• Karen McPhail

Holiday Gift Giving for Those With Cognitive Impairment

The holiday season is upon us which is wonderful, but at times challenging! The other day I met with the wife of one of my clients with dementia. During our visit, she suddenly started to cry as we spoke about the holidays. She explained tearfully that she had always loved getting gifts for her wife, but what could she possibly buy for someone with dementia? What would really bring her joy or even be appropriate? My response...

Lots of fun things will still bring her moments of joy and can foster connection!

So, this week I decided to put down some of my favorite ideas for holiday gift giving for those with dementia:

1. Active Minds guided puzzles for those with dementia. Lot's of terrific puzzles that are structured for those with cognitive impairments! Some even have wonderful nostalgic themes!

2. Keeping busy and Active Minds games such as match the shapes, match the dots, the TRIO game, and match the pins activity games. These games are structured for those with cognitive impairments and can be terrific fun per the instructions or in a variety of non-structured ways! They also have great simple crafts and other activities!

3. Large print coloring books (color your mind is excellent), word search books, nostalgic crosswords, simple brain puzzle books. I also like Connecting Memories as developed for those with dementia! NASCO simple crafts book for those with cognitive impairments is also a great guide book!

4. Senior simple chair exercise tapes and nostalgic CD's of music and television shows such as Dean Martin, I Love Lucy, etc.

5. Music BINGO for seniors, large lacing and stringing beads, and magnetic puzzles such as the baking cupboard, or larger easy to link or connect blocks.

6. Fidget cubes and activities, comfort aids such as Q3 enterprises twiddle sport comfort aid, alzheimer's, dementia activity hand muff puppy or lion, or an activity mat or apron, such as the flaghouse activity apron. These help with fidgeting, and anxiety and are great for those who like to keep their hands busy.

7. A simple soft doll or stuffed animal can also be a comfort and tap into long term preserved memories! Think about their life and what they will potentially connect with and be happy seeing!

8. Mem pic books and brain rehab activities. Mem pic books are a great way to tap into preserved memory and engage at an individuals level!

9. Finally, for those caring for a loved one - The Caregivers Guide to Dementia: Practical Advice for Caring for Yourself and Your Loved One, by Gail Weatherill, RN is a terrific book to give a care giver or care partner. I also really like the new book by Joshua Hummer: Fearless: Facing the Future Confidently with Relational Estate Planning. Planning is critical for all caregivers and this book takes a positive approach to this difficult topic!

These items can all be purchased on a variety of websites including amazon, and at some retail stores. These are just a few of our favorites, but we are happy to share more if you reach out via our contacts area on the main page!

Reach also out if you need assistance with recreational programming guidance for a family member with Dementia or even mild cognitive impairment. We are happy to help!

Happy Holidays!!!!

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