Do you have a loved one living with dementia in your life?! Are you having a hard time deciding what type of gift to give them for the holiday season? If so, don’t worry, I’ve rounded up some great holiday gift ideas for women who are living with dementia. It can be so difficult trying to figure out what to get our loved ones! I’m here to share some of my favorite activities, products, and clothing options of some great items I’ve seen and used throughout the years when working with individuals who are living with dementia.
Since the holiday season is approaching, I thought it would be fun to put together a holiday gift guide for your loved one who is living with dementia. Today, I’ll be sharing some gift ideas for women living with dementia. I’ll also break down the gifts by stages of dementia. If you want to learn more about the stages of dementia, click the following links to learn more: early stage, middle stage, late stage.
Early Stage Dementia Holiday Gift Ideas For Women
In early stage dementia, it’s important for that individual to participate in the ‘just right challenge’ activity (an activity that is not too easy and not too hard). It’s important that these activities stimulate the mind, but don’t frustrate that individual. Below, you will see some activities that can be a great idea for women living with early stage dementia. I’ve also included some products that can help those living in early stage dementia. Here are a few activities & products to consider for early stage dementia:
1. Reminiscent Activity
I love finding activities/games that involve both me and the person living with dementia. This reminiscent game is great for addressing coordination, thinking skills, taking turns, problem solving & more!
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2. Painting Birdhouses
Activities that involve focus on one’s creativity are so great for those living with dementia. Focusing on the process, rather than the end result is always something I strive for in dementia care.
These clocks can be a great option for those living in early stage dementia who demonstrate some difficulty remembering the month, day, and year. It can be a great option for those who are frequently asking “What day is it?” “What month is it?” and are wanting some sort of visual reminder to help. My past patients have loved this clock!
Puzzles are one of those activities that my patients love! Even those who have never completed puzzles before find enjoyment in participating. Make sure to speak with their occupational or speech therapist to get an idea of what that individual is able to complete cognitively. Puzzles are another great option that work on cognitive skills and fine motor skills. I will put my favorites below for 100 pieces, 63 pieces, and 35 pieces!
100 Piece Puzzle
63 Piece Puzzle
35 Piece Puzzle
5. Digital Photo Frame
Rotating digital photo frames can be a great item to have in the household to store favorite memories of family members & events! I find they enjoy talking about the photos and some special events they still can reminisce about. If they are at the point in their dementia where they don’t communicate much, this can also be a great option for them to look at the pictures, and you can tell them about the pictures/events.
6. Fun Relaxing Word Search Puzzles/Other Activities
This is a great option to work on cognitive skills like attention & problem solving. This is also great for working on fine motor coordination skills.
Middle Stage Dementia Holiday Gift Ideas For Women
Just like in early stage dementia, we want to be sure to engage those individuals in middle stage dementia in the ‘just right challenge’ activities. It’s important that these activities stimulate the mind, but don’t frustrate the individual. I always focus on the process of the activity, and not the end result. I focus on the fun we are having together. That being said, if they mess up the activity, and make a mistake, I don’t correct them. I find that just can frustrate the person more, and then they may be more reluctant to continue to engage in the activity. Make sure to help start the activity for that person, and continue to help them throughout the activity. Direct supervision should be provided for middle stage and late stage dementia activities. Along with activities, I’ve also included some clothing options for the holidays for those living with dementia. If your loved one enjoys clothing, I’ve also included some fashion favorites that your loved one will enjoy!
1. Lacing Activities
Lacing activities are a great option to work on fine motor coordination, problem solving, attention to task. If the person has grandchildren, you can present the activity and ask them “Can you help me make one of these for the grandchildren?”
Demonstrate the activity and offer your assistance as needed. You can find the lacing activitieshere.
2. Coloring Activities
I have a great coloring book I designed on my website. These are printable coloring book pages, and can be printed out and placed in a book to serve as a reminiscent activity. Even if they don’t want to color, this book of fashion from the 1940s/1950s can serve as something nostalgic y’all can both flip through together and talk about.
You can find it here: https://yourdementiatherapist.com/shop/
3. Shawl From Silverts
Items that are comfortable & functional are so important for those in middle stage dementia. When items are something that individual feels comfortable in, they’re more likely to wear it. A lot of residents will ask for a jacket or a shawl in the nursing homes, as some rooms can be a little cooler than others. This can also make for a great sensory item, as it can keep their hands busy by feeling the soft texture of this shawl while they’re sitting. This can be a great option to have for them in the closet in the Fall/Winter months! This is also a great option for early stage dementia!
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4. Matching Outfit Set
Like I mentioned above, items that are comfortable and functional are so important! This is a fun matching set that looks so cozy:
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5. Watercolor set
This is one of my FAVORITES! An errorless activity they can complete while feeing a sense of accomplishment & purpose is so important! I brought these to a nursing home recently, and everyone loved these (even those who have never painted before). A way I introduce this is: “I can’t wait for you to see what I got for us to do today. Let me show you these.” Try out the activity yourself, and show them how you do it, and then ask them to help you with it.
6. Match the shape set
This is another great activity that can work on fine motor coordination, problem solving, and attention to task. You can find it here.
7. Large 12 Piece Puzzle
I love the large pieces to this puzzle, and I loved that it includes a happy baby! If your loved one enjoys little ones, this will be such a fun activity to work on together.
Depending on the person, babydoll’s can be a great option for those in middle to later stages of dementia to interact with, especially for those who use to be caretakers or enjoyed taking care of kids. Here are few you can check out: African American , Asian , Caucasian boy, Hispanic girl here and here , Caucasian girl.
Late Stage Dementia Holiday Gift Ideas For Women
Late Stage dementia: In late stage dementia, I focus on activities that involve more of a sensory component. This means activities that involve touch, hearing, seeing, smelling. I make sure I incorporate activities they can’t mess up (activities that don’t have a right or wrong way to complete). Direct supervision should be provided for all of these activities, especially one’s that contain small parts!
1. Fidget Sleeve
For those living with dementia who have ‘busy’ hands and you find they’re picking at things, or just want something to keep their hands busy, this can be a great option.
2. Simulated Pets
Simulated pets are such a great option that provide companionship. I’ve seen individuals reach for them to pet them, and I’ve even seen this help spark a few words in the middle and later stages. Here are a few options:
3. Big Picture Books
Picture books can be a great option for you to flip through with them. You can flip through the pictures while they are next to you, and then tell them a story about the pictures. Here are a few options:
4. Lavender Lotion
Although smell can be one of the first things that becomes impaired with those living with dementia (depending on type of dementia), it can be worth a try to utilize these to provide some relaxation. Helping to provide a light, gentle massage to their extremities can be soothing & comforting. If the person ‘s hands are contracted (meaning they’re tight and can’t open), speak with the Occupational Therapist first to get their recommendations & to see if there’s anything they can do to help increase comfort and/or help with hygiene. Also, make sure there’s no allergies before purchasing something like this. You can find the lavender lotion here.
I hope you enjoyed this list of activity ideas for the holidays. These gifts aren’t necessarily just gifts for the holidays; they can serve as perfect gifts year round! These activities are also great ideas activities y’all can work on together too! Which item/items of these do you think your loved one would enjoy?!