Holiday Gift Ideas for Older Adults and People Living With Dementia
Carol Bradley Bursack | Dec 1, 2017
As people age they generally become hard to buy gifts for, often because they are in the process of weeding through their belongings and need so little. Also, many have issues with their health ranging from arthritic pain to cognitive disorders which influence what they can use. Still, we want to include them in holiday giving. What to do? Here are some practical, but still enjoyable, ideas. (Prices are not included, as some products may vary depending on retailer you choose.)
A dress shirt without the hassle
MagnaReady® is the original magnetic shirt company. These shirts eliminate the need for people to fiddle with buttons on cuffs, collars and shirt fronts. The wearers slide their arms into the sleeves and the closures take care of the rest. Shirts are available in short and long sleeve versions for men, and long sleeves for women. MagnaReady® shirts can be used as adaptive clothing for people with disabilities or limited mobility, or anyone else who appreciates easy dressing. See more.
Sport pants make incontinence changes easy
CareZips® is an innovative unisex pant with three specially positioned zippers allowing the front to open to the knees for abdominal access to help handle adult incontinence, wound care, bags or rehab. The pants are extremely helpful for caregivers, nurses, and people who are wheelchair-enabled. Many sizes and colors are available, and they can be worn out and about or as pajamas. Easy wash-and-wear. A video on the site shows how they work. See more.
Heat treatment for chronic pain
The Renue® Neck Wrap, made by Sunbeam®, can provide soothing relief for back, shoulder and neck pain, common areas for tension as well as arthritis and injuries. The wrap drapes around the neck and upper shoulders to deliver “therapeutic, relaxing heat” directly to areas of stress and pain. The soft, washable, fabric wrap is slightly weighted on the ends to keep it in place with a magnetic fastening in front. I’ve had one of these for two years to treat an old neck injury and like it. See more.
Encourage elders with reminiscing and storytelling
PicLink is a multi-game set of 36 tiles designed specifically for use by people with cognitive and memory impairment. The tiles show photographic images meant to spark memory, encourage conversation, and promote interaction. These tiles work for groups of seniors in a care setting or between care partners at home, or when someone is visiting a care facility. One goal is to encourage creativity through storytelling. See more.
Finally, a simple-to-work TV remote!
One of a caregiver’s great laments is that TV remotes are too complicated for their elders who are living with dementia, or for elders with eye issues or simply no patience for technology. I went all over our city years ago looking for a simple remote for my dad and never did find one that was satisfactory. This Flipper is ingenious. Small buttons for programming are hidden with only the ones your elder needs visible. A video on the site shows how it works. See more.
Personalized Talking Tiles
Talking Tiles are multitaskers that could work as reminders for the whole family. Use to record and play back 80 seconds of speech, music or sound effects through the built-in microphone and speaker. Tiles include a removable clear cover that allows you to create pictures, symbols or words to match your recordings. Put near a door to remind you to remember the keys. These would work for medication reminders, or audio/visual cues to shut off stove, etc. See more.
Lap pad for entertainment and comfort
The BusyBee lap pad is a two-in-one product. Many people who live with dementia need to keep their hands busy. Rather than watching them aimlessly tear tissues, consider the BusyBee — a lap pad with safe attachments for sensory feedback that also performs as a comforting weighted pad that can sooth agitation. Attachments are removable for easy cleaning. The gel pad that provides the weight can provide another activity when removed from the cover. See more.
Simple music player resembles old radio
The Simple Music Player was designed to engage someone living with dementia through music. Visually, it resembles an old style radio. Controls are large and simple. Music plays when the lid is lifted. Family members or caregivers set the volume. The songs are selected and downloaded via a USB link from a Windows, Apple or Linux PC. This is another product I’d have loved for my dad. He loved big band music but someone else had to run the player. See more.
Create your own puzzle with family photo
A personalized jigsaw puzzle could be an exciting gift for people living with dementia. Many of them forget names but still remember faces. For these puzzles, the purchaser would provide a personal image of family, friends, pets or wedding and Active Minds produces a jigsaw puzzle tailored to the individual. This gift could create a meaningful reminiscence activity that stimulates conversation for everyone. Look for “personalized puzzles” on the side menu. See more.
Browse sites for more
People don’t need to have dementia to want a simple remote or a shirt without buttons. They may just like simplicity. Younger people could use the heat wrap after a workout. The Alzheimer’s sites have many items for different levels of activity, so use these links as a chance to browse. Some of the products may be available from more than one source, thus providing price alternatives. I hope that, when using this guide, you’ll find that shopping for elders isn’t as hard as you thought.