• Kathryn Watson

Buying a Gift For Someone With Dementia


The key is to know who you are buying for. What are their particular likes and dislikes? What were they interested in when they were young?And of course, it will depend on what stage of dementia someone is in.

The Beginning Stages

In the beginning stages there are tons of opportunities. Exercise classes, massage therapy, and music would all be welcome gifts.

Also, additional help around the house would definitely be appreciated. Gift cards for restaurants are welcome also. The key is anything that will help to keep your loved one active and social will be a good choice. Studies show that staying social can push back the clock on dementia. This could buy them a bit more time living independently.

Another good choice in these earlier stages is DVDs. Purchase classic movies and television shows that bring back memories. Schedule one Saturday a month to pop popcorn and binge watch old movies together! Mom will really look forward to this time.

Activity books or coloring books are very popular and appropriate in this stage and in the mid stage. A memorable photo album is always a good gift. Again, make sure you add in time with you to the gift. These are activities you can do together.

Technology Can Be Great To Keep Someone Connected

An iPad can also be helpful. However, you have to worry about security. Someone with dementia can easily forget the rules of safe web browsing. I would recommend looking into a closed system for someone with dementia. grandPad ™ is one such system. It can be set up easily. And only friends and family can connect. A family member can oversee the system to make sure mom is getting the information she wants. It offers her a safe way to text, email, share photos and even video chat with friends and family.

When Dementia is a Bit More Advanced-Mid-Stage Gifts For Someone With Dementia

Any of the above gifts again are appropriate. Also, any simple craft activities that inspire reminiscing. You could create a memory box. Put in old pictures and mementos from the past.

“My mother in law loved this gift! She would spend hours going through the box. And anyone who stopped to visit would get an earful as she recalled stories of times past!”

An automatic medication dispenser is a must for this stage. Taking medications at the right time and in the right amount is crucial to manage this disease. Seniors often take multiple medications. It can easily get confusing.

When Dementia Has Taken Hold- Late-Stage Dementia Gifts

When someone is in the later stages of dementia be very confusing for the family. They're not really sure what to buy someone in this stage.

Think the sensory stimulating gifts.

A nice fluffy bathrobe or soft blanket in a favorite color. Purchase clothes that are comfortable and easy to put on. Shoes with Velcro ties or sweat suits that can easily be slipped in and out of make good gifts.

Special food items may also be appreciate. And especially if it is a recipe from the past.

“Mom used to make her mother’s fudge recipe every year for Christmas. I decided to make it this year. What a hit! Mom talked all day long about how she and her mother made fudge like this, every year together. She was so excited and I could see it brought back a flood of good memories!” Carol

The Universal Gift All Parents Love

Dementia or not- the number one gift that any will love is your time. A gift of time is the most precious gift you can give. And while that may seem a bit trite to you, any parent will tell you that's what they really want. So somehow figure out a way to give the gift of time not just on Christmas day but throughout the year. Even if your parent has a disease like dementia and doesn't seem to know who you are they will feel and know your presence. It will make a difference.

Pat Mack has been helping families make the right decisions to care for someone they love since 1997.

Email her today for more information.

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