Holiday gift guide for people living with dementia and their caregivers

Holiday shopping and gift-giving can often be challenging, but even more so when shopping for a person living with dementia. There are more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. Depending on the stage of disease, some well-intentioned gifts may no longer be appropriate or practical for the person.

For the holiday season, the Alzheimer’s Association has released its 2023 Holiday Gift Guide, offering gift ideas for individuals living in the early, middle and late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The guide also includes gift suggestions aimed at keeping those living with dementia engaged and involved in everyday tasks, as well as gift ideas for the 11 million family members and friends across the country serving as unpaid caregivers for these individuals.

5 gifts for people living with Alzheimer’s – in the early stages

  • Sticky notes or an erasable white board to list reminders or the day’s activities.
  • Baskets or trays that can be labeled within cabinets or drawers.
  • Gift cards for ride-sharing services or a favorite activity (golf, movie, restaurant) allowing the person to remain active.
  • GPS trackers (bracelets, watches, small trackers) or enrollment in a safe return program to keep the person safe.
  • A “memory” calendar featuring family photos — write in special family occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.

5 gifts for people living with Alzheimer’s – in the middle-to-late stages

  • Music playlists that include the person’s favorite artists or songs.
  • Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that is easy to put on, remove and wash, such as sweat suits, slip-on blouses/shirts, non-slip socks, Velcro shoes, wrinkle-free nightgowns, nightshirts or a fluffy bathrobe.
  • Framed photographs or a photo collage created specifically for your loved one. Insert the names of the people in the photos to help with identification.
  • Soothing gifts that can help with anxiety like a handheld massage ball or a soft blanket.
  • Adaptive dining equipment such as no-spill cups, plate guards and silverware with specifically designed handles that enables greater independence during meals.

5 gifts to help with everyday tasks and keep the person living with Alzheimer’s engaged:

  • A memory phone that can store pictures with the names and contact information of family and friends.
  • Nightlights that activate automatically when it gets dark.
  • A digital clock with large type to indicate date and time.
  • An outing to a movie, play or concert, sporting event, museum or possibly an organized holiday shopping trip with friends and family.
  • Engage your loved one in making homemade gifts for the family, painting ornaments, decorating stockings, table setting, scrapbooking or other activity gifts.

5 gifts for dementia caregivers

  • The most important gift you can give a dementia caregiver is the gift of time. In fact, just a 20-minute break each day can help lower a caregiver’s stress and help avoid burnout.
  • Self-made coupons for cleaning the house, cooking a meal, mowing the lawn or shoveling the driveway.
  • Gift cards and certificates for restaurants or meal delivery, 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 a number of books on caregiving and maintaining self-health.
  • Self-care items such as a bundle of personal care items (moisturizers, bath bombs and soaks, foot creams, scrubs, soaps).

For more tips on how families affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias can safely enjoy time with family and friends during the holidays, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website. The Alzheimer’s Association provides information, programs and services at no charge to help families facing Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. For additional information, visit alz.org or call the free 24-hour Helpline at 800.272.3900.

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