Holiday Gift Ideas for People with Alzheimer’s and Caregivers

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purple-gifts05xIf you have a caregiver or a person with Alzheimer’s on your gift-giving list, we’ve got some suggestions to make your shopping a bit easier.

Gifts for people with Alzheimer’s

In the early stages

Items to help remember things
• magnetic reminder refrigerator pads
• Post-It notes
• baskets or trays that can be labeled within cabinets or drawers
• a small pocket-sized diary or notebook
• erasable white boards for key rooms in the house
• a memorable calendar featuring family photos – write special family occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries

Items to help with everyday tasks
• a memory phone that can store up to eight pictures with the names and contact information of family and friends
• automatic medication dispenser that can help the person living with Alzheimer’s remember to take medicine
• night lights that come on automatically when it gets dark
• a clock with the date and time in large type

Items to help keep the person engaged
• an outing to a movie, play or concert, sporting event, museum or possibly an organized holiday shopping trip with friends and family
• favorite musical CDs or CD with compilation of favorite tunes
• DVD collection of favorite movies
• activities such as scrapbooking or other craft projects
• a fruit basket, frozen meals or other meals that are healthful but easy to prepare
• photo albums or a collage of old family photos

In the middle-to-late stages

Sensory stimulation gifts.
Stimulating the five senses may bring back pleasant memories. Give gifts such as:
• scented lotions
• a fluffy bathrobe in a favorite color
• a soft blanket or afghan to keep warm
• clothes – get comfortable, easy to remove, easily washable clothes such as: sweat suits, knits, large banded socks, shoes with Velcro ties, wrinkle free nightgowns, nightshirts and robes.
• gifts that involve sorting and arranging or cutting
• picture books featuring celebrities, historical places and nature
• taped religious services and music from church services
• memory books or boxes made up of old photos and mementos
• visits from well-behaved animals
• lap robes, shawls and warm footwear to keep warm with poor circulation
• stuffed animals, dolls, or pillows to bring a sense of comfort
• hand and body lotion along with a massage

Music.
Research shows that music has a positive impact on individuals with Alzheimer’s,
bringing them back to good times, increasing stimulation and providing an
opportunity to interact with family members. Buy favorite CDs or burn a CD full
of musical favorites.

Framed photographs or a photo collage.
Copy photos of family members and friends at photo centers, insert the names of
the people in the photo and put in frames or in a photo album created specifically
for that person.

MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®.
Enroll the person in MedicAlert + Safe Return, a 24-hour nationwide emergency
response service for wandering and medical emergencies.

Gifts for caregivers

• The gift of time. Cost-effective and truly meaningful gifts are selfmade coupons for cleaning the house, cooking a meal, mowing the lawn, shoveling the driveway, and giving time off so a caregiver can do something to meet their needs.
• Gift cards and certificates. Give gift certificates for restaurants, 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 also a number of books on caregiving such as “I’m Still Here” by John Zeisel; “The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care” by V. Bell and D. Troxel; and “Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Guide and Sourcebook,” by H. Gruetzner; and “Coach Broyles’ Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers” by Frank Broyles. Also consider giving book on CD.
• Digital Video Recorder (DVR). Purchase DVR/TiVo and year’s worth of service so the caregiver can record favorite shows or sports programs he or she may not be able watch in real time due to care responsibilities.

Lastly, be reminded that the holidays are a rest point between past struggles and an uncertain future. Enjoy the moment!

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