The holidays are always a special time. This year, as we're learning to navigate the uncharted waters, the holidays feel especially poignant. It's a time to cherish our elderly family and make some memories that our youngest can remember years from now.
We know the holidays are odd this year, with social distancing and all the extra precautions. All the more reason to seek the right gift for someone with memory loss. It will have more meaning to you and more value to them as we pass through these unusual and potentially boring weeks.
Since we spend so much time with people with dementia and Alzheimer's Disease in our memory care community at Weatherly Inn, we are experts at choosing the perfect gifts for someone with memory loss. From gifts that keep them engaged to tech gifts that will help them connect, we'll list all our favorites here. Enjoy!
The Best Gifts for Someone With Memory Loss Keep Them Engaged
Studies prove that when older adults with dementia are engaged in activities, they experience significant benefits to their wellbeing. They'll feel positive emotions, improvements in their ability to accomplish activities of daily living (ADLs), and constructive feelings toward staff members / caregivers and their neighbors in community care settings.
Affordable Gifts to Keep your Family Member Engaged (They're Also Easy to Find)
- Coloring books and crayons
- Single-piece puzzles like Rubik's Cube to help their dexterity
- Card games like Uno or Memory Matching games
- Books of strategy games, like crossword puzzles or Sudoku
- Hobby-related gifts, like yarn and knitting needles for your family member who loves to knit or crochet
Next on our list of gifts for people with memory loss are geared towards relaxation and comfort.
Gifts That Help Them Relax
Sometimes the best gift is one that reduces anxiety and helps your loved one sleep well. Cozy slippers are a great choice. Just be sure they have textured, non-slip soles and support. Avoid oversized, over-fluffy styles with little sole. They can be a tripping hazard.
Weighted Blankets and Massaging Gifts
- Weighted blankets have been a hot gift for the past few years, and they work! They've been proven to help adults with dementia stay asleep through the night, achieve more restful sleep, and decrease their anxiety levels.
- Weighted lap pads are a smaller option, ideal for comforting agitated adults during the daytime hours.
- Massaging gifts can be nice too. Choose smaller, battery-operated items that don't need to be plugged in and have a gentle action.
Comfort food can also be a wonderful gift for someone with memory loss. Maybe your family has a tradition of baking Christmas cookies, for instance. Your family member would love nothing more than a tin of those cookies and some time with you.
Sometimes the perfect gift for someone with memory loss is a cuddly, lovable toy.
Gifts They Can Cuddle and Care For
Stuffed animals and dolls make great gifts for people with Alzheimer's and dementia. They provide a sense of comfort and companionship.
Joy For All Lifelike Puppy
If your family member misses a special pet from their past, they might love a lifelike robotic dog created by Joy For All. At $129, they're not the cheapest stuffed animals on the market, but they have realistic sounds, sleek coats and a cuddly heartbeat that mimics the special times we spend with a real puppy. Best of all, they don't need to be potty-trained.
The Twiddle Cat
The Twiddle Cat is a sensory aid designed to ease anxiety and fidgeting. The manufacturer claims that holding and stroking this stuffed kitty can reduce stress and increases brain function in older adults and people with Alzheimer's or dementia. We think it's a perfect gift for someone with memory loss, especially if they tend to get anxious because it acts as a fidget toy too.
Gifts That Help You Stay Connected
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it's that human connection with family members is essential to people with memory loss. And while technology cannot replace the human touch we crave, it can help us learn and socialize and stay in touch.
The Amazon Echo Show
The Amazon Echo Show is a fun new speaker-style gadget that plays your family member's favorite songs and allows for hands-free calling any time. If your family member is in assisted living or a memory care home, they'll appreciate the ability to "call" you any time. The Echo Show can also tell time, check the weather, or play today's news stories.
The Skylight Frame
Another fun item, the Skylight picture frame, allows family members to email photos from their phone to the frame. This is an excellent gift for someone with a little memory loss, as it gently reminds them of family faces. You can share those special moments like graduation photos, baby's first steps and outdoor adventures instantly with Skylight.
Gifts for People with Memory Loss and Hearing Loss
The Sennheiser Assisted Listening Headphones System is a gift for older adults suffering from memory loss and hearing loss. At $279, it's not the cheapest gift on our list. However, it will help your family member enjoy their favorite television shows (that they haven't been able to hear correctly for years.)
This might be the gift your family member will appreciate most. And if your older loved one lives at home with you, the rest of the family will appreciate it too, because you won't need the TV volume at full blast all the time anymore.
Our Favorite Gift for Someone With Memory Loss
Finally, our favorite gift for people with memory loss is DayClox "The Original Memory Loss Digital Calendar Day Clock." We love it because it spells out the whole day of the week, month and date in big, bold letters. It's ideal for people with memory loss, those with Alzheimer's Disease or dementia, or people recovering from a stroke. The big, bold, black and white lettering is easy to see and will help your family member stay aware of time passing.
Are you looking for more ways to spend quality time with a loved one who's struggling with memory loss? The team at Weatherly is ready to help. Download "5 Ways to Make Memory Care More Fun" and enjoy your holiday season.