Not Just a Gift – Give a Memory

Perfect gifts for a loved one progressing with Dementia.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, our thoughts often stray towards “What is the perfect gift?” “What can I give my loved one who needs nothing?”  Too often, we end up with the typical fallback items of pajamas, socks, a shawl, or slippers.  

For a loved one who has progressing dementia or is elderly and wants/needs nothing, these items may be a nice gesture but will soon be lost or forgotten.  Consider instead a gift that may spark a memory, create some engagement, provide a warm fuzzy feeling, or can be a friend.  You could enhance their life by giving something therapeutic and engaging.

Here are some gifts that may bring a smile, encourage conversation, and/or provide comfort:

  • Tag a Photo – Take a current family photograph and write the names of each member across their picture. This may help reduce some frustration when your loved one can’t remember who the people are.
  • Engage conversation and memories with photos – Go through photos or photo albums and write the names on the front or back.  Spend time sharing the photos and talking about the people, the event, the vacation or occasion that relates to the photos.
  • Buy a Twiddle and spend some play time together.  Twiddles are a playful activity/comfort aide designed to keep hands and minds active and engaged, or soothed and calmed.  You can purchase Twiddles on Amazon (  Use Amazon Smile and you can also give a gift to a charity at no extra cost to you!  Amazon sends a portion of proceeds to your charity – I recommend Dementia Action Alliance.
  • Bring some comfort through a companion – A soft & squishy stuffed animal or baby doll can provide a warm fuzzy feeling and something to cuddle.  An animated dog or cat that barks/purrs, snores and rolls over can offer the warmth and enhance the sense of touch and hearing.  These sounds can be soothing.  Joy For All ( has some lovely pets for adoption.
  • Memory Picture/Photo Phone – These phones make phone calls easier by clicking a photo rather than a name or phone number.  There is a large selection of styles and most include hands free dialing as well.
  • Digital Day Clock – Large display digital clocks that show the Day, Date and Time are a wonderful aide to help maintain independence.   They come in a variety of models and functions which include alarms and reminders.
  • Weighted Blanket or Shawl – Many people find that a weighted blanket or shawl can help reduce anxiety and provide a feeling of being cuddled and comforted.
  • Easy Remote – A variety of remote controls are available to simplify usage.  This can be extremely helpful to reduce confusion.
  • Puzzles – Personalized puzzles with a family photo or specific memory 
  • Personalized Memory Game – take the concentration game to a new level with a Personalized Memory Game! Enjoy a memory game and memories at the same time! A great way to spend time together and stimulate conversation and memories.
  • Drawings by children – have the children or grand-children, draw or color pictures and tape them to the wall.  Children’s drawings always bring a smile!
  • Games & Activities – Search the internet for Games for Dementia – there are many activity books for people living with dementia
  • Gel Seat Cushion – As the amount of sitting increases as the amount of ability decreases, something “cushy for the tushy” is sure to soothe more than just the soul.
  • Guest Book Register Book  – ask all guest to “sign-in” each time they come and review the guest book together  

The most important gift is YOUR TIME.  Make your gift special by including time to engage with your loved one to talk about photos, play games, color, sing or read together.  Time is much more precious than slippers.

Wishing you all a holiday season filled with love & laughter! 


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