The Unforgettable Gift Guide
Choosing gifts for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia isn’t always easy so if you’re running out of ideas we’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s our top ten bestselling presents.
- 1. Call To Mind Conversation Game
- 2. Day Clock
- 3. Simple Music Player
- 4. Talking Photo Album
- 5. Dementia Jigsaws
- 6. Memory Calendar
- 7. Flipper Big Button Remote Control
- 8. Cosy Clothing
- 9. Companion Pets
- 10. Reminiscence Picture Books
Why are these dementia gifts so special?
There are two main reasons why each of these dementia products are so popular; they either make daily life a bit easier or they bring pleasure and fun. People with dementia still have lots of life to live so if you’re looking for a special gift, here’s a more detailed description of each product in our top ten.
1. Call To Mind Conversation Game
This best-selling dementia board game is designed to spark chats between players. It was invented by dementia carers and developed through research by University College London. It’s an ideal activity for family gatherings that everyone can get involved in.
2. Day Clock
This simple clock can adapt to your needs. Clear and easy to see, you can choose to display either the exact time with date and day, or simplify it just to the day and time of day (morning, afternoon, evening and night). It’s ideal for someone with dementia who gets muddled up with time, and helps reduce agitation and repetitive questions.
3. Simple Music Player
Music is great for reminiscence and sparking conversation, and the vintage style of this simple music player will feel familiar to the elder generation. Just lift the flap to play, press the button to skip and close the flap to stop. It’s that easy. You can add up to 1000 of your own songs to keep it personal, and it comes with five Big Band Songs to get you started
4. Talking Photo Album
Encourage laughter and smiles with the help of this photo album where you can record up to 200 minutes of sound to tie in with each of the 20 pages of pictures. You can record easily at the press of a button, or connect via a USB cable and add favourite songs. It can also be used as a simple reminder or instruction album for everyday items such as the microwave or TV.
5. Dementia Jigsaws
Jigsaw puzzles are a fantastic activity for people with dementia but many mainstream puzzles have complicated pictures and too many pieces, while simpler puzzles have childish images. The Active Minds puzzles come in 13 pieces or 35 pieces, and feature images that could help stimulate conversation and encourage reminiscence.
6. Memory Calendar
Providing a clear indication of the month, year and day, the Memory Calendar is ideal for putting personalised daily reminders on and helping someone with dementia to orientate themselves and prevent confusion.
7. Flipper Big Button Remote Control
It can be so frustrating when all you want to do is turn on the TV or change a channel, but the sheer number of buttons on today’s remote controls can leave you feeling confused about which button does which. This simple remote can be easily programmed to save between 2 and 25 channels which is ideal for modern satellite boxes that have hundreds of channels to choose from. This means that you can change between only the channels they are interested in, instead of having to click for several minutes to locate the correct channel.
8. Cosy Clothing
Feeling the cold can be a common problem during the winter months, particularly for older people who tend to have a weaker circulation so aren’t as good at keeping their body heat up. Helping a loved one feel warm, comfortable and happy is vital for ensuring they stay calm. After all, it’s easy for a person with dementia to feel agitated or distressed if they feel cold, but don’t understand why or aren’t sure how to tell people. Our range of capes, bed jackets and socks are easy to put on, look stylish and attractive, and will ensure a loved one stays comfortable and happy whether they’re pottering around indoors, or heading outside.
9. Companion Pets
While animal therapy has been shown time and again to be beneficial, pets and dementia don't always work out. That’s where these furry puppies can help. They keep that feeling of companionship going thanks to their realistic look and feel. They have a battery-operated mechanism so their stomach will gently rise and fall to imitate a little puppy having a snooze. It’s extremely soothing for someone with dementia to rest a hand on the pet or stroke it and feel this. They come in a range of breeds and animals including Cavalier King Charles and Kitten.
10. Reminiscence Picture Books
Struggling to reach out and make a connection with a loved one with dementia? These picture books are a great way of inspiring conversation and reminiscence. Each book contains beautiful photographs or illustrations, which sit alongside interesting facts, poems or sayings. Themes include pets, travelling, the garden, sport, childhood and the countryside.
Picking a gift – things you need to consider
Practical vs pleasurable?
When buying items that are suitable for people with dementia, you’ll discover there are gifts that can be lots of fun and others that are more practical, but may be equally well received as a gift.
What stage are they at?
The dementia journey is often seen as a series of three stages – early, mid and late. It’s important to think about what stage the person you’re buying for might be at and how that could impact their ability to use or appreciate any gift you give. For example, someone in the early stages may enjoy games or puzzle books as they’re still able to complete them, but someone in the mid or later stages may struggle. Instead, they may respond better to dementia-friendly jigsaws.
What are their interests?
Think about what they enjoyed doing before they developed dementia? Were they a keen gardener? If that’s the case, they will undoubtedly still enjoy doing gardening and being outdoors, but may struggle to dig flowerbeds or shift compost. Instead, they may enjoy sitting at a table potting plants or watering using specially adapted gardening tools.
What NOT to buy
Don’t be tempted to buy children’s toys because they’re simpler and easier for someone with dementia to complete – it can be very demeaning. And while sweets and chocolates may seem an easy choice for someone with dementia, the condition can sometimes cause chewing and swallowing issues, and a big box of chewy sweets or chocolates could pose a choking hazard. Watch out for splashing out on the very latest technology – a flashy phone or TV could be too complicated for them to operate and cause confusion and stress.