Gifts For Alzheimer's Patients

Alzheimers CareWith over 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease, and more than 10 million people providing care for them, it is highly likely that you will be buying gifts for a loved one with Alzheimer's, or someone that has been touched by the disease, this holiday season or at some other time. As such, it is important to know what gifts are appropriate - gifts that can help ease stress, confusion, and depression, and actually aid the memories of those suffering.

The key is to look for gifts that your loved one is interested in, and that will keep them actively engaged and at ease. Gifts for Alzheimer's patients should be fun, yet stimulating in some way - be it cognitive stimulation, sensory stimulation, or physical stimulation. Special DVDs can be a good alternative to television, and games and puzzles can not only be fun and interactive, but can help you keep tabs on how your loved one's disease is progressing.

Keep in mind that certain gifts, like new electronics, might seem like a fun or helpful gift, but could actually cause added stress or embarrassment for an Alzheimer's patient because it creates another thing to be remembered. If you decide you want to give a tech gift or electronic, be sure to go over the instructions with your loved one slowly and more than once, so that they have a good understanding,  and keep a copy of the instructions for yourself.

Gifts for Alzheimer's Patients

1. Early Stage: When in the Early Stage of Alzheimer's, people can still live healthy, active lives for the most part, and might only notice subtle changes in their memory and body. For these individuals, gifts that aid cognitive stimulation are beneficial, and can include some of the following:

  • Magnetic reminder pads for the refrigerator
  • Labeled baskets or file folders to keep documents and other misc. items
  • Designated hanger or jar for keys
  • Family calendar with important dates written in - birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.
  • Dial-by-picture telephone system
  • Automated pill dispenser
  • Night light for bedroom or bathroom
  • Crossword puzzles related to 20th Century events or history
  • "Spot the difference" photo games
  • Large playing cards or index cards
  • Puzzles with places they have gone, or art they enjoy
  • Stimulating DVDs, such as nature or history documentaries
  • "Classics" CD from their favorite musician
  • A collection of their favorite movies
  • Plan a special outing - go to a play, a movie, a museum, shopping with family and friends
  • Do fun hands-on activities together such as painting or scrapbooking

2. Middle/Late Stage: People in the later stages of Alzheimer's generally need assistance with most of their daily activities as their state continues to deteriorate. Gifts that provide sensory stimulation, and that bring back pleasant memories are beneficial for individuals suffering from moderate or late stage Alzheimer's, such as:

  • Scented lotions in their favorite scent
  • A bathrobe or slippers in their favorite color
  • A warm throw blanket
  • Comfortable clothes that are easy to put on and take off, and easy to wash - such as sweats, knits, and wrinkle-free sleeping garments
  • A CD or compilation of their favorite songs or musicians
  • Family photo album with pictures of every family member, and their name
  • An illustrated family tree
  • Puzzles of favorite places or art works
  • Games - color stimulation, size and shape games, brain-game books
  • Color-by-number activities
  • Nature or animal DVDs or documentaries
  • Stress ball, or sensory hand-held toys
  • Do fun hands-on activities together such as painting or scrapbooking

Gifts for Family Caregivers 

Caring for an Alzheimer's patient, especially if it is a loved one, can be extremely taxing on a person, both physically and mentally, and can often lead to caregiver depression. To avoid this, truly the best gift you can give an Alzheimer's or dementia caregiver is the gift of respite care. By having someone else relieve caregiving duties temporarily, you will help the family caregiver reduce stress and have a necessary and deserved break over the holiday season.

  • Gift certificates - to salons or spas, favorite restaurants or hotels, favorite clothing stores, maid or lawn services, personal wellbeing such as yoga or gym membership, or technology support
  • Books - informational about caregiving and Alzheimer's disease, and also purely fun, entertaining books from a genre that you know the caregiver enjoys
  • TIVO or DVR subscription - allows the caregiver to record their favorite shows and movies on television that they might miss due to caregiving duties
  • Respite Care - finding a company that can refer a professional, qualified, and compassionate respite care provider to temporarily relieve the family caregiver of their duties is probably the most valued gift you can give. It gives your caregiver the gift of personal time and rest.

American In-Home Care always refers qualified, credentialed, screened, care providers that can assist with a wide variety of services in-home or in facilities. The care providers we refer to perform Respite Care can assist with overnight respite, in-home respite, Alzheimer's respite, travel care, and a number of other services to assist with daily activities. Contact us at 1-844-505-0004 to schedule your free consultation to assess your care needs.

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