3 Helpful "Don'ts" for Buying Gifts for Seniors With Dementia
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3 Helpful "Don'ts" for Buying Gifts for Seniors With Dementia

The holiday season is here! If you are currently caring for a loved one with dementia, knowing what gifts they'll appreciate can be a struggle. Here are three tips to help you avoid picking frustrating, unhelpful, or unwanted gifts while shopping in Artesia, Cerritos, Buena Park, La Palma, La Mirada, and Lakewood for your loved one. 

1. Don't Forget To Take the Stage of Dementia Into Consideration

Your loved one might have mild, moderate, or severe dementia, and those designations matter when choosing a gift.

Those with signs of mild dementia may still be open to new experiences, get out and socialize, or even work or volunteer. At this stage, gifts that remind them of the good old days or those that are practical are very welcome. This could include supplies for a favorite hobby, a photo album, or an electronic calendar to help them keep track of appointments. 

As the disease progresses, a loved one with moderate-to-severe dementia may experience more difficulty communicating and performing specific tasks or get frustrated more easily. Focus your gift-giving on what makes them feel cozy and comfortable. A blanket, soft toy, or nostalgic music can be welcome gifts. 

2. Don't Bring Them Gifts That Could Become Hazards in Their Home

Seniors with dementia may not be able to protect themselves from household hazards as well as they used to. Avoid bringing gifts that could put their safety at risk. This includes gifts like electric blankets and candles, which could become fire hazards.

You should also only buy senior at-home gym equipment if you know their ability level. While exercise is great for seniors, a lot of equipment may be too strenuous, which could lead to an injury. If you want to help them get in shape, look for equipment that promotes gentler activity, such as yoga or Tai Chi. 

3. Don't Spring a New Hobby on Them

Seniors with dementia can benefit from participating in hobbies they've always loved, such as painting, puzzles, or reading. Those activities should match their current ability levels, though. For instance, if a senior loves jigsaw puzzles, they may be better off doing 100-piece puzzles now instead of the 1500-pieces ones they used to do. 

What you don't want to do is try to force a new hobby on them. Doing so can be frustrating and confusing for them and will likely mean your well-intentioned gift doesn't get used. So even if you think they'd love painting, if they've never done it, don't be surprised if they aren't open to trying it.

Are you caring for a senior with dementia this holiday season?  Senior Helpers of Cerritos offers in-home care for seniors, including companion care, respite care, and specialized care for those with Alzheimer's. Contact our team to discuss how we can help make this holiday season a brighter one for you and the seniors in your life.