Not sure what to buy for somebody who is living with dementia? Read our guide to Christmas gifts and how to include your loved ones this festive season.
Christmas is a time for families and festivities, but it can also bring new challenges for people affected by dementia.
Maybe you’re wondering what is an appropriate gift for a friend or family member? Or you might be looking to support somebody living with dementia to do their own Christmas shopping? Busy high streets can be overwhelming for anyone, and it’s perfectly natural to feel anxious or unsure.
Read our advice and suggestions below to take some of the stress out of the shopping season.
5 things to consider when Christmas shopping
1. Have a plan
People at different stages of dementia will have different capabilities when it comes to Christmas shopping. Making choices can be difficult or frustrating for some people, while others may not want to have presents bought on their behalf. Either way, it’s important your loved ones feel included in the process. Have a conversation about Christmas shopping in advance and decide what works for you both.
2. Avoid peak times
If a person is getting confused and frustrated about what they might want for Christmas, you could take them shopping so they can choose their own gift. Be mindful of high streets and shopping centres during peak times, as busy shopping crowds could be stressful for people with dementia. Some shops and supermarkets have also introduced ‘quiet hours’ for people who may feel overwhelmed by crowded environments.
3. Shop online
Alternatively, you could skip the crowds entirely by shopping online instead. If the person isn’t comfortable using computers, you might create a shortlist of gifts from online shops and ask them to choose what they want to purchase people from this. Similarly, open-ended questions might be difficult - e.g “what do you want for Christmas?” Closed questions might be better - e.g “Do you want a new coat for Christmas?” This can also work when asking the person what they would like to buy for others.
4. Wrap gifts loosely
Wrapping gifts or writing Christmas cards with someone else can be a nice festive activity for the person with dementia if they are able. If buying for somebody with dementia, wrap presents loosely so they’re not difficult to open. It’s a good idea to remove any extra packaging that is hard to open, or makes it unclear what the item is. Using gift bags rather than wrapping paper may be helpful for people with limited dexterity.
5. Remember the person
There are lots of products out there aimed towards people living with dementia. However, not all of them will be suitable for every individual with dementia. Nostalgia and reminiscence gifts, for instance, can be a lovely idea, but only if the person has a connection with the particular era or theme. Other gifts are tailored toward people at particular stages of the condition, so bear in mind what is and isn’t appropriate. It’s important to remember the person first and what they would like for Christmas, rather than what ‘a person with dementia’ would like.
5 Christmas gift ideas from our shop
Our online shop is full of suggestions for people affected by dementia.
We’ve picked out five of our top sellers, but there is a lot more available online. Every penny you spend with us goes straight back into our work, supporting people affected by dementia and finding a cure.
The Rosebud reminder clock has been developed to help prompt people with dementia to do daily tasks and relieve the stress and anxiety that can build up when unknown events occur.
A specially designed white canvas allows the user to create colourful images using only water and a brush. When water is applied, the white surface reveals the picture. As the water dries the image will fade ready to be used time and again.
Small, sleek and easily portable, this keyring device makes it easier for people with dementia to keep track of time. Just press the button anytime to announce the time and date.
This is no ordinary board game, it’s designed to help stimulate memories and conversation. It’s great for all the family, as you talk about history, opinions and interests. It could help boost morale and confidence and is great for all generations.
Simple jigsaw puzzles can be therapeutic for people living with dementia. They also make for a great group activity around Christmas. Explore the range of dementia-friendly jigsaws in our shop, with 13, 24, 35 and 63 piece jigsaws available.