Christmas Shopping is stressful for most of us. Children are pretty easy to shop for since they write their wish list to Santa, and most older children are quite happy to get money or gift cards, but what should we get for our loved ones with Alzheimer’s in a memory-care facility?
The best gift we can give is our time, and the time we spend together should be relaxing, encouraging, and loving. Always be patient, respectful and kind. Get involved in the Christmas activities organized by the facility.
And, although it may not be easy at first to come up with the best gift idea, give it some thought. It is important to choose a present that will put a smile on your loved one’s face, and maybe even a smile of recognition.
The gift has to be meaningful to the Alzheimer’s patient, and that means it should have an element of the past woven in, or something that will stimulate the brain without being so challenging that it is frustrating. Think back to when your loved one was a young adult, or think back to stories they told you about their youth. What were their favorite foods, television shows, songs? Incorporate these items in the gift. For example:
Did your mom love strawberry jam? There are recipes online for jam, and you can make your own and give it to her in a nice mason jar. Alternatively, a local farmer’s market may have a home-made jam that will taste very similar to what your mom enjoyed in her youth.
What were her favorite cookies? Oatmeal? Chocolate Chip? Snickerdoodle? Is there a cherished family recipe you can use to replicate a favorite dessert from her youth? If not, you can find a good recipe online for an old favorite food.
Order a family picture photograph printed on a tea mug to enjoy every day (get a “set” of four, in case one breaks, so there will be others to take its place without causing any distress). Or have a quilt or pillow made of bits of old clothing which belonged to you as a child.
- A soft, velvety, washable throw to offer sensory stimulation.
- A favorite perfume, lotion or soap.
- A music box that plays a favorite melody from long ago.
- Watch old movies and reminisce about the elegant outfits of classic movie stars.
- A soft, fluffy stuffed animal.
- A simple (eight-piece) jigsaw puzzle printed with family photographs.
- Easy coloring books for adults.
- Large-print books.
Remember that in every memory care facility, the staff puts forth all the efforts necessary to involve your loved one in brain-stimulating activities.