Thursday, March 29, 2012

Best ever Easter gifts for those with dementia

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Choosing the right present for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia is certain to give him/her joyful times independently or with a loved one. Here are some tips on how to pick a perfect gift.

Over 5.4 million Americans are living with dementia. Is one of them someone you know or work with? Get him/her or anyone with Alzheimer's disease an Easter gift that will keep on giving long after the holiday is gone.

Of course, person appropriate offerings are the best. This means matching a gift to a person’s interests and abilities, However, there are some presents that will make them smile no matter what.

One such gift is a book by Susan Berg called Adorable Photographs of Our Baby -- Meaningful, Mind-Stimulating Activities and More for the Memory Challenged, Their Loved Ones and Involved Professionals, This book features baby photographs that seniors with dementia love. This book shares a plethora of ideas and resources for you.
There is an activity related to hats that is most appropriate around Easter time.

If the person is a hat lover, buying him/her a new bonnet for Easter is an extraordinary idea. It will bring back fond memories of past Easters. Perhaps you can dig out some old Easter bonnets to try on as well as talk about, together, as Susan Berg suggests in her book. You could also have fun going through an old chest of clothes,

Sharing happy times and moments of joy will make both of you feel terrific. Inviting children to partake in this experience will make the time spent together even better. Berg says that dementia folks love children. This is another reason why her book is so popular with people who have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

While you have the children around, why not go through an old chest of clothes. Children love to play dress up. Dementia folks love children and reminiscing. Surely a lively discussion will ensue putting a smile on everyone’s face. Isn’t that a priceless gift?

Another gift dementia persons will fancy is a classic musical video or DVD especially for Easter. A classic movie of this type is Rogers and Hammerstein’s movie, Easter Parade. Any Roger’s and Hammerstein movie is a good choice, However matching their interests and favorite actors and actresses should simplify the gift giving process. You can even discuss some of the movies to get a better feel for the one they might like the best.

A video sing along is great for persons who has Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Even if they were not music lovers in the past, music is extremely therapeutic for them. Often non-verbal folks with dementia will sing along to a song that is familiar to them. Russ Carlton has a series of videos that will enchant a person with dementia.

An audio cassette or CD is another good choice. Just as with the movies, talking about songs often brings to light a good musical selection. There are some by Mitch Miller that are favorites of many. Also Broadway tunes are a preference of those with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

Especially for a lower functioning person with dementia is the gift of hand or body lotion. Any kind will do. Just be aware of any allergies or pain issues he/she might have. If he/she can tolerate it, those with a pleasant scent work well. Give him/her a relaxing hand massage talking about how good the hand massage feels, how much you love this person, and an Easter experience you both share from the past.

If you cannot afford or do not have time to get these gifts before Easter, give the gift of yourself. No matter how hard it is for you to visit a dementia person, he/she will appreciate your company even though he/she may not be able to express it. Take him/her for a walk, sing some of your favorite songs together, or share some messages of love. Just spend some quality time with a dementia person. Both of you will feel better. Do remember to be upbeat animated and excited about visiting.

A phone call or an Easter card will do if there is no way you can visit in person. At least they will know you are thinking of them. Then visit on another day.

So no matter what you do, do not forget the person with dementia this Easter because it will make you and him/her feel good. What could be better than that?

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