10 amazing gifts for people with dementia

My Life Films 16 / 12 / 2021

With Christmas approaching, many of us are getting ready to spend time with our extended network of loved ones, and this often includes buying gifts to celebrate the festive period. However, if you have a loved one with dementia, choosing an appropriate gift can be an additional challenge.

Today, one in fourteen people in the UK over the age of 65 have dementia. According to DementiaStatistics.org, more than half of adults in the UK now know someone who has been diagnosed with the condition, meaning that millions of us will be searching for items to show our appreciation and support of our loved ones living with dementia this year.

Although finding gifts for people with dementia might feel difficult, growing awareness about the things that can help people with the condition live comfortably means that finding the perfect present is now easier than ever.

If you’re looking for ideas for gifts for people with dementia, whether it’s for Christmas, a birthday or another occasion – keep reading to see our top suggestions.

1. A photo book

Let’s start with the simple gifts. The most common symptom of dementia is memory loss, and this can result in distress for both the individual and those close to them, as cherished moments they have shared become harder to remember.

A photo book or album can be a great way to refresh your loved one’s memory and remind them of special moments throughout their life. Nowadays, the options in this category are endless – you can opt for a traditional album of printed photos, a digitally-created book with a range of designs, or even a life story film of fond memories with details from family members. Whatever you choose, this is a thoughtful gift that can prompt reminiscing conversations for years to come.

2. Colouring and activity books

If you’re looking for a small gift for someone with dementia, a colouring or activity book is a great option. Keeping the mind active is vital to promote healthy ageing, but for those with dementia, this is even more important. Activity books with puzzles, crosswords and other simple exercises can maintain brain plasticity, encouraging cell renewal, which promotes healthy mental function.

Adult colouring books, on the other hand, are great tools for reducing anxiety, as well as maintaining manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and other fine motor functions. In fact, some health practitioners have even begun ‘prescribing’ them to boost their patients’ moods through this simple, accessible form of mindfulness.

3. Garden membership

Another key way to promote both mental and physical wellbeing for those with dementia is time spent outdoors. As The Dementia Centre explains, spending time outside relieves stress, boosts the mood and provides an important source of vitamin D – which is vital for everything from maintaining mental health, to strengthening bones.

However, for those with dementia, it can become harder to get motivated to go out for daily walks, so a gift that prompts them to do so could be a brilliant option. The natural world can be deeply soothing for us all – but especially for those with dementia – so a garden membership may be a welcome gift for your loved one.

Try to choose a venue that is easily accessible for the gift recipient (both in terms of transport and accessibility), and one that is also easy to reach for friends and family who could attend with them.

A garden membership gift is not only a thoughtful gift, but also provides an opportunity for you to spend quality time with your loved one, visiting the venue together throughout the year.

4. Low-maintenance plants

However, if going to a garden is unrealistic, an alternative option is to bring greenery into your loved one’s home.

Gifting someone with dementia a houseplant is a brilliant way to bring them a sense of the natural world, creating a calming home environment.

In order to maximise the recipient’s enjoyment of the gift, consider how much care they will be able to give a plant and choose one according to this. Green-fingered individuals may enjoy a plant they can tend to, but it may also be wise to choose something a little more resilient, as memory loss can make regular maintenance more challenging further down the line.

5. My Life TV service

Often, dementia is a condition that can be coupled with decreasing mobility, resulting in more of the individual’s free time being spent indoors. In this case, many people end up spending more time watching TV, but as the condition progresses, it can become more difficult to follow certain content and derive the joy and relaxation that it should bring.

If you’re looking for a gift that will allow your loved one with dementia to relax and unwind all year round, a My Life TV subscription is a fantastic option. My Life TV is the first-ever streaming service with content specifically curated for the cognitive needs of people living with dementia. It can be accessed easily on a full range of devices, and features shows on a range of topics, providing something for everyone.

We should all be able to sit back and watch mood-boosting shows with ease and pleasure – not only for relaxation, but also to keep the brain occupied and learning. This dementia-friendly TV platform is a wonderful resource for keeping loved ones stimulated and connected to the world.

6. Nostalgia-inducing items

One common thread that many people who have family members with dementia note is that they often seem to spend more time focusing on memories from childhood or their earlier years as their condition progresses. In this case, a gift that harkens back to a time that the individual often talks about could bring real joy to the recipient.

Whether it’s a favourite game from their childhood, a painting or framed photo of a fondly-remembered holiday destination, or an old film, gifting something nostalgic can be incredibly comforting for an individual with dementia, as well as encouraging them to engage their memory in a way that they enjoy.

7. Music players

Countless studies have shown that music plays a profound role in stimulating the memory, allowing individuals with various memory loss conditions to recall moments they otherwise might have lost count of. This makes an easy-to-use music player a brilliant gift for people with dementia.

One brilliant example of a simple, effective music player for people with dementia is the Relish radio. This device is specifically designed to enable people living with dementia to listen to their favourite music independently, with three buttons to pre-set to their favourite stations, and a fourth for their own music. All you have to do is pre-programme the radio with your loved one’s chosen channels and a playlist of their favourite songs, and then they will be able to access the tunes that get their feet tapping with the simple press of a button.

8. Communication devices

Communication can become a real challenge, as complex technology becomes more difficult to use. Yet, it is vital that those with the condition are able to stay in touch with friends and family, and contact services, in order to get support when they need it.

So, communications aids can make for a functional gift, making it easier to get in touch with people when needed. Devices like the Doro 780X mobile phone can help individuals with dementia to keep in contact with their loved ones by programming key contacts with three easy speed dial buttons. It also provides an important source of emergency support, with an assistance button that sends an alarm should the owner need support.

9. Relaxation sets

Everyone needs time to relax, but for those with dementia, this can be increasingly important. Memory loss conditions can create a real sense of frustration and anxiety in individuals, as they lose the ability to complete certain tasks and remember information. This means that setting time aside to really unwind is all the more important.

However your loved one likes to relax, there are plenty of presents and gifts sets available to help them do so, from scented candles and bath sets to aromatherapy diffusers and fragranced wheat bags. Many of these gifts are also fantastic for pain relief and healthy sleeping, which are important when managing the symptoms of dementia.

10. Subscription services

When an individual develops dementia, they don’t immediately lose all of their hobbies and passions – it can just become more difficult to enjoy them. For this reason, a subscription gift relating to one of their interests can be a great choice, reminding them to engage with their favourite things on a fortnightly or monthly basis.

From craft kits to micro-gardening subscription sets, to tasting subscriptions, today there are endless choices in this category. So, whatever level of mobility and memory your loved one has – and whatever their interests – you will be able to find a gift that empowers them to enjoy their free time throughout the year.

Ultimately, choosing the perfect gift for your loved one with dementia should be informed in part by similar considerations to those you took before their condition developed. Whilst dementia can involve personality changes, the individual will still retain their identity, and in many cases, things that are important to them are retained in the memory.

So, gifts that appeal to their interests and hobbies will often still be received warmly – it may simply be a case of finding items that help your loved one to adapt to the symptoms that their diagnosis presents whilst still enjoying the important things in their life.

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