With the holiday season fast approaching, most, if not all of us are busy shopping for the perfect gift for our friends and family. But there’s a good chance of getting stuck when trying to figure out what to get for a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia. In addition, the challenges vary depending on the stage their dementia has progressed to.
QUICK LINKS - TOPICS COVERED:
- EARLY STAGES
- MIDDLE STAGES
- Day Clock & Calendar
- Medication Dispenser
- Automatic Night Light
- Dining Ware
- Medical ID Bracelet
- Matching Shirts
- LATE STAGES
Although dementia during the early stages might not seem obvious and the person may still seem normal, there are some telling symptoms. While memory lapses can be common in the elderly, increasing frequency is cause for concern. For example, someone with early stage dementia could exhibiting one or more of the following symptoms:
- Misplacing items around the house. Unable to find items used on a regular basis such as glasses, keys, or wallet.
- Unable to recall recent events or conversation and forgetting appointments and dates.
- Having trouble recalling words, names, places, or objects.
- Tends to repeat a task or ask the same questions.
- Become increasingly indecisive.
- Become more hesitant and less willing to try new things.
- Heightened or increasingly varying moods—the person may often be agitated, confused, or depressed.
- Become withdrawn and lose interest in activities that was previously interesting.
Based on the symptoms listed above, here are some helpful gift options that you can get for your loved one:
Dementia being a disease of the brain, activities that help exercise the mind can be of great help in slowing its progress. Therefore, puzzles such as jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, or strategy games can be beneficial to someone with dementia.
Whether stored in a thumb drive or CD’s, music can be a soothing outlet when a dementia patient gets agitated. Listening to songs that are familiar can help them reminisce and remember. It is something that remains beneficial as their dementia progresses. Specialized music players which have been simplified and adapted for dementia patients are also available.
One great product available specifically for people with dementia is the Simple Music Player. It's designed to withstand plenty of accidents.
Electronic Picture Frame
With this item, one can store entire albums worth of pictures. You can upload pictures of close friends and family members or store images that have special meaning to your loved one. This gift too, can be given and used as the dementia progresses.
There are many of these on websites like Amazon that you can choose from. Here is a link to a couple of them: Amazon - Electric Picture Frame
Along with the traditional dial pad of numbers, a memory phone can store contact information with accompanying photos. For example, your loved one can store the numbers of their family and friends with the individual’s picture. So, when the time comes to call them, rather than scroll through a list of names, they can directly find the picture of the person they want to talk to and click on it.
Here are some examples on the Alzheimer's Store.
By this stage, individuals with dementia start to lose their ability to care for themselves. They would need increased support in accomplishing many daily tasks such as eating, bathing, and dressing. The main cause is their worsening memory. Some of the symptoms at this stage are:
- Forgetting names of family and friends
- Losing track of time or wandering
- Repetitive behavior
- Becoming suspicious of family members
- Speech and language difficulties
- Frequent mood changes
- Reduced spatial recognition.
Large Face Day Clock & Calendar
These specialized clocks and calendars have large fonts so that it’s visible to dementia patients. The clocks can also display the time of day such as morning, afternoon, evening, and night in addition to the exact time and day. The calendar on the other hand, can display specific personal reminders such as birthdays, appointments, and other special occasions, in addition to the exact date.
Here's a good one on Amazon: Large Clock - Amazon
Medication Dispenser Systems
These are more than the average pill dispensers. It is an automated system that dispenses the medicines at pre-set times. Some systems even come with alarms to alert the person to take their medicines and will continue to sound until the compartment is emptied. There are also models which has remote monitoring facilities that alerts the caregiver if medications have been missed.
LiveFine Pill Dispenser is a fantastic selection for this! Like most things...it's on Amazon.
Automatic Night Light
To avoid any unwanted accidents, an automatic night light can be very useful. Basic ones tend to light up automatically as soon as the room gets dark, whereas more sophisticated ones allow you to program it to light up and switch off at specific times of the day.
Here are some night lights to choose from: Night Lights - Amazon
Red Colored Dining Ware
This product can be especially useful for individuals who forget to eat or don’t eat as much as they used to. Research has shown that food intake increases by 24% and liquid intake by 84% in Alzheimer’s patients when served in red colored dining wares.
Medical ID Bracelet
When it comes to dementia patients, an accessory such as a bracelet can hold important information in the event of an emergency. Whether they have wandered away or have any medical need while a caregiver is not immediately available, these bracelets contain information such as the wearer’s health status, their caregiver’s contact, and even medical information.
Wearing matching shirts when you’re out in public with a dementia patient can be both fun and important. As wandering can be a problem, these shirts can have simple information printed on them that can help people identify the wearer’s companion
As a person’s dementia progresses to this stage, they will be fully depended on their caretaker to fulfill their every need. Some individuals become increasingly violent due to their confusion, while others may become docile and reclusive. Other symptoms during the late stages of dementia include:
- Unable to eat and swallow properly
- Unable to change position or move around without assistance
- Considerable weight gain or weight loss—some eat too much because they forget that they’ve already eaten, while others eat too little because they think they’ve already eaten
- Gradual loss of speech
- Severe memory problems—long- and short-term memory
Adaptive Clothing for Incontinence & Undressing
Comfort is of the utmost importance during the last stage of dementia progression. The Bear Hug Onesies are designed for that reason specifically. It lessens the burden on the caregiver by zipping in the back. It reduces agitation while dressing. In addition, these onesies are suitable for those who are transitioning to incontinence, those that are bedridden, or those that undress themselves at unwanted times.
Therapy dolls help those with dementia feel useful and needed. It gives them something positive to focus on. Similar to soft toys, hugging and caring for these dolls provide them with comfort. It can also ease their feelings of isolation and sadness. This is a great gift for those who become withdrawn or nervous as their illness progresses.
These quilts come with numerous sensorial gadgets that are can be used to sooth and alleviate stress, while stimulating memory and awareness. They can be effective in keeping a person occupied when restless and help them feel secure and relaxed. The quilt itself can be made from a variety of materials and textures.
If you’re loved one has a tendency of wandering off, the this is another item that can benefit both the caregiver and care receiver. These trackers come with a range of provisions. Some simply keep track of where your loved is going, while more advanced ones provide a comprehensive view of the wearer’s activities. The tracker comes in models that can either be worn or attached to clothing.
Colorful Blocks and Boards
During the last stage of dementia, simple blocks and boards of various colors can provide the patient with much needed entertainment. It can occupy their time well by exercising their attention. By having an activity to do, the person’s mood swings and agitation may be reduced considerably.