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Does someone close to you have dementia and you want to buy them a gift but don’t know what? Dementia is a degenerative illness which means changes can occur over time and at the later stages of the illness, the person is no longer the person you once knew. With that being said, EVERYONE deserves a christmas gift, and if you need some help, we are here for you. 
We have tried to make this Gift Guide as inclusive as possible, so you need to think about a few things first.  
  1. Due to the coronavirus, are you going to see this person or will you be posting it to them? 
  2. Are you purchasing online or will you be going in store?
  3. What stage in their illness are they? 
  4. What is your budget? 
Identifying whether this person is in the early, moderate or severe stage of their dementia is quite important. If they are in the early stages, for example, the gift you purchase may not be very different to what you would give them prior to their diagnosis or symptoms. If they are in the later stages, however, sensory stimulating gifts become more important, because the stimulus could bring back some of your loved one’s memories.


Here is our Christmas Gift Guide 


We have organised it into stages of illness and for each the gift cost starts low and increases.


Early Stage Gifts: 


    1. Activity books, like crossword puzzles or strategy games. Here you should account for their preference when choosing what to buy. 
    2. Personalised diary or routine book to encourage them to write things down. This is good to practice earlier rather than later as a coping strategy. It is also a way of them keeping control of their own lives.
    3. Decaffeinated tea/drinks to replace their evening hot drink. There are some delicious ones out there
    4. Classic movies and television shows that than can stimulate your loved one (and you should watch it with them). You should purchase it in the format they are most comfortable, for example as a DVD, or load it onto a USB for their laptop.
    5. A lovely pack of masks. This could be in their favourite colour or with patterns they love. You can also purchase ones that feel more ‘breathable’.
    6. A memorable photo album or calendar that features special family occasions and family photos.
    7. A subscription to Audible, where you can listen to books rather than read them. This is particularly a good idea if you want to try and limit the amount of blue light exposure (that comes from phones, tablets and TV’s, which is well-known to affect sleep.
    8. A body/daylight clock if they are struggling to sleep or wake up at normal times. It helps normalise sleeping patterns and works all year round. 
    9. A device that can store photos with the contact information and names of your loved one’s family and friends.
    10. Weather appropriate garden furniture. Your loved one may be going out less so it would be nice to create a space that feels like it is not at home (but at home). You could instead create a new room in the house if you think that is better suited.  


Moderate Stage Gifts


    1. CD’s and music that bring back some memories. 
    2. Simple craft activities that inspires reminiscing. Ones that you can do together are even better.
    3. Erasable white boards that highlight key rooms or areas in your loved one’s home (by writing some key words and placing them in the rooms or on the door).
    4. Alcohol-free alternatives to their favourite drinks. As their dementia progresses, the doctor may advise them to cut down on their alcohol intake but that does not mean they should not get the experience (and taste!).
    5. A memorable photo album or calendar that features special family occasions and family photos.
    6. An automatic medication dispenser
    7. A digital calendar day clock that displays the date and time. 
    8. Motion sensor lights or automatic nightlights that will turn lights on as it gets dark or as the person enters the room. 
    9. A GPS tracker or wandering prevention door tracker. It is unlikely that you will get your loved one to wear a tracker in the early stages, so now is a good time. 
    10. Install smart appliances throughout the house. This is a really good idea because it means that you can control things remotely if they are struggling. For example, you can turn the heating on and off or a Ring doorbell that allows you to see who is at their door (for their own safety). 


Late Stage Gifts:


    1. A fluffy bathrobe or a soft blanket in a favorite colour
    2. Music and CD’s that feature songs from your loved one’s childhood or teenage years.
    3. Create a personalised video that they can watch when you are not there (with the assistance of a carer). 
    4. A memorable photo album or calendar that features special family occasions and family photos.
    5. Digital photo frame where you have uploaded family pictures and you can keep it close to them. 
    6. A stuffed animal that can provide some comfort when stressed. 
    7. Fill the cupboard with healthy snacks so they can eat snacks with you (or their carer) and not feel like they are missing out. 
    8. A radio with a timer so it turns on and off automatically. 
    9. omfortable clothes like tracksuits and shoes. When purchasing, you must think about items that are easy to put on, for examples shoes with velcro straps, tracksuits without any string or jeans without buttons.
    10. A GPS tracker, if not purchased already.