23 Thoughtful & Helpful Gifts for Seniors With Dementia

Dec 19, 2023

Embarking on the quest to discover the ideal gift for your older loved one with dementia is a journey marked by love, consideration and the desire to create meaningful moments. When you’re looking for the perfect gift for your loved one, you’re looking for a balance of practicality, sentimentality, and joy.

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Keeping your loved one’s health in mind can help guide you toward gifts that can offer experiences that soothe their senses or stimulate their minds, all while providing them with a meaningful gift that they can enjoy.

Take a look at these 23 gifts for dementia patients to get inspired and find the perfect gift for your loved one.

Gifts for People in Early-Stage Dementia

If your loved one has recently received Alzheimer’s or another dementia diagnosis they may be experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Memory Loss: Mild forgetfulness and difficulty recalling recent events or information
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Challenges in focusing on tasks or following a conversation
  • Changes in Communication: Struggling to find the right words or expressing thoughts coherently
  • Mood Swings: Unexplained shifts in mood, from confusion and frustration to moments of clarity
  • Impaired Judgment: Making decisions that seem out of character or demonstrate poor judgment

When your loved one has the beginning stage of dementia, you can opt for items that are comforting, stimulating, and tailored to their current cognitive abilities. Below is a list of thoughtful gifts.

  1. Comfortable Clothing

    Soft, comfortable clothing with easy closures (e.g., Velcro, elastic) for ease of dressing. This takes away the possibility of getting frustrated with buttons, laces or zippers, and ensures your loved one can get dressed in clothes that won’t bother them throughout the day.

  2. Sensory Items

    Fidget blankets or sensory lap pads with different textures and items to touch and manipulate give your loved one an activity and coziness all in one. Even if they’re not meant as a fidget item, a cozy blanket or shawl for warmth and comfort can give your loved one something soft to touch throughout the day.

  3. Music and Audio

    Consider making them a personalized playlist or getting music from their favorite era. You can also opt for audiobooks of their favorite stories or novels.

  4. Memory Aids

    A memory journal or  simple daily planner are great gifts that can help them keep track of important events and appointments. You can also provide labeled albums with photographs to help trigger and preserve memories.

  5. Adaptive Technologies

    A simplified TV remote with large buttons or a digital photo frame that automatically displays rotating pictures can help your loved one enjoy technology without difficulty.

  6. Calming and Aromatherapy

    Provide a relaxing experience with an essential oil diffuser with calming scents.

  7. Gentle Exercise Tools

    Maintaining mobility and strength can help your loved one’s physical and mental well-being. Resistance bands for light exercise can give your loved one a simple way to keep an active routine.

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  8. Simple Games

    A large-piece jigsaw puzzle with familiar images or board games with simple rules and large pieces can be a great source of entertainment for your loved one.

  9. Amazon Alexa

    A smart speaker like Amazon Alexa can give your loved one a great tool to ask questions, receive appointment reminders, and have many entertainment options at their fingertips.

  10. Coloring Books

    Simple adult coloring books with large patterns can provide your loved one with entertainment, and they can feel proud about their finished picture.

  11. Scented Lotions 

    During the winter, it’s easier to develop dry skin. Having a scented lotion can create a soothing experience that also helps your loved one take care of their skin in the colder months.

  12. Social Interaction Tools 

    Provide memory card games for social engagement – whether they’re playing with friends or with you and other family members. You can also gift a simple conversation starter book with prompts to facilitate communication.

    Remember to consider your loved one’s individual preferences and interests when selecting gifts, and focus on items that bring comfort, joy and a sense of connection. Additionally, spending quality time together is often the most meaningful gift you can give.

    Gifts for People in Middle-Stage Dementia

    In the middle stage of dementia, symptoms become more pronounced and may include:

    • Communication Challenges: Difficulty finding the right words, struggling to follow or join in on a conversation and repeating statements or questions
    • Behavioral Changes: Increased confusion and disorientation, Changes in sleep patterns, such as nighttime restlessness, agitation, anxiety or irritability.

    As dementia progresses to the middle stage, it’s important to choose gifts that provide comfort, engagement and sensory stimulation. Below is  a list of gifts for individuals in the middle stage of dementia.

  13. Non-Slip Socks and Slippers

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    Non-slip socks or slippers with grips allow your loved one to move more safely while staying warm.

  14. Digital Devices

    A simplified tablet with preloaded apps for games, music, and video calls can help your loved one stay engaged and connected.

  15. Therapeutic Activities

    A therapeutic massage pillow or blanket can give your loved one a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.

  16. Sensory Art Supplies

    If your loved one loves art, you can look into supplies like sculpting clay for tactile and creative expression, large, easy-grip paint brushes and washable paints for art therapy.

  17. Memory Enhancement Tools

    Create a personalized memory box with meaningful items and mementos that you can go over with your loved one and reminisce.

  18. Adaptive Kitchen Tools

    Easy-grip utensils and adaptive tableware can help your loved one have a more independent dining experience.

  19. Nature-Inspired Elements

    An indoor tabletop fountain can give your loved one a soothing visual and auditory experience. You can also get them artificial plants or flowers for a touch of nature indoors.

  20. Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock

    A sunrise simulation alarm clock creates a calm, pleasant environment for your loved one to wake up and be ready for the day.

    As with earlier stages, the emphasis should be on providing comfort, sensory stimulation and opportunities for engagement. Be attentive to your loved one’s preferences and needs, and consider activities that bring them a sense of joy and connection.

    Gifts for People in Late-Stage Dementia

    When selecting gifts for a loved one in the late stage of dementia, it’s crucial to prioritize comfort, sensory stimulation and a sense of familiarity. Individuals in this stage may have more limited cognitive and physical abilities, so the focus should be on items that provide comfort and a connection to positive memories. Below is a list of thoughtful gifts for someone in the late stage of dementia.

  21. Memory Book

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    Sensory memory books with textures, fabrics, and familiar scents can be a great source of comfort for your loved one.

  22. Familiar Tastes

    Give your loved one special treats or snacks they have enjoyed throughout their life for a unique gift. You can also include comforting beverages, such as herbal teas or warm cocoa.

  23. Interactive Dolls or Stuffed Animals

    Lifelike dolls or stuffed animals can give your loved one comfort and companionship

Remember that your loved one may have varying levels of responsiveness, so it’s important to observe their reactions and adjust the environment accordingly.

Tailor the gifts to their personal preferences, and always prioritize creating a soothing and supportive atmosphere. Additionally, the presence of loved ones and the provision of gentle, caring interactions can be the most meaningful gift in this stage.

Charter Senior Living

If there’s a loved one in your life with dementia or memory loss, Charter Senior Living can help. With many communities offering Assisted Living and Memory Care, we’re here to help your loved one live their best life. Find a community near you today.