It can be tricky to know what to buy a loved one for a gift if they are suffering from a neurological condition such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia. They can be easily confused, even irritable and angry. We love to see them content and in a happy place, and anything we can do to promote this feeling of calmness and contentment is beneficial.
We've scoured the internet to find some great ideas for your loved ones.
"As Alzheimer's disease progresses the need to nurture, love and be loved increases."
- American Society of Geriatric Psychiatrists (AAGP), Conference 2012
1. Doll Therapy
Real lifelike dolls can be used by dementia and Alzheimer's patients as a soothing and calming therapy. Evidence has shown that when there is a connection with the patient and their 'doll' or 'baby' this has an effect of having more positive behaviours. This act of nurturing is a positive behaviour and doll therapy has proven useful for men as well as women. Read this article for more about the pros and cons of doll therapy for dementia and Alzheimer's patients.
2. Fidget Blanket
A Fidget or Activity Blanket is a small lap quilt, mat or blanket that provides sensory and tactile stimulation as well as visual. Check out this cute Fidget Blanket - it's full of activities to open, close, twist, zip and feel. Learn how to make your own here.
3. Magic Table
The Tovertafel (Magic Table), a series of interactive light games specifically designed for people with mid- to late-stage dementia. It is engaging for patients, calming usually very agitated and restless patients. It is currently being trialed in care homes in the UK. We think it's truly amazing!
4. Virtual Reality
UK based organisations, Tribemix and Quantum Care, have developed a series of virtual reality experiences that take people living with dementia in care out of the residential homes and away to a range of relaxing places. The immersive 3D scenes include the beach, a forest or even to watch dolphins playing around a coral reef. Emotional to watch - an amazing innovation. You can see more on the Tribemix website.
5. Weighted Calming Mermaid Cushion
Research shows that weighted blankets and lap pads can reduce agitation in people with neurological conditions, promoting a sense of calm and contentment. We love this new take on it, combining the popular mermaid sequin cushions with the weighted lap pad idea. Make your own, check out this how to blog here!
6. Stuffed Animal
Like doll therapy, the act of caring for a stuffed animal can be a happy and calming process for an individual with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
Some reports say that stuffed animals can:
- Distract and calm
- Increase happiness
- Provide a tactile opportunity for hugs
- Give a focus for attention
- Remind them of a previous, beloved pet they had
- Give the person warm, nurturing feelings of caring for another
Some men may not attach to a doll therefore a stuffed animal could be an alternative for them.
7. The Ultimate in Comfort - A Seating Matters Chair
What better gift to give an elderly loved one who sits for long periods of time, than the ultimate in comfort - a Seating Matters chair. One of the Seating Matters chairs can give your loved one has the utmost comfort each and every day. Our chairs can help to reduce pressure injuries so you can rest assured knowing that your loved one is at a much lower risk of developing any nasty pressure ulcers. The chairs are customized to fit the dimensions of the patient, hugging them so they are completely comfortable and safe, reducing the risk of accidental falls. They will also support the posture and ensure they can remain as functional and independent as possible. Check out the full range here.
*Note - the purpose of this blog is to give an overview of the product with some tips to consider on its use. This is not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis, prescription or treatment and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. For advice with your personal health or that of someone in your care, consult your doctor or appropriate medical professional.