Buying just the right gift for a loved one in memory care is a challenging task. You want to select a gift that meets their needs and abilities yet is still something they enjoy. Thinking about gifts for your loved one in memory care that align with their hobbies, interests, favorite sports, or happiest memories is an excellent place to start. It’s also important to consider the stage of dementia your loved one is in and what gifts are appropriate. If you need help choosing the right gift, it’s a good idea to ask your care partner to provide suggestions that will bring the most joy and still be safe.
The truth is that the gifts that bring your loved one in memory care the most enjoyment don’t need to cost a fortune. Nor do they need to be big. For practical purposes, gifts should be smaller, assuming there is limited storage space. As you can see, there is much to consider when choosing the right gift. The compassionate and experienced professionals at The Cabana at Jensen Dunes in Jensen Beach, FL have several suggestions for gifts for a loved one in memory care that foster moments of enjoyment and accomplishment.
Fidget Pad or Apron
Sensory and tactile activities are proven to reduce stress and increase brain function in people with dementia—especially when their ability to communicate and perform daily activities decreases as the disease progresses. One type of gift that offers lots of sensory and tactile stimulation is a fidget pad or apron. You can purchase one on Amazon or Etsy, or you can buy a small blanket or apron and make your own by adding objects like bright-colored buttons, pockets, rings, ribbons, soft velvet, plush material, and even small zippers. Make it extra meaningful by attaching things that are important to your loved one.
A piece of clothing is always a welcome gift. Choosing something with your loved one’s favorite colors, textiles, and designs becomes that much more special. You should consider their ability to dress with or without assistance. If your loved one struggles with dressing without assistance, you can purchase adaptive clothes with special modifications, such as Velcro or magnetic closures. Some individuals with dementia become quite attached to specific pieces of clothing—not wanting to take them off, even to wash themselves or the garment. If this is the case for your loved one, the Alzheimer’s Association suggests buying spares of their favorite clothing—or something similar if you can’t find the exact piece again. While one is being laundered, they can wear the clean equivalent.
A keepsake box is a unique gift for a loved one in memory care. It lets someone with dementia revisit their past through the items inside. You can fill the box with a favorite birthday card, photos, postcards, a prized keepsake, a small toy, or a good luck charm. You can even be creative with the box itself. Most home goods stores have beautifully decorated storage boxes with lids. You might also consider a handsome wooden box; just be sure it is not too heavy and has a smooth finish. To make the box extra special and more personal, you can put your loved one’s name on it. Or, if you want to create a fun activity you can do together, include paints so your loved one can decorate their box.
An annual magazine subscription is a lovely gift for seniors who enjoy reading short articles or looking at photos. They can be inspirational, educational, or just fun. Reading is an activity that helps lower stress and anxiety levels, particularly for those in the initial and even early to middle stages of dementia. One magazine in particular that is a crowd-pleaser is Reader’s Digest. First published in 1922, it is a general-interest magazine and still has a strong following. It even comes in a large print edition with easy-to-read stories and crossword puzzles.
Puzzles and Games
Playing games like chess, checkers, cards, and classics like Scrabble is stimulating and can help keep individuals mentally engaged. Hands-on activities, such as jigsaw puzzles or board games, can help individuals in the early stages of dementia to relax while enjoying games they may have played in years past. Taking part in leisurely yet stimulating activities benefits persons with dementia, particularly when playing with family members. The opportunity to interact with others is a benefit, especially for those who tend to isolate themselves from others in their community. Consider donating indoor games and puzzles or larger lawn versions of games, like Connect 4 and Ring Toss, to your loved one’s community to encourage group interaction.
Digital Photo Album
A digital photo album filled with photos of family and friends is another great gift for a loved one in memory care. The images stir up good memories and nostalgia, raising spirits. If there are periods in your loved one’s life they tend to remember better and reminisce about more; you can set up the frame to display those photos.
At The Cabana at Jensen Dunes, we know choosing the right gift for your loved one in memory care is important. We hope our list makes buying a gift easier and brings joy to that special person. Our dementia-trained caregivers are specially equipped to help families navigate the memory care journey. If you or your loved one need help finding resources or have questions, we are here for you! Call us at 772-758-1003 or visit us online at JensenDunes.com.