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best gifts for someone with dementia

Purposeful Gifts for Your Loved One with Dementia

Choosing the perfect gift for your senior loved one may be challenging once they begin experiencing memory loss, but it’s not impossible. 

When shopping for a loved one with dementia, find a gift they’ll love by considering their unique needs, abilities, and personality. 

If your loved one is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, finding a gift may not be as difficult. 

But as your loved one’s disease progresses, they will experience more mental, emotional, and physical limitations. You won’t go wrong if you consider their limitations and interests while shopping. 

We’ve created a list of the best gifts for someone with dementia to help make your holiday shopping go smoothly. 

Read on to learn more about holiday gifts for your senior loved one with dementia, signs they’re ready to move to a memory care community, and where to find a safe and supportive home for them. 

Holiday gifts for senior loved ones with dementia

As many already know, the best gifts come from the heart and mind. 

When you put thought into choosing your loved one’s gift, you’ll find one that brings joy to their life. 

Comfort foods

Everyone has a favorite food, meals that bring back memories, and meals that offer comfort. 

If you know your loved one’s favorite dessert, dish, or meal, you can prepare them one, as long as they don’t have dietary restrictions or trouble swallowing.

If you cannot bring your loved one food because of dietary restrictions, The Kensington Reston offers healthy and delicious meals for residents and their families to share. 

Arts and crafts

Creative gifts for seniors with dementia include: 

  • Adult coloring book
  • Colored pencils
  • Paint by number kits
  • Paint and rocks
  • Beads and string
  • Suncatchers

Engaging in arts and crafts can be calming and rewarding for seniors, increase creativity, and stimulate brain plasticity.

Sounds and music 

Music and uplifting sounds can improve mood, behavioral issues, and social interactions in seniors with dementia. 

Some gifts you may consider purchasing include a white noise machine, music player, or musical globe or box.

Cuddly things

Seniors with dementia need comfort to feel happy, safe, and calm.

Gift ideas that will keep your loved one warm and comfortable include: 

  • A fleece throw
  • Weighted blanket
  • Lap blanket
  • Stuffed animal 
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Robe 

Family photos

A great way to reminisce and trigger old memories is to create a family picture album, family picture frame, or family calendar. 

You can also have a customized blanket, mug, shirt, or other item made with family photos.

Homemade gifts

Seniors love getting homemade gifts from their grandchildren and younger family members. 

Children can make ornaments and cards for an older loved one for the holidays to make them feel special. 

Memory or keepsake box

Creating a memory box for your loved one can be a fun gift for both of you. With reminders of their life and history, they may remember memories they had forgotten. 

A memory box should include old photographs, newspaper clippings, old ticket stubs, souvenirs, a CD or music device, and an old lotion or bar of soap. 

Seeing, hearing, and smelling pieces of the past can help a loved one with dementia remember childhood memories, happy days, and some of their favorite people.

Puzzles and games

Games and puzzles can be fun and calming and provide cognitive stimulation.

MindStart offers the perfect puzzles for seniors with dementia. The puzzle pieces are large enough to see, and the images are less detailed than many other brands.

Melissa Long recommends larg piece puzzles like this one found on amazon that come with a rolling mat and storage trays.

Some great games are games of chance rather than skill, such as bingo, word search, dominos, monopoly, and Yahtzee. 


A subscription can be a fun, simple, and practical gift if you know your loved one enjoys a particular pastime. 

Depending on your loved one’s personality and interests, you can choose a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Disney, a magazine subscription, or a music service like Spotify, Pandora, or iTunes.

Relaxing gifts for someone with dementia

Gifts that are calming are an excellent choice for seniors with dementia if you want to offer a gift that will bring peace and relaxation.

Some of the most relaxing gifts for someone with dementia include: 

  • Fidget apron
  • Handheld fidget
  • Fidget rings
  • Therapy dough
  • Essential oil diffuser 
  • Herbal teas

It’s essential for seniors with dementia to find ways to relax and calm down. Most seniors with dementia struggle with depression, anxiety, agitation, confusion, and aggression. 

A relaxing gift will offer comfort on difficult days and can be used again and again if necessary. 

Sensory gift ideas

Melissa Long recommends some of the following gifts to help adults with dementia self-soothe and relax.

Twiddle sensory toy 

This gift can be used as a calming aid for adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is also helpful in increasing brain function. 

Chew necklaces

Just as infants chew for comfort, those with dementia can also, leading them to chew on clothing, wood, and even people. A chew necklace is a great way to stop these behaviors and give them something appropriate to chew.

Sensory arm pillow fidget wrist cuff

A wrist pillow can help decrease anxiety and restlessness. They can be used as therapeutic tools to keep hands busy, reduce loneliness, sharpen skills, and soothe the mind. 

Signs that a loved one is ready for memory care

Often, during the holidays, family members realize an older loved one is experiencing memory loss, or their memory disease is progressing. 

During the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, your loved one may be independent enough to live at home and carry out most of their daily tasks alone. 

Eventually, they will need your help and support as activities of daily living become more challenging. 

If your loved one’s care needs become too much, it’s unsafe for them to be left alone, or you need to step back from being a caregiver—it’s time for a memory care community. 

The Kensington Reston offers two memory care neighborhoods, Connections, and Haven. 

Each neighborhood provides our residents with specialized care tailored to their specific needs and helps them live comfortably. 

Learn more about The Kensington Reston and their levels of care

When your loved one needs a safe, supportive, and compassionate community where they can age in place, The Kensington Reston is here. 

Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own. We stand by this promise by offering high-quality services and programs. 

When your loved one moves to our assisted living or memory care community, they will experience: 

Contact us or check out our blog to learn more about our homes, amenities, caregiver resources, and upcoming events. 

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