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Gifts Ideas for Seniors with Alzheimer’s

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As the festive season is again upon us, gift shopping is a necessary activity – a task loved by some, but for others, it presents a challenge we may prefer not to endure. And if you are close to one of the approximately 472,000 Australians living with dementia1, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form, finding the perfect gift for someone with impaired memory and cognition can present additional challenges.

So, to lend you a helping hand this festive season, we have put together this guide to gift-giving for those with Alzheimer’s, whether they are ageing in place, – receiving care at home, or in an aged care facility. When living with Alzheimer’s, things that can make life that little bit less complex, things that will come in handy for everyday activities, or items that simply bring joy can make the perfect present.  

Gift Ideas for those with early-onset Alzheimer’s 

If your loved one is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, they are likely ageing in place, happily living at home, or perhaps receiving a little in-home care to support things like memory loss, problem solving or completing familiar tasks successfully. Often at this stage of Alzheimer’s, people can feel confusion over dates, and find they are misplacing things.  

Gifts like photobooks with notes about the images, or a memory box with treasures you can recall stories about together can help save memories and lead to some great conversations. 

Simple board games can also be a great gift, that you can play together enabling your loved one to participate without potential confusion or frustration of a more complex game. 

Gifts that help keep track of things like an easy to read clock that also has the date displayed, or an easy to use calendar can be helpful and useful. 

Anything that can make daily activities that bit easier are great gift ideas. Things like shoes with velcro straps, a nice back scrubbing brush for the shower, wide brimmed hat for the sun, or even something like a picture dial telephone system can bring both simplicity and joy to your loved ones world when ageing in place with early onset Alzheimer’s.   

Gifts for Seniors with Middle Stage Alzheimer’s  

As Alzheimer’s disease advances, increased difficulties with daily care needs become apparent. There are some great gift ideas that can further simplify and support your loved one with their day to day activities. 

Things like automatic pill dispensers help ensure medication regimes stay on track. Vouchers for their favourite restaurant or café, with the promise of your company, can reduce the burden on them to cook for themselves and get them out and socialising. Even some in home support hours with one of our experienced Care Workers at Home Care Assistance could be a great gift idea, and can be a great way to test out the benefit of receiving some help around the home to maintain their independence. 

Activities can help with rising levels of agitation and reduce wandering. There are specialised colouring books3, for those with dementia which, coupled with some fresh crayons, make a great gift. Jigsaw puzzles3 are another great all-weather activity to provide creative stimulation, and can be done independently or with a visitor. 

Music is also an important part of dementia care and can help you connect with your loved one. Now that we are able to get out to concerts again, check out ticket options as a great gift, or perhaps a collection of old favourites loaded to a simple music player.3 

Anything that can bring joy to your loved one serves as a great gift idea. An experience like a manicure/pedicure can make them feel special. Think about whether your loved one has a favourite flower, body product, costumer jewellery piece or colour, sports memorabilia, piece of music, book, or scent. These can all spark joy when given as thoughtful gifts. 

Late- stage Alzheimer’s gift ideas 

During the later stages of Alzheimer’s, your loved one’s communication abilities may be limited, as their world becomes primarily experienced through the senses. Gifts that appeal to the five senses, provide comfort and safety can be ideal.  

On the comfort front, your loved one may respond well to gifts like a weighted blanket which can calm the senses and provide a sense of security. A vibrating sensory cushion3 is also great as a more portable option for travelling in the car or attending appointments.  

Bathrobes and slippers can make great gifts and look for slippers with non-slip soles for safety. 

Communication during late-stage dementia often comes easier through art, rather than traditional expressive means, so things like a watercolour paint set and a watercolour pad to use can make a lovely gift.  

For loved ones who always had a pet, or are fond of babies, doll, and pet therapy with the help of a stuffed animal toy or baby doll can be a much appreciated gift that they can cherish and cuddle. 

Regardless of the extent of symptoms experienced by your loved one ageing in place with Alzheimer’s, there is one gift that will always be appreciated – your company. Simply being with them can be the best present and can also be a key part of in-home care, even if it is simply sitting together and watching an old favourite on TV together.  

If you are limited in your ability to be physically present, then Home Care Assistance can help. Our compassionate and professional Care Workers can provide companionship to your loved ones when you can’t be there in person. We are a trusted and experienced provider of care to individuals and families living with mild to severe Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. Call or use the My Aged Care Service Finder to help you find any additional support services you might need over the festive season and ensure your loved one has the support and company they need to feel secure and cared for during this festive period.  

References

1 https://www.dementia.org.au/statistics 
https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs 
https://dementiashop.com.au/ 

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