We gather during the holiday season to express gratitude for what we have, the family we love, the friends we cherish and the blessings to come.

However, it’s important for those with memory loss to maintain familiar and regular schedules to avoid additional anxiety and stress, even during the holiday festivities.  While the time spent together is particularly meaningful, here a few gift ideas to consider if you plan to shop for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia-related illness.

  1. MusicMusic & Memory explains how the therapeutic benefits of music can boost one’s mood while also curbing agitation and stress.  We suggest purchasing CDs for your loved one or even creating a playlist of their old-time favorites on an iPod.  Make it personal!  Music allows your loved one to reminisce.
  2. Clothing:  It’s a good time to ensure that your loved one’s clothing is appropriate for the winter season and cool days ahead.  A nice holiday gift could include warm and comfortable items that are easy to take on and off, such as a fluffy robe or sweat suit.  Consider selecting the piece in their favorite color.
  3. Home Items:  A photo album or annual calendar could feature images of their childhood or teenage years.  If living at home, nightlights that automatically illuminate when it gets dark are helpful and could help to enhance safety as coordination and moving about sometimes become difficult.  Another idea is to purchase a game or large piece puzzle with objects that could be sorted by color or shape.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that you consider the stage of the disease your loved one is in while purchasing gifts.  Gifts should be different for those in the early stages compared to those in the later because the items trigger different sensory experiences.