It’s that time of year, folks. The holidays are upon us! And you know what that means…it is the time to give, the time to rack your brain to find the perfect gift for your spouse, partner, teenage child. But what about your elderly loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia? Is gift-giving the same for these family members? Some would say, ”Sure! Why not?”. But, when you stop to think about it, wouldn’t these members of your family benefit from a gift that helps combat the struggles they may be facing due to their diminishing memory and functioning? You may not have put a lot of thought into it before but there are things that you can purchase or even make to help make their lives a bit easier that will also bring joy this holiday season.
Depending on the stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia that your loved one is in, they may not even be aware that the holidays have arrived this year. Making it a tradition every year of getting the family together, exchanging gifts and having dinner together can jog a long lost memory of holidays past when the whole family was together doing the same thing. It brings attention to the fact that a holiday is being celebrated and can provide a little dose of reality to a person whose everyday reality may be a bit foggy. A perfect gift for this type of occasion is a game that can be played by everyone. Maybe it’s a game that will bring back memories of playing with the grandkids when they were younger or maybe it’s a game that stimulates your loved ones brain or perks up their senses. Stimulating and exercising the brain is a great way to regain some lost functioning and can help to slow down the loss of function that accompanies these diseases.
Another type of gift to consider is one that will help make their lives a little easier. If daily living activities have become more difficult there are many items out there to help. If, for instance, your loved one has trouble remembering phone numbers, a picture telephone with peoples’ faces instead of numbers on the keys is a great way to help them. Just press the picture of the person you are trying to reach and the phone dials them. Think about the freedom something this small can offer your loved one. No more struggling to remember numbers and no more frustration when they can’t. Anything that helps them maintain any bit of independence is a gift worth giving. At a time when their independence may be fading fast this is a priceless gift.
Other gifts to consider are memberships to the gym or even art or music therapy. Staying strong mentally and physically are just more ways to combat Alzheimer’s and dementia. Again, getting that brain working by using all parts of it is a great thing and practicing art and music therapy is definitely a way to do that.
Finally, a super meaningful but free gift to give those with this often debilitating disease is a memory book or scrapbook. Gather together old photos that evoke memories of happy times with loved ones and compile them into something as simple as a small photo album to something as elaborate as a homemade scrapbook. It’s up to you! Have fun with it. And rest assured that this small token will be something that your loved one cherishes.
Happy holidays and good luck finding that perfect gift!
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