As another year of uncertainty draws to a close, it’s important to spend time with loved ones. Quality time with others can do wonders for your mental health. While concerns about COVID-19 linger, the holidays might need to be celebrated a little differently again this year.

Fortunately, one favorite holiday tradition can easily be modified to accommodate a busy family caregiver’s schedule: gift giving. Online shopping can be a quick, safe solution that allows you to avoid large crowds and potential exposure to the coronavirus.

Gift Ideas for a Senior with Dementia

Caregivers, especially those caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, were primarily using online shopping long before the virus appeared. Last year’s holiday shopping season set records for online purchases. This trend shows no sign of slowing.

One new challenge this year is the backlog in shipping. From the U.S. Postal Service to UPS and Federal Express, expect your packages to take longer to arrive. So, our first piece of advice is to get your online orders in this week.

Here are a few suggestions on what to gift a loved one with dementia this holiday season:

  1. Comfortable clothing and shoes

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, people often have difficulty manipulating buttons and zippers. Easy-to-wear, comfortable clothes are a good gift idea that allows the senior to maintain a sense of independence. You’ll want to keep the following tips in mind as you select clothing for your loved one:

  • Avoid anything with small buttons, zippers, or ties. People with Alzheimer’s disease often have trouble manipulating them.
  • Items that pull on and off are best. A jogging suit, pants with elastic waistbands, and button-free tops are best.
  • Shoes can also be difficult for a senior struggling with coordination. Slip-on shoes and sneakers with Velcro are good options.

This online store caters to those with arthritis and other physical challenges that make dressing more difficult. You might find it useful.

  1. Arts and crafts projects

Arts and crafts projects boost the spirits, and not just for those with dementia. The very act of creating brings peace and contentment. Art is even used as therapy in settings such as hospice centers and hospitals.

Craft stores like Joann and Michaels offer online shipping options for most of their products. You’ll find arts and crafts projects ranging from stepping stone kits to bookmark-making supplies.

  1. Handmade fidget blanket

Restlessness and fidgeting caused by Alzheimer’s-related anxiety is common as the disease progresses. That’s why you will often see people with Alzheimer’s pulling at their clothes, rubbing their fingers together, scratching their skin, and even pacing around the room.

Another holiday gift idea to consider is a fidget blanket. These blankets have embellishments like ribbons to toy with, loops to pull on, and easy-sliding zippers. They give people with Alzheimer’s something to do with their hands when they can’t be still. Etsy has a variety of vendors offering fidget blankets at prices ranging from $30 to over $100 depending upon size and complexity.

  1. Gift of music

Music engages people at all stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Because the part of the brain that processes music is usually not damaged by the disease until later, people can often remember songs dating back to their childhood.

Other therapeutic benefits linked to music for people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia include:

  • Bringing joy: An upbeat song can boost mood and lift the spirit. With a little prompting, the senior may even clap or dance in their chair.
  • Stimulating memory: Music allows people to reconnect with memories long forgotten. For someone with a memory impairment, that can be quite meaningful.
  • Soothing anxiety: Agitation and anxiety are common in adults with dementia. Peaceful music can help the senior relax and calm down.

As a holiday gift, you can create playlists for your loved one to enjoy. Depending upon the stage of your family member’s disease, you might even consider syncing their phone or device to a Sonos wireless speaker and enabling Alexa so they can request music on their own.

When Is Memory Care Necessary?

Because dementia can be a tough disease for families to manage at home, memory care is a popular solution. These specialized communities help seniors with memory loss live their best quality of life. Call the Heritage community nearest you today to learn more about specialized dementia care at our communities in Michigan and Indiana!