Get the perfect holiday gifts for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia
There are ideas for people at all levels of cognitive ability – fun and engaging games, gifts that comfort anxiety and soothe agitation, and activities that give a sense of accomplishment.
We bet there’s something here that your older adult will love.
We’ve got 7 categories of thoughtful, dementia-friendly holiday gifts:
Click the links to go directly to one of the categories or scroll down to browse the full list
- 3 innovative technology gifts that keep them connected
- 6 specially designed puzzles and activities that are fun for everyone
- 5 activities that give a sense of accomplishment
- 6 gifts that comfort and soothe seniors who are anxious or fidgety
- 4 gifts that seniors can cuddle and care for
- 7 entertaining picture books that bring back the joy of reading
- 6 practical gifts that make life easier
3 innovative technology gifts that keep them connected
1. From $200 ViewClix Smart Frame
These smart picture frames display digital photos in a 10-inch screen size ($200) or 15-inch screen size ($300).
Both sizes have video calling with an auto-answer mode. When auto-answer is set up, the older adult doesn’t need to do anything to receive a video call.
This is especially helpful for making video calls to someone with dementia or who isn’t able to physically answer a call.
Tip: When choosing a screen size, think about your family member’s vision: is it poor or starting to decline? If so, go with a bigger screen.
We discuss the ViewClix Smart Frame in greater detail here.
2. From $90 Amazon Echo Show “Alexa”
The Echo Show is an Alexa personal assistant (like an Echo or Echo Dot) with a video screen.
To make video calls without your older adult needing to accept the call, use the Echo Show’s “drop in” feature.
Currently, there are 3 of these types of devices available (prices frequently discounted):
- $90 Echo Show 5 – 5.5” screen
- $130 Echo Show 8 – 8″ HD screen and stereo sound, many customer reviews say this is the best of the three Show options
3. $309 + service RAZ Memory Cell Phone
This dementia-friendly mobile phone is a cell phone that someone with cognitive impairment can actually use. It has a single screen that never turns off, calling by picture, and emergency services.
6 specially designed puzzles and activities that are fun for everyone
1) Keeping Busy puzzles and activities for Alzheimer’s and Dementia
These wonderful, non-childish, age-appropriate activities come with instructions on how to present the activity to ensure that the person with dementia feels a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
They’re also tested with seniors at different stages of dementia to ensure that the activities are enjoyable and well-suited for various ability levels.
- Multi-colored poker chips and color templates provide a variety of sorting and matching activities
- Offers cognitive challenge and helps with dexterity and fine motor skills
- The unique color coding on the pieces and tray help guide someone with dementia to successfully complete the puzzle on their own.
- 36 brightly colored tiles draw the person’s attention and offer tactile stimulation
- Large colored templates with wide spacing provide guidance and help the person with dementia be successful
2) Activity and puzzle books for Alzheimer’s and Dementia
$6 Grandma & Grandpa’s Word Searches
- 27 simple word searches for those with cognitive impairment
- Large print
- No diagonal hidden words
This book is full of easy puzzles, brain games, writing activities and coloring pages. Some of the puzzles include crosswords, word searches, mazes, find the differences, trivia, and more.
Another fantastic book packed full of entertaining activities including easy puzzles, brain games, writing activities, and coloring pages.
- 7 different color and shape wooden blocks
- 60 double-sided pattern cards with 120 different numbers, letters, geometric figures, and animal shape cards
- Tin storage box
3) Recreate handy hobbies
Help someone recreate memories of past projects with these tool-based activities.
- Keep busy hands occupied with latches that hook, snap, click, and slide
- There are five different screws to attach with two different tools.
4) Encourage creative expression with simple art activities
$10 Extra soft, reusable, non-toxic modeling clay
- These colorful clays won’t dry out, no matter how much they’re used or if they’re accidentally left out
- Easy cleanup – no tacky residue that sticks to hands, fingers and clothing
$20 Aquapaint – Reusable Water Painting
Just use plain water to “paint” these colorful paintings and give a sense of accomplishment. The color fades as the paper dries so they can be used over and over again.
5) From $15 Springbok Puzzles to Remember
- 36, 60, and 100 piece jigsaw puzzles in a wide variety of beautiful designs
- All designed for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Large pieces are easier to grip and see
- Pictures are vibrant and artistic – not childish
- 30 piece custom jigsaw puzzle, 16 x 20 inch size
- Designed for people with reduced vision, low mobility, cognitive impairment
- Use any photo to create a custom puzzle – your older adult’s favorite family memory, nature scene, or vacation spot
5 activities that give a sense of accomplishment
- Brightly colored shapes and laces make it fun and easy to “sew” along the holes
- This activity is especially great for someone who enjoyed sewing
- Brightly colored plastic nuts and bolts in 8 shapes and 4 colors
- Hours of safe fun – attach and detach the nuts and bolts or sort by color or shape
- Large wooden beads with oversized holes are perfect for lacing
- Includes 30 brightly colored wooden beads in different shapes and 2 colorful lacing strings
- Tip: Buy colorful shoelaces if you need more lacing strings
- 24-piece set includes wooden tools, nails, screws, nuts, and bolts.
