When an aging loved one has Alzheimer’s, finding the right gift for them is sometimes challenging. It’s important to find a gift that they appreciate, one that is meaningful and one that isn’t too complicated to use.
While providing in-home care for seniors across Los Angeles, the Salus team is often asked for gift ideas from families who are coping with Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some of our top picks.
The Gift of Music
Music has a remarkable effect on seniors with Alzheimer’s, calming them, bringing back past memories and inciting important emotions. A gift of music might include a copy of your loved one’s favorite record and a simple record player, a video recording of a grandchild playing piano, or simply a little time spent with your loved one singing a favorite song.
Puzzles and Games
Puzzles and games can help to engage the mind, stimulate the senses and potentially, slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. When picking a game, make sure that your selection isn’t too complicated. While Monopoly might be more than your loved one can manage, checkers, large print word finds, or 24-48 piece wooden puzzles will offer them a challenge without the frustration.
Sometimes Alzheimer’s disease causes the appetite to diminish, making it difficult for the senior to maintain a healthy weight. Having a stash of favorite treats on hand can help. If the treat that mom or dad loves the best is only available during the holidays, stock up so that there’s enough to last throughout the year.
A supportive pair of shoes is essential if your loved one enjoys walking and is trying to maintain independence while ambulating throughout the house. However, shoes with laces are often complicated for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease, and untied shoes increase the risk for trips and falls. Consider a pair of shoes with non-slip soles and without laces or with velcro straps instead.
A Large Whiteboard
Leaving notes helps your loved one to remember to take their medications or eat, or provides easy to find information for professional caregivers or other family members. To help, consider purchasing a large white board to hang in the room where your loved one spends most of their time. This useful gift not only improves the way you communicate, but it provides a place to leave simple to read notes, helping your loved one to retain information that is meaningful to them.
Additional Gift Giving Considerations
When purchasing gifts for your loved one this holiday, take into consideration their likes, dislikes and preferences. Also consider the stage of Alzheimer’s that they are in. A person in the earlier stage of this disease might find puzzles and games enjoyable, but in the later stage, your loved one might get more use out of a cozy blanket, cream for a comforting massage, or a bouquet of flowers to help brighten up their room.
As a final thought, remember that the most meaningful gift you can give a senior with Alzheimer’s this holiday season is the gift of your time. Spend an hour reading a book to mom or dad, enjoy a cup of tea with them, or simply sit and reminisce for awhile. While Alzheimer’s might slow their response, it won’t change the positive ways in which your simple presence can impact them.
If you’re struggling to cope with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease this holiday season, Salus Homecare of Los Angeles is here to help. Our professional caregivers provide respite support, sensory stimulation for your loved one, and a safe and comfortable home environment. Contact us anytime. We’re here to help.