As the holidays are approaching, so many families are considering how to gift meaningfully to their loved ones with dementia.
It can feel difficult sometimes to know what gifts will fit the circumstances as your loved one changes. And we also understand that grief is often a part of the process as you revisit holiday memories with your loved one. Holding your shared history and reminiscing often brings an ache—an ache of love, happiness, longing, and sadness about all you have shared in good times and bad. We understand and want our Fieldstone families to know we are here to help walk through this season.
As you think about gifts and gestures this holiday season, here are some ideas for your loved one with dementia that we hope will help you show them how important they are to you. Please always keep safety in mind as you select items.
- A cozy blanket or a lightly weighted throw (machine washable)
- New bathrobe or slippers (with traction)
- A stuffed animal or doll
- Coloring books (there are many types of beautiful and engaging coloring books for adults and for children). Choose the level of detail and theme that best suits your loved one.
- Twistable colored pencils or crayons.
- There are a variety of fidget boards, fidget blankets, aprons, and toys to help give hands something to do when feeling restless or anxious. (Please avoid things with small parts or that are easily breakable that could be swallowed). You can also consider modeling clay. (You might like to make salt dough or cinnamon ornaments with your loved one! For salt dough, you can make and dry some ahead of time, and they can paint them with watercolors.)
- Audiobooks to captivate and elevate your loved one’s imagination.
- Puzzles (consider the stage of your loved one and their level of ability, and choose a puzzle to fit a comfortable level of challenge.)
- Special cookies, breads, or treats you used to make or enjoy together.
- Bring a favorite snack of theirs or one they used to make for you when you were young.
- Individually wrapped sweets or energy bars.
- Tea, cocoa, or cider packets.
- A photo album filled with photos of their life and extended family with labels including years, locations, and names. (As these items may get damaged over time, please provide copies that are replaceable)
- A playlist or CD of songs you listened to as a child with your parent and/or songs they listened to in their youth.
- Watch a favorite holiday film together or read them a story aloud.
We would be remiss to not mention perhaps the most important way you can offer a gesture of care: through your loving presence.
Fred Rogers in an interview with Charlie Rose, said, “The most important thing is that we’re able to be one-to-one, you and I, with each other at the moment. If we can be present to the moment with the person we happen to be with at the moment, that’s what’s important.”
If you reflect on important moments in your life, almost certainly, someone was fully present with you. Isn’t that a beautiful gift we can all give?
This season, we are making our own special gestures of care for our residents of Fieldstone Communities across Washington State. We’ll have caroling, candy cane cocoa, special music guests, twinkly lights, holiday crafts, and classic holiday meals to comfort and delight the child in every one of us.
We invite you to join us!
You can pick up a calendar of activities at the front desk, or stop by/call the front desk to sign up for LifeLoop. With LifeLoop, it’s easy to log in and stay connected.
If you’d like to learn more about how Fieldstone Communities cares for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, reach out today—we are here to help.