For family members and caregivers of individuals living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, the holidays are always bittersweet. In a season devoted to gift-giving and celebration, it can be hard when your loved one is overwhelmed by, or on the other hand oblivious to, all the fun around them.
While the festivities may look different than in years past, you can still get caught up in the excitement of finding that perfect gift for your loved one—a gift that enhances their safety, offers comfort or stimulates their mind:
A picture phone
As we grow older, we all tend to remember faces, but forget names. A Memory Picture Phone allows you to put 10 photos of family members or friends into a landline phone, so when your loved one needs to reach somebody, they’re just one push away. Your mom or dad no longer has to try to remember phone numbers or hunt down a phone book.
Tremors or weakness caused by dementia or other health conditions can make eating independently feel impossible. Liftwear silverware adapts to your loved one’s hand motions to keep the fork or spoon stabilized and level, ensuring the senior in your life can enjoy every bite without the need for assistance.
A simple way to hydrate
In the later stages of dementia, patients often don’t recognize they’re thirsty, and the resulting dehydration can lead to severe health issues. An Ulla hydration reminder attaches to any size bottle and tracks when your loved one drinks throughout the day. If they forget to drink, Ulla will begin blinking and/or vibrating to remind the patient it’s time to take a sip.
Studies have found that music can relieve agitation and anxiety in those with dementia as well as help them recall certain memories and better connect with others. The Simple Music Player, for instance, lets you load MP3s of your loved one’s favorite songs into a simple-to-use music box. Seniors can simply lift the lid to start the music and close it to stop. Another option is the Arthur Bear, a cozy teddy bear that offers both cuddle therapy and the ability to play hundreds of tunes when you press his paw.
A fiddle blanket
Up to 20 percent of patients with dementia also struggle with anxiety. A texture-rich fiddle blanket or “busy blanket” offers the sensory stimulation seniors need when they feel overwhelmed. Loaded with embellishments like zippers, buttons, reversible sequins, and toggles, the blanket keeps your loved one’s hands and mind busy so they don’t they don’t rub their skin, pull at their clothing or hair, or twist their fingers when frustration sets in.
A companion animal
Cats and dogs are proven to help alleviate stress and depression in their human friends, but seniors in later stages of dementia are unable to provide their pets with the care they require. Therapy stuffed animals that offer interaction can soothe and comfort your loved one. For instance, a Perfect Petzzz breathes like a real dog or cat and “curls” up in the senior’s lap, stimulating that nurturing instinct all humans have, regardless of their condition. A Joy for All companion pet responds to petting, hugging and motion, which lowers the impact of isolation and encourages conversation.
Someone to rely on when you’re not there
Even when you can’t be at your loved one’s home, there’s always someone they can turn to when they feel lonely or confused. The GeriJoy Companion tablet connects to a real-life caregiver 24/7 who can engage your mom or dad in conversation, remind them to take their medication or eat a meal, and share family photos provided by you. Their companion also summarizes their discussion and records health metrics to alert you if there are any issues you or your loved one’s healthcare provider need to address.
Find other suggestions for that perfect gift
One of the best ways to create a holiday gift list for your loved one is to ask their home health care provider their recommendations. Because they understand where your mom or dad is cognitively and have connections to other healthcare providers, they can suggest gifts that best engage your loved one no matter what stage of dementia they’re in.