Depending on what stage of dementia your loved one is experiencing, they may have various needs or capabilities. Someone in the early stages will likely value the same gifts or experiences they had previously cherished. But when their condition changes, they may find comfort in new ways or benefit from services over items.
Personalizing a gift can make it meaningful. It may be a custom-made item or something you know will comfort them. Whether your loved one is living in a residential or memory care community, the best gifts always come from the heart.
Before you add an item to your shopping list or schedule time to craft a homemade original, consider your loved one’s personal needs and health. For example, keeping their minds active with puzzles or activities can be beneficial, but learning a complicated board game or finicky technology can be frustrating.
Consult with their caregivers, medical service providers, or meal planner. They may have a special diet, meaning gifting their old favorite food or wine may be harmful. Suppose they live in a senior living residence. Certain strongly scented items (like perfumes or lotions) can be prohibited because a neighbor has an allergy or medical condition.
Consider their capabilities, physical and mental, when planning your gift. For example, they may love gardening, but getting up and down to reach the flowerbed is too strenuous. Instead, modify your gift to make their experience more manageable and set them up for success.
People with dementia can have a hoarding tendency. Collecting a few things can help them feel comfortable, but excess clutter can be a safety hazard. When your parent or loved one has limited living space (or has an extensive collection already), try a kind gesture rather than a physical item.
Kind gestures can be physical items, like an organizational container for photos or collectibles. On the other hand, the gesture might be in the moment or something supporting their daily life.
Examples of kind gestures you can gift include:
- Digitizing handmade memorabilia (including childhood art)
- Edible gift basket (fruit, coffee, charcuterie)
- Framing or creating an album for photos & art
- Organizing their keepsake or collectibles
- Performing their favorite song, scene, or poem
- Reading together (out loud or a book discussion)
- Writing a letter (handwritten or typed)
Activities & Events
Giving your loved one your full, undivided attention is meaningful. Spending time and bonding with your parent is more than a gift—it’s also healthy. People need connections to feel like they belong. Social relationships boost mental and physical health, improving sleep, cognitive function, and mood.
Your time together can be active or quiet, short or long. It’s crucial to avoid overstimulation, as it can be overwhelming or exhausting for people with dementia. The skill level required can vary depending on their capabilities. You can introduce new games or projects, but pay attention to facial or body gestures for signs they’re enjoying the challenge.
- Crafting (art project, painting, building a birdhouse)
- Family meal (cooking together or dining out)
- Game or trivia night (with friends or family)
- Outdoor activities (walking, picnic)
- Manicure or pedicure (professional or at home)
- Watching a movie or TV show
- Spa treatment or massage (professional or at home)
Gifts can be for a special occasion, a celebration of success, or something to show appreciation. Giving your parents or loved ones everyday items means the gift will be used and make a difference in their daily life. They may feel most comfortable with familiar items, but trying something new for simple items can be worth a shot.
Everyday items you can gift include:
- Bath or shower gift baskets (shampoo, condition, soap)
- Cozy bathrobe & bath towel set
- Charging station (to reduce cord clutter)
- Flowers or wreaths (real, artificial)
- House slippers or socks with grippers (to reduce falls or slips)
- Lotions for hands or body
- Personalized cup, mug, or water bottle
- Toiletry gift basket (toothpaste, electric toothbrush)
- Weighted blanket (promote comfort & reduce anxiety)
There’s sometimes a stigma against gift cards or certificates. Some people wonder if a gift card is impersonal. Rest assured, a gift certificate can be personal! It also provides a bonus gift: the agency to choose. The choice may be simple, whether you go to the restaurant Wednesday or Friday or which book they download to their e-reader.
Gift certificates are available for a broad range of activities, experiences, and items. The first option is to personalize it with something of interest to them, such as basing your pick on a preferred hobby or cuisine. The second option is to find something you can enjoy together, so you’re giving them your time on their schedule.
You can also DIY a gift certificate when you want to be extra creative. For example, children sometimes give their parents a personalized coupon book, and parents can redeem a coupon for helping with the dishes or watching a movie of their choice. Crafting a voucher or certificate can allow your loved one to redeem their gift later.
The Gift of Memory Care
Finding a place where your loved one feels safe and supported can be a gift. You may gift a kind gesture to make their space work better for their needs. Or, they may benefit from a community with a team dedicated to their care.
Your loved one deserves more than a place to live or services supporting their physical health. Providing meaningful experiences, human connections, and personalized care can help ensure they live life to the fullest. Our memory care team at Fox Trail South River strives to help residents feel safe and cared for while enjoying what they love most.Visit our community today or contact us to learn more about our memory care program.