We are often asked, what could I buy for my loved one living with dementia to help reduce their loneliness especially during these isolating times? With Christmas approaching, it’s a perfect time to treat them.
We share 5 thoughtful ideas that we think would make great gifts to help your loved ones engage and bring meaning and joy to their lives.
What I have learned through my own experience of helping to care for my Mum is the importance of understanding the person. What do we know about them (past and present)? What are their needs, interests, strengths, habits, routines and abilities?
What Are Their Needs?
1. Doll Therapy
If your loved one loves babies, then doll therapy can be highly beneficial and make a valuable contribution to their health and well-being. Our ‘empathy doll’ has a realistic body size and weight which (whilst not essential) encourages interaction.
It has been thoughtfully designed to fulfil key criteria
- It doesn’t cry
- Its eyes remain open
These are recognised as important factors in the design of an appropriate doll to reduce stress and agitation, and research has found that they help to calm people down, reduce anxiety and can result in a reduction of medication levels.
2. Reminiscence Therapy
Memory boxes are a great reminiscence aid by displaying pictures from the past or present and have enough room in them to place special knick-knacks and treasured possessions. They hold a lifetime of memories and tell the stories of peoples’ lives.
From family photos to holiday souvenirs and favourite recipes, memory boxes hold precious keepsakes which help trigger existing memories. They also help make new memories as they inspire conversations with caregivers, family members and loved ones.
These extraordinary boxes are practical and attractive tools providing numerous benefits including:
- Improving environmental navigation and orientation.
- Stimulating engaging conversations.
- Providing care givers with valuable insight into an individual’s life history.
- Reinforcing confidence through the treasured personal possessions they contain.
- Creating an attractive point of interest.
Placed outside ladies and gents’ bedrooms they help with the navigation of what can be a confusing and bewildering environment. Personal belongings are a reminder of home.
Memory boxes provide great opportunities for meaningful activity when they are brought to life together as a project with ladies and gents, their loved ones and carers all having valuable contribution to help capture the most important parts of lives.
3. Pet Therapy
If your loved one has been an animal lover throughout their lives, our ‘companion pets’ are robotic pets with built-in sensors which respond to motion and touch.
There are both puppies and cats available in the range which have been designed to look, feel and sound like real animals, with soft fur and they respond to petting, hugging and motion much like the real ones you know and love but don’t require any special care or feeding. This personally rich experience can bring joy and comfort to ageing loved ones without any vet bills to worry about.
4. Meaningful Activities
Themed rummage boxes are ideal to help people reminisce and participate in an activity they have enjoyed in their lives. Whether they enjoyed family seaside holidays, baking, gardening or DIY, these beautifully designed and presented boxes are filled with a delightful array of appropriately themed artefacts to interact with. Using these visual prompts can help to stimulate conversations, sharing meaningful stories which encourages activity for well-being.
5. Stimulating Activities
For anyone who loved completing puzzles, our large piece reminiscence jigsaw has been designed for ease of use and to help maintain capacity and comes in a range of different themes. The benefits for someone living with Dementia are that they help to:
- Stimulate beneficial brain activity
- Maintain efficiency and capacity
- Encourage interaction
- Prompt reminiscence
Researched evidence has shown that people living with dementia who are engaged in activities reduce the feeling of loneliness and live a much happier and longer life. Let’s work together to achieve this.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the article and find the information insightful. Why not leave a comment or suggestion below!