As the holiday season draws near, it is important to remember not only our loved ones, but also those that work every day to make our lives easier and to care for the ones we love. For those families with elders suffering from Alzheimer’s, a well chosen gift for the patient, as well as their caregiver can be a beautiful joy to brighten up the holiday season.
Holiday Gifts for Caregivers
In all likelihood, those who care for your loved one, whether it be a professional, family member, or friend, spend well-over 40 hours a week on the job. Because of the stress they undergo, one of the best gifts you can give someone caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is a gift that offers a respite or a chance of relaxation for the caregiver.
The Gift of Time
Sometimes the best gifts come at no cost. Coupons for cleaning the house, preparing a meal, doing yard work, shoveling the driveway, driving the patient to an appointment, or just giving respite time which would allow the caregiver to take time to focus on their own needs.
Gift certificates for restaurants or laundry services, especially those that deliver; lawn care, computer/technical support, maid services, stylists, spas, and manicures can give everything from a couple of hours of relaxing luxury, to saving them the trouble of taking care of necessary chores.
Along with books that the caregiver might enjoy, there are many books that can assist caregivers. Look for books that combine the caregiver’s personal interests with a touch of practicality.
Media (Music, Movies, Video Streaming Services etc.)
Look into purchasing a DVR/TiVo and a year’s worth of service that will allow a caregiver to record their favorite shows or purchase their favorite movies or music for the caregiver to enjoy in their leisure time.
Holiday Gifts for People Living with Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s as an affliction presents itself in different levels or stages. When considering presents for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, consider their level of functionality and select a gift accordingly. Below are a few pointers.
Roughly half of the people currently living with Alzheimer’s are in what is referred to as the Early Stage of the disease, where they can live active, healthy lives, but notice some struggles with memory or other mental functions.
At this stage, items that would help with reminders like magnetic refrigerator pads, Post-It notes, baskets and trays that can be labeled and placed within cabinets and drawers, a small notepads that can fit in a pocket, erasable white boards for different rooms of the house, a calendar featuring family photos with special family occasions like birthdays and anniversaries already written on it, are highly recommended.
As well, items that can help assist in daily activities like a smartphone that can store pictures with the names and contact information of important people in their life, automatic medication dispensers that help the person living with Alzheimer’s to remember to take their medicine, nightlights that come on automatically when it gets dark and clocks with the date and time in large type are also thoughtful gifts that make their lives a little easier.
Organize an outing to a movie, play, concert, sporting event, museum, or a shopping holiday with friends and family. Buy CDs of their favorite songs, DVD collections of their favorite movies. Activities that are social, like scrapbooking or craft projects can help bring the family together and make good memories.
Some gifts should be considered with caution. Electronics might appear to be a good idea to make life easier for someone struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia, but keep in mind that there will be struggles to operate a new piece of equipment. If you do give a gift like that, expect to review the operation instructions with them slowly and several times. Make copies of the instructions for the person with the disease as well as yourself, so you can guide them over the phone if necessary.
People in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s need help with many daily activities as their mental struggles grow more severe. At this point of the disease, items that provide sensory stimulation like scented lotions, a fluffy bathrobe, a soft blanket or afghan, or a warm sweater can recall pleasant memories and add to their comfort.
Comfortable, easy to remove and wash clothes like sweatsuits, knits, large banded socks, Velcro tied shoes and wrinkle-free gowns, nightshirts, and robes all are best as buttons, ties and zippers become more difficult as mental facilities slip.
Research has shown that music can have a positive impact on Alzheimer’s, helping them to return to good memories, increase stimulation and help with interacting with family members.
Copy photos of friends and family at photo centers, insert the names of the people in the photo and put in frames or an album created specifically for that person.
Learn More by Contacting Us Directly
Contact Caring Hands Matter today by phone or online to find out more about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. The holidays can be a difficult time for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, as well as their caregivers. Please contact Caring Hands Matter today to find out more about what we can do for your family and those you care about.