As the holiday season approaches, it’s time to embrace the joy of family gatherings and thoughtful gift-giving. If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, choosing the right gifts can be a delicate balance of joy and practicality, ensuring they bring comfort without overwhelming.
In light of this, The Kensington Falls Church hosted “Making Spirits Bright: Joyful Visits & Gifting for Your Loved One with Dementia“.
Attendees also enjoyed a hands-on demonstration of the latest gifts suitable for those with dementia.
Our promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.
Making joyful visits and special considerations for seniors with dementia
Because people with dementia have sensory issues that can be easily overwhelmed by excessive details, sounds, and lights.
The following are effective strategies and recommendations to ease their interactions for a more enjoyable holiday celebration.
Subdued settings away from the noise
Consider setting aside a quieter room for your loved one, away from the main festivities. This space should be comfortably lit, with minimal decorations to reduce sensory overload.
Limit the number of people interacting with your loved one at one time. Smaller, more intimate gatherings can be less confusing and more enjoyable.
If music is played, opt for softer, familiar tunes that can be soothing rather than disorienting.
Try to maintain their usual routine during holiday festivities as much as possible to provide a sense of security and familiarity.
25+ dementia-friendly gifts that won’t overwhelm your loved one
When selecting gifts for a loved one with dementia, the goal is to evoke positive memories, engage their senses, and maintain their dignity.
- Customized photo albums: A collection of familiar faces and cherished memories
- Sensory blankets: Textured blankets or mats with different fabrics and activities for fidgeting
- Simple puzzles: Jigsaw puzzles with larger, easy-to-handle pieces
- Music boxes: Playing tunes from their favorite era
- Aromatic lotions or soaps: Gentle, familiar scents that are not overpowering
- Art supplies: For creative expression, such as non-toxic paints and large brushes
- Comfortable clothing: Soft, easy-to-wear clothes with minimal buttons or zippers
- Audiobooks: Recordings of classic novels or stories they enjoyed
- Digital picture frames: Continuously displaying a slideshow of family photos
- Gardening kits: For those who enjoy nature, consider simple indoor gardening options
- Large print books: For ease of reading
- Stuffed animals or dolls: Can provide comfort and a sense of nurturing
- Customized calendars: Featuring family photos and large, readable dates
- Soothing sound machines: With nature sounds for relaxation
- Weighted blankets: For comfort and anxiety reduction
- Simple board games: Adapted for their cognitive level
- Memory phones: With photos and names for easy dialing
- Laminated family trees: With pictures and names for easy recognition
- Personalized storybooks: Featuring stories or events from their life
- Aroma diffusers: With mild and soothing scents
- Simple craft kits: Engaging, yet easy to complete
- Large-button remote controls: For easier use of entertainment devices
- Cozy slippers: Non-slip and comfortable
- Coloring books with large patterns: For relaxation and motor skill engagement
- Guided meditation recordings: To promote calmness and well-being
- Bird feeders: To watch nature from a window
11 gifts to avoid for people with dementia
Equally important is knowing what types of gifts to avoid for people with dementia:
- Complicated gadgets: Anything with complex instructions or too many buttons
- Loud or unexpected noise makers: Can be startling or confusing
- Small, intricate objects: These can be a choking hazard or hard to manipulate
- Fragile items: Glassware or delicate ornaments that can easily break
- Candles or open flames: Due to safety concerns
- Items with small, removable parts: Can be lost easily or pose a safety risk
- Alcoholic beverages: If there are health or medication interactions
7 caregiver tips for planning the holidays with your loved one
Caring for a loved one with dementia, especially during festive seasons or family parties, requires thoughtful planning and understanding of their complex needs.
The following are some practical tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable holiday for you, your family, and your loved one with dementia
- Keep the same routine: Align celebrations with your loved one’s daily routine, considering their meal, medication, and rest schedules.
- Work out transportation ahead of time: For assisted living and memory care residents, plan pick-ups during their most alert times, typically morning or early afternoon, and ensure they return before evening to prevent sundowning discomfort.
- Plan with them ahead of time: Discuss event plans a week or a couple of days prior, providing clear, simple details to reduce anxiety.
- Be willing to let them stay home or leave early: Be ready to respect their wish to stay home or leave early from holiday parties, prioritizing their comfort.
- Simplify your home atmosphere: At gatherings, have a quiet space for them in a separate room and keep familiar objects nearby for security. This allows for a space for a break if needed.
- Watch them for signs of discomfort during the party: Watch for signs of fatigue or irritability, suggesting a need for a break or return home.
- Engage them in simple ways: Involve them in easy activities like viewing photo albums, listening to favorite music, or making simple recipes, avoiding over-stimulating environments.
The Kensington Falls Church — holiday joy in dementia care
This holiday season, let The Kensington Falls Church enrich your family’s experience with specialized dementia and Alzheimer’s care.
Discover our world-class assisted living, two levels of memory care, and rehabilitation services.
Stay engaged with us through our upcoming events page and blog for more caregiving tips.
At The Kensington Falls Church, we extend Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own.
We’re ready and waiting for your call.