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Stroke: Risk Factors, Treatment, Prevention & Recovery with Stanford Health Care & Stroke Comeback Center
Meet & Greet with Suzanne Coyle, Stroke Comeback Center
Wednesday, June 26th 6pm-7:30pm. Don’t Miss Out: RSVP Today HERE!
Open Mobile Menu
holidays with dementia

Joyful Visits & Gifts: Make Spirits Bright for Your Loved One with Dementia This Holiday Season

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“. 

This event was led by Melissa Long from Insight Memory Care Center, offering expert advice on dementia-friendly gift ideas and strategies to improve connection during the festive season. 

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.

Limited guests

Limit the number of people interacting with your loved one at one time. Smaller, more intimate gatherings can be less confusing and more enjoyable.

Familiar music

If music is played, opt for softer, familiar tunes that can be soothing rather than disorienting.

Incorporate routine 

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. 

  1. Customized photo albums: A collection of familiar faces and cherished memories
  2. Sensory blankets: Textured blankets or mats with different fabrics and activities for fidgeting
  3. Simple puzzles: Jigsaw puzzles with larger, easy-to-handle pieces
  4. Music boxes: Playing tunes from their favorite era
  5. Aromatic lotions or soaps: Gentle, familiar scents that are not overpowering
  6. Art supplies: For creative expression, such as non-toxic paints and large brushes
  7. Comfortable clothing: Soft, easy-to-wear clothes with minimal buttons or zippers
  8. Audiobooks: Recordings of classic novels or stories they enjoyed
  9. Digital picture frames: Continuously displaying a slideshow of family photos
  10. Gardening kits: For those who enjoy nature, consider simple indoor gardening options
  11. Large print books: For ease of reading
  12. Stuffed animals or dolls: Can provide comfort and a sense of nurturing
  13. Customized calendars: Featuring family photos and large, readable dates
  14. Soothing sound machines: With nature sounds for relaxation
  15. Weighted blankets: For comfort and anxiety reduction
  16. Simple board games: Adapted for their cognitive level
  17. Memory phones: With photos and names for easy dialing
  18. Laminated family trees: With pictures and names for easy recognition
  19. Personalized storybooks: Featuring stories or events from their life
  20. Aroma diffusers: With mild and soothing scents
  21. Simple craft kits: Engaging, yet easy to complete
  22. Large-button remote controls: For easier use of entertainment devices
  23. Cozy slippers: Non-slip and comfortable
  24. Coloring books with large patterns: For relaxation and motor skill engagement
  25. Guided meditation recordings: To promote calmness and well-being
  26. 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:

  1. Complicated gadgets: Anything with complex instructions or too many buttons
  2. Loud or unexpected noise makers: Can be startling or confusing
  3. Small, intricate objects: These can be a choking hazard or hard to manipulate
  4. Fragile items: Glassware or delicate ornaments that can easily break
  5. Candles or open flames: Due to safety concerns
  6. Items with small, removable parts: Can be lost easily or pose a safety risk
  7. 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

  1. Keep the same routine: Align celebrations with your loved one’s daily routine, considering their meal, medication, and rest schedules.
  2. 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.
  3. Plan with them ahead of time: Discuss event plans a week or a couple of days prior, providing clear, simple details to reduce anxiety.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Experience our compassionate care for yourself and your loved one—reach out to The Kensington Falls Church. 

We’re ready and waiting for your call.

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