According to the 2007
Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, one out of
eight people age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s and
nearly one out of every two over age 85 has it.
There are currently more than 5 million people in
the United States living with Alzheimer’s and almost
10 million caring for someone with the disease.
Therefore chances are pretty high that this holiday
season, you’ll be buying a present for parents,
grandparents, relatives or friends who have been
touched by the disease.
Holiday Gifts for Caregivers
Nearly one in four caregivers of
people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
provide 40 hours a week or more of care.
Seventy-one percent sustain this commitment for more
than a year, and 32 percent do so for five years or
more. One of the best gifts you can give
someone caring for Alzheimer’s is something that
relieves the stress or provides a bit of respite for
The Gift of time:
Cost-effective and truly meaningful gifts are
self-made coupons for cleaning the house, preparing
a meal, moving lawn/shoveling driveway, respite
times that allow the caregiver time off to focus on
what he/she needs.
Gift Certificates: Give gift
certificates for restaurants and laundry/dry
cleaning services, especially those that deliver;
lawn care services; computer/technology support;
maid services; personal pampering services such as
messages, facials, manicures/pedicures.
Books: In addition to fictional
and non-fictional books that a caregiver might
enjoy, there are a number of books created to assist
caregivers such as “The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide
to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer Disease,
Related Dementing illnesses, and Memory Loss in
Later Life,” by N.L.Mace and P.V. Rabins; “A
Dignified Life: The Best Friends Approach to
Alzheimer’s Care: A Guide for Family Caregivers,” by
V. Bell and D. Troxel; and “Alzheimer’s: A
Caregiver’s Guide and Sourcebook,” by H. Gruetzner.
Digital Video Recorder
(DVR)/DVDs/CDs: Purchase DVR/TiVo and years
worth of services that will enable a caregiver to
record favorite shows he/she may not be able watch,
purchase his/her favorite movies or music CDs for
the caregiver to enjoy on their down time.
Holiday Gifts for People
Living with Alzheimer's
Early Stage: Approximately 2.5 million
people currently living with Alzheimer’s are in the
Early Stage of the disease, a period when they can
live active, healthy lives, but may begin to notice
subtle changes. Here are some gift ideas for
people living in the early stages of the disease.
Items to help remember things
such as magnetic reminder refrigerator pads, Post-It
notes, baskets or trays that can be labeled within
cabinets or drawers, a small pocket-sized diary or
notebook, erasable white boards for key rooms in the
house, a memorable calendar featuring family photos
– write special family occasions such as birthdays
Items that may help with daily
activities such as a memory phone that can store up
to eight pictures with the names and contact
information of family and friends, automatic
medication dispenser that can help the person living
with Alzheimer’s remember to take his/her medicine,
nightlights that come on automatically when it gets
dark, and clock with the date and time in large
Entertainment: Plan an
outing to a movie, play or concert, sporting event,
museum or possibly an organized holiday shopping
outing with friends and family, favorite musical CDs
or CD with compilation of favorite tunes, VHS/DVD
collection of favorite movies. Also activities
such as scrapbooking or other craft projects that
are social in nature.
You might want to think twice
before buying some gifts: Giving electronics may
seem like a good idea to make life easier for
someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, but that isn’t
always the case. If you decide to give someone
with the disease a new piece of electronic
equipment, remember to review the operating
instructions with them slowly and more than once.
Make a copy of the instructions for the person with
the disease and for yourself, so you can talk them
through the process on the phone if you need to.
People in the later stages of Alzheimer’s generally
need assistance with day-to-day activities as their
memory problems continue to worsen. Here are
some gift ideas for people living in the later
stages of the disease.
Items that provide sensory
stimulation: In the later stages of the
disease sensory stimulation may bring back pleasant
memories, so gift ideas include scented lotions, a
fluffy bathrobe in his/her favorite color, a soft
blanket or afghan to keep the person warm.
easy to remove, easily washable clothes such as
sweat suits, knits, large banded socks, shoes with
Velcro ties, wrinkle free nightgowns, nightshirts
Music: Research shows
that music has a positive impact on individuals with
Alzheimer’s, bringing them back to good times,
increasing stimulation and providing an opportunity
to interact with family members. So buy
favorite CDs or burn a CD full of musical favorites.
Collage: Copy photos of family members and
friends at photo centers, insert the names of the
people in the photo and put in frames or in a photo
album created specifically for that person.
Safe Return: Enroll the
person in the later stages of Alzheimer’s in the
Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return, a nationwide
identification program that provides assistance when
a person with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia
wanders and becomes lost locally or far from home.
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