their hands, flipping the pages of a traditional scrapbook might be a struggle for them. An electronic photo frame can be a solution as long as you load it up with family photos beforehand so they don’t need to worry about doing it themselves. Including pictures of their favorite scenery or past vacations can also help them think about pleasant memories and soothe them on high-anxiety days.

Digital Wall Clock

If they already have a calendar, then a wall clock will help them keep track of time automatically without having to worry about making off a date each day. You can even find clocks that tell the date as well as the time, eliminating a need for a separate calendar. This will help ground them chronologically and give them a clock to look at without having the difficulty of trying to read a clock face. Try to choose a model with extra-large numbers on the clock face so that they can read it even without their glasses.

Man giving basket of ripe mandarins to his senior dad when he is visiting for Lunar New Year celebration
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Homemade Cards and Treats

On a budget and looking for more affordable homemade presents? Homemade cards are always a great fallback, and they can even be included with other gifts on this list for a more personal touch. Having your young kids make handmade cards will let them contribute to the gift giving and also give your loved ones some lovely artwork to hang on their fridge or in their room.

If your loved ones’ dietary restrictions allow for it, you can make them cookies or another beloved family treat that travels and keeps well. Bring them in a Tupperware container so that they can enjoy leftovers for several days. You can make this gift as creative as you like by decorating the treats at home or even bringing decorating items to finish up the treats with your loved ones together!

Ready to order gifts for dementia patients? At Silverts, we offer a wide range of adaptive clothing, from self dressing clothes to assisted dressing clothes to anti-strip jumpsuits for people with Alzheimer’s. Our clothes come in both men’s and women’s styles, as well as a wide range of colors and sizes to fit many different people. Get free flat rate shipping on your U.S. order, no minimum needed, and free rush shipping on U.S. orders over $100! Also check out our resource blog, which has plenty of tips on how to help someone with Alzheimer’s.

Image sources:

Dragon Images/shutterstock.com

fizkes/shutterstock.com

Daisy Daisy/shutterstock.com

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