If they're in a facility - as the people there, they're full of ideas
if the person is female and home and early to mid stage - a gift certificate to get their hair and nails done is great if they can still be taken out. If they are housebond, you may be able to ask a local beauty shop if they come to the home and would possibly do it there.
if the person is male and can go out -- a certificate for them and the caregiver for a dinner would be nice and if the person can be taken out.
If not taken out then a dinner ordered and brought in -- possibly through a caterer is welcomed.
OR just visiting and giving respite to the caregiver serves two gifts in one.
You get to give the gift of yourself to the dementia patient and provide welcomed relieft for a short time to the caregiver.
It does help to know what stage of dementia the patient is in. Mom enjoyed jigsaw puzzles for a while. They got progressively simpler over the years until she was no longer able to do this. For her birthday this year I gave her a baby doll. She had attached to one with no shirt on that bothered Dad so now she has a new one with a cute little onesie on. For some reason Dad has retained the ability to play checkers... and beat you every time. So he got a new checker board because Mom has moved his old one until she had lost most of the pieces. If they are wheel chair or bed bound a soft lap quilt is good. Socks are always needed because the laundry eats them. A meal is always welcome if they are at home and even in a facility if it's conforms with their diet and is something special they really enjoy. As a special treat I will take Dad a sloppy cheeseburger and watch his eyes light up. Just be sure to check with whoever regularly feeds them. So much depends on the person, their likes and dislikes, and where they are in their dementia.
But the best gift of all is the gift of your time. A visit with a cheerful smile can always brighten their moment. They may not remember it after you leave but in the moment you make them happy and they will carry that feeling with them. Beyond that many have really lost the need for things but the need for companionship never goes away.
If you could tell us the state of dementia and how well you know the patient, it would help with the suggestions.
My mother lost all interest or attachment to objects, she would look at the flowers or jewelry or teddy bear once and then look away without reaction.
But up until the time she stopped processing food, she still enjoyed eating. Good presents were edible - cake, chocolate, fudge, applesauce, etc. Things that didn't need moch chewing, since the last year or so she had trouble swallowing.
Your presence is a better gift than anything else. When I visited her at the NH, I sang old folk songs with her. I have a terrible singing voice but that didn't matter - Mom joined in on many songs, even though her memory for other things was gone. She smiled and enjoyed it.
My MIL lives with us. Last year I worked very hard to get her nice gifts that would make her feel she was a part of our celebration, since it was her first Christmas with us. She had told me a number of times that she needed a new handbag, one that was bigger. I knew she didn't really need a new one, but if she wanted one, that was fine. I went to the local Goodwill and got her 6 new ones with tags still on, all different colors and sizes. I got her a number of other gifts, too, but when we asked her what her favorite gift was, she burst into a huge smile and said, "the purses!" Guess what? She never used a single one! She's continued to use her same old one through the past year. One of her gifts this year will be the nicest of the purses from last year, which are all still in a drawer in her bedroom. I took one out a few months ago. She won't know it's one that she got last year.
I also got her some pretty sweaters last year. She loved those and wore them often, which wasn't her choice, since I lay out her clothes, but she did like them. I've already gotten her a few special sweaters again for this year, plus one that I'm giving her again this year from last year. She hasn't seen it since last spring, so I'm sure she won't remember it. One of the most used gifts I gave her last year was those little thick footies. I give her a pair every night to wear over her socks to sleep. She always says her feet are cold, and these have been an excellent solution.
I gave her a piece of jewelry for her birthday, which she fondled and grinned over, but put in a drawer and never took out of its box again. She'll get it again for Christmas.
I hope it doesn't sound heartless to give her her own things again. It seems so wasteful to spend money on things that she won't remember, use, or appreciate. We can make her a part of our celebration and she'll have a wonderful day, but her gifts will be very practical: things she'll like but no money wasted!
Emily... I am guilty as well!! Spring a year ago Mom complained that she never got any new clothes. So I went to Goodwill. There were lots of top name brand petites in that store. I selected some name brands she would recognize, boxed them up, and mailed them to her. She was THRILLED!! I also found a really pretty Christmas sweater and gave it to her before Christmas so she could wear it during the holidays. I will give it to her again after Thanksgiving and watch her delight.
Rather than a lot of presents on a specific day I tend to bring Mom things randomly. I gave her a cute pink sweat suit when the weather changed. Ok, so it came from a consignment shop, it was so cute on her. She will pick it out to wear every day it is in the closet and not in the laundry. I have gradually replaced her structured jackets and pants with elastic waste and pull over tops. The one thing I did that thrilled her the most, was sew the button closures of her pink sweaters together. Now she can wear them by slipping them over her head and doesn't have to worry about buttons that come undone. She LOVES her pink!!! That is why I said it's about the person and what they enjoy, connect to, and where they are in the disease.
Just today I hit the bargain rack at a local department store and found several pieces of jewelry reduced to a dollar or two. There is a dressing table in the hall where the facility puts that sort of thing. Mom walks around with a different necklace on just about every day. The caregivers just put them back on the dressing table when they are found laying around.
So yep, I bargain hunt, shop at resale and consignment shops, and regift regularly!
My wife has Alzheimer's and I am her caregiver. I am 80 years old and find it hard to go shopping. Last year for Christmas I wrote a letter to my 4 children and 8 grandchildren informing them that I was giving a substancial gift to Alz Assoc in their name instead of gifts for them. They all thought this was a great idea.
Paul, that was really a wonderful gift. I love the idea. I may do that this Christmas instead of packing and mailing gifts (some of my family members live overseas.) In memory of Mom/Grandma, this will go to good use.
Welcome to the group Paul. I agree that it's a great idea and something we have done. For many years the sisters have given to a charity in sister's name we draw in stead of a gift. A donation is always a good idea.
I'm with Diane... I do hope you have help with your wife. Mom was Dad's caregiver until she developed ALZ. I know it was difficult on her. I would love to hear some background information on you and your wife.
Again welcome Paul and I will keep you and your wife in my thoughts and prayers.
I appreciate all of your interest in my suggestion and in my welfare. To give you a little background about me and my wife. We have been married 56 years, she was diagnosed 8 years ago. We lived in our own home the first 5 years. We have lived in a assisted living facility for 2 1/2 years, I have help with my wife's dressing, bathing and hygeine, We have 2 daughters who live within 5 minutes of where we are and they are a lot of help. 3 weeks ago my wife fell and broke a pelvic bone is in now in a wheel chair. I can't leave her alone because she tries to get up. She is in the 6th stage of Alz and cannot communicate. At present my health is good, although in the past I have had 4 angioplasties, By-pass surgery, prostrate cancer surgery 10 years ago, radiation 2 years ago and now have COPD. Other than that I am in great health and have a great attitude. To all caregivers I wish you the best and try to keep a positive attitude no matter how hard it is. Remember a donation to Alz Assoc. will hasten the find for a cure.
You sound terrific! And your wife is a blessed woman to have you to love and care for her with this awful disease.
My soon to be 86 year old mother has it and lived at home with my step dad til he died two years ago. He had no idea of how to handle this situation so he kept mom away from family and friends thinking she was crazy and had to be sheltered from all. If only he had taken our suggestion to move to a facility that could have helped them both. They would have both benefitted. Sigh. SHe is now is a wonderful place that cares for her and I am only minutes away and spend time with her daily.