Christmas gift ideas for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers – Sterling Journal-Advocate

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Vacations can be stressful enough, but when you add someone with dementia, getting together with family and friends becomes more complex. Finding the right gift for our loved ones can be difficult. The Alzheimer’s Association offers a guide to holidays for caregivers that shows how, with careful planning, family celebrations can continue to be a meaningful part of holidays while ensuring everyone’s safety, comfort and enjoyment.

If you have a caregiver or someone with Alzheimer’s on your gift list, we have some suggestions to make shopping easier.

Gifts for people with Alzheimer’s disease – in the early stages

Items to help remember things:

• Magnetic fridge reminder pads

• Post-it Notes

• Baskets or trays that can be labeled in cupboards or drawers

• A small diary or pocket notebook

• Erasable whiteboards for key rooms in the house

• A memorable calendar with family photos – write in special family occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries

Items to help with daily tasks:

• A memory phone that can store up to eight photos with the names and contact details of family and friends

• Automatic medicine dispenser that can help the person living with Alzheimer’s disease to remember to take their medicine

• Night lights that come on automatically when it gets dark

• A clock with the date and time in large characters

Things to help keep the person engaged:

• A trip to the cinema, a play or a concert, a sporting event, a museum or possibly a shopping trip organized for the holidays with friends and family

• Favorite music CDs or a CD with a compilation of favorite tracks

• DVD collection of favorite movies

• Activities such as scrapbooking or other craft projects

Gifts for People with Alzheimer’s Disease – Intermediate to Advanced Stages

Gifts that stimulate the five senses can bring back fond memories:

• Perfumed lotions

• A fluffy bathrobe in a favorite color

• A soft blanket or afghan to keep warm

• Comfortable, easy-to-remove and washable clothing, such as outerwear, knitwear, wide-band socks, shoes with Velcro fasteners, wrinkle-free nightgowns, nightgowns or bathrobes

• Music – research shows that music has a positive impact on people with Alzheimer’s disease, bringing them back to good times, increasing stimulation and providing an opportunity to interact with family members

• Framed photographs or a photo collage – insert the names of the people in the photo and put them in frames or in a photo album created specifically for that person

Gifts for Caregivers

The most important gift you can give a caregiver is the gift of time:

• homemade coupons to clean the house, cook a meal, mow the lawn or shovel the driveway

• Free time for a caregiver to do something to meet their needs

Gift cards and certificates for restaurants, laundry/dry cleaning services, lawn care services, computer/technology support, maid services, and personal care services such as massage and pedicures

• Books – in addition to giving novels on the carer’s ‘must read’ list, there are a number of books on caregiving

The Alzheimer’s Association provides free information, programs and services to help families living with Alzheimer’s disease. For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the toll-free 24-hour helpline at (800) 272-3900.

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