Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

Best-suited gifts for dementia patients

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If you are someone who is caring for a person with dementia you will recognise how difficult it may be sometimes to do something that pleases them or to offer them something special.

Especially when it comes to getting a gift for someone with dementia, you may feel in limbo as to what may be the most appropriate gift for them - something they will truly appreciate and cherish.

Picking out a gift for a person with dementia is not always the easiest thing to do. There are a lot of questions you might be asking yourself. You may wonder what counts as an appropriate, yet enjoyable gift for a person with dementia? While a person with dementia progressively slips away, they still have certain likes and dislikes which you should acknowledge.

The best way to go about picking a gift for a person with dementia is keeping in mind what they like and they don’t like, choosing something which will bring pleasure to them while also having functionality. We’ve put together a list of the best-suited gifts for dementia patients, whether they are a loved one or a client you care for.

Puzzles are a great way to engage a dementia patient and to keep their mind active. Nowadays, you can find a multitude of dementia-friendly puzzles or ones which are specifically made for people with cognitive issues. You can choose puzzles with larger pieces, as they will be easier to manipulate and will result in easier solving. You should certainly not go for a 2000 piece puzzle! A nice note can be printing a nice picture of a family memory on the puzzle. This will make it even more enjoyable for the dementia patient!

Staying in the realm of games, colouring books are also a great gift idea for a dementia patient for any occasion, whether for their birthday or for Christmas, for instance. Whether holding crayons, markers or paintbrushes this will also improve their motor skills, as well as put a smile on their face.

A medic alert bracelet is one way of keeping a dementia patient safe without them even knowing it! The bracelet can be engraved with the dementia patient’s condition and other medical information such as allergies. This way, in case of an emergency the medical responders will know what to do and won’t put them in danger by administering a drug that may cause adverse reactions for the dementia patient.

An automatic pill dispenser can be another useful gift for someone who suffers from dementia. Remembering to take medication can sometimes be easily forgotten by a dementia patient. However, an automatic pill dispenser can make this easier for them. If you are their carer or family member, you can fill the dispenser with their medication and when the alarm sounds they will be reminded that it’s time for their pills!

Music plays a big role in the treatment of dementia. Online, you can find radio players specifically made for dementia patients. What makes this different from a regular radio player is that it can be operated with just one button which avoids confusion and makes it the easiest radio player to use!

A storybook is one of the best-suited gifts for dementia patients and one that they will certainly cherish forever! This is something that you can put together online or you can put it together yourself, same as you would with a scrapbook! Fill it up with all the photos you can find of the person with dementia as well as little trinkets or memorabilia which you can find. Remembering past memories can boost a person with dementia’s mood considerably. This is something which can be easily reached for whenever they are feeling depressed or agitated.

Another heartfelt gift idea for dementia patients is simply cooking their favourite meal! Whether this is a nice roast or a plate of delicious pasta, putting together something special for them will certainly feel like the best-suited gift for them! This will make them feel loved and cherished and even recount memories, if you choose to cook a meal that they used to have in their childhood or teenage years, for example.

Companion cats are one of the best-suited gifts for dementia patients who love animals, especially if they have had a dearly loved cat in their past. Companion cats are realistic looking cats which have true to life purring, cat-like movements and soft fur. A companion cat can provide the comfort a dementia patient needs wherever they made be feeling stressed or confused.

Choosing the best-suited gifts for dementia patients always seems like a very difficult task because you feel like you can not know what their reaction to the gift might be. Depending on how advanced their dementia is they may not even be able to determine when their birthday is. But making them feel special on their special day will certainly count to them and contribute to their well-being.

The best-suited gifts for dementia patients are always the simplest. Whether you choose to go for something heartfelt or hand-made or you would prefer to buy something with use and functionality for them, it will surely not go unnoticed. Even a smile or a hug from a dementia patient will go a long way.

When choosing the best-suited gift for a dementia patient always remember to keep in mind what their cognitive abilities are. Do not get them something which they cannot use, cannot understand as it will only cause confusion and agitation. Certainly, choose a gift which is fun and engaging, which will comfort their anxiety and agitation - something which they will cherish forever.

And if you need assistance at home with a dementia patient, Guardian Carers is always here to help. You can speak to one of our specialist dementia consultants for advice and no-obligation enquiries.

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