- Fun shapes can be used a variety of ways
- Use the included boards to create colorful pictures, make free form shapes, or trace shapes on paper
6 gifts that comfort and soothe seniors who are anxious or fidgety
1) $8 Tangle Palm
- Fun twisty fidget toy that fits perfectly in the palm
- Silent and calming to use – it won’t disrupt or disturb others
2) $10 Spiky massage ball
- Ball is 3″ in diameter
- Gently spiky outer layer gives a massage effect
3) From $36 Fidget quilts and soft items
- Comforting and give nervous hands something safe to fiddle with
- $37 Sensory activity apron
- From $55 Handmade fidget quilts
- $50 Twiddle Cat or Dog
- $60 Tactile Sensory Cushion
- This plush weighted pillow provides soothing pressure and calming benefits
- Activity panels include find hidden objects in the pellets, push a marble through a maze, or twirl and stretch fun colored coils
5) From $41 Weighted blankets
- $41 Waowoo Adult Weighted Blanket – 15lbs, 60 x 80 inches
- $62 Weighted Idea Cool Weighted Blanket – 15 lbs, 48 x 78 inches
- $90 RELAX EDEN Adult Weighted Blanket W/Removable, Washable Duvet Cover – 12 lbs, 48 x 72 inches
6) From $45 Custom photo blankets
- Seniors can stay warm and cozy while looking at a favorite family photo
- From $45 – Walmart
- From $60 – Shutterfly
4 gifts that seniors can cuddle and care for
1) Stuffed animals
- Cuddly stuffed animals like these give comfort and can become a pet or companion
- We especially love this puppy, this bear, and this cat
- Soft, cuddly puppy is 10″ tall
- Sings “If You’re Happy And You Know It.”
- The best part? It claps hands and ears along with the song!
3) From $65 Joy for All Pet Companion robotic cat, kitten, or pup (use code HOLIDAY at Joy For All to save $15)
- Lifelike and engaging as well as cute and cuddly soft
- It can purr, meow, move, and respond in realistic ways when petted or hugged
- Battery powered
- Find out more in our review
4) From $15 Therapy dolls
- Help seniors feel useful and needed and give them something positive to focus on
- Bring back happy memories of early parenthood for both women and men
- Ease feelings of isolation and sadness because they have someone to care for
- Find out more about the positive effect of therapy dolls for dementia
- $15 Lissi Dolls 14 inch Interactive Baby with Accessories – fair skin, says Mama and Papa and giggles, laughs, and cries
- $20 My Sweet Love 18 inch Doll with Plush Bunny & Accessories – fair skin
- $20 JC Toys doll (16 inches tall) – Hispanic
- $25 JC Toys doll (20 inches tall) – African American
- $30 JC Toys doll (20 inches tall) – Caucasian
- $32 Unisex baby doll (16 inches tall) – fair skin
- $33 JC Toys doll (20 inches tall) – Asian
7 entertaining picture books that bring back the joy of reading
1) $6 1950s Memory Lane
- With large print, short easy-to-follow paragraphs, and plenty of illustrations, this book looks at everyday life in the 1950s in the USA and Britain
- It’s intended to help stimulate long-term memories of those who lived through the 1950s, with sections on music, films, fashion, sport, holidays, and more
2) From $10 DIY custom photo storybook
- Create a custom photo book and add text to tell a simple story
- Use photos of people, places, things, hobbies, or activities that have special meaning to create a book they’ll love to flip through
- This beautiful picture book will capture their attention, engage their mind, and encourage them to relax
- Each natural wonder is accompanied by its name and location
4) $10 The Fabulous Flower Book
- To avoid upsetting the reader, this book doesn’t mention anything about Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- Contains 40 different pages of different types of lovely flowers
- Hardcover books with thick, easy-to-turn pages
- Each book has large beautiful pictures of all kinds of dogs or cats
- Realistic illustrations
- A simple, adult picture book with beautiful, realistic photographs and large, easy-to-read captions
7) $28 Two-Lap Books: Read-Aloud Books for Memory-Challenged Adults
These books encourage shared reading, reminiscence, and conversation through large, simple text and colorful illustrations about universally appealing activities
6 practical gifts that make life easier
1) Specialized clothing for dementia needs
- Prevent spontaneous undressing with stylish back-zip jumpsuits (some even look like 2 piece outfits) – for women and men
- Make dressing easier with soft fabrics and easy-to-use Velcro, snap, and zip closures – for women and men
- Practical, stylish, and comfortable
- Being able to keep track of time and date decreases confusion and helps seniors stay oriented and engaged with the world
- This jumbo calendar (17 x 22 inches) is easy to see and understand and has plenty of space for making notes about appointments or special events
- In Alzheimer’s patients, red color dining ware is found to increase food intake by 24% and liquid intake by 84%
- This set includes cup, inner lip plate, partitioned plate with lid, and adaptive grip fork and spoon
- Being able to keep track of time and date decreases confusion and helps seniors stay oriented and engaged with the world
- This clock clearly spells out the time, period of the day, full day of the week, month and date
- The display has large, clear letters with no confusing abbreviations
- The words dementia, Alzheimer’s, and memory loss are intentionally excluded from the packaging, making it a great gift
- Award-winning assistive tableware set for users with cognitive, motor and physical impairments
- Designed to increase appetite and reduce visual confusion
- Encourages independent eating and reduces the burden on caregivers
- Added stability helps prevent spills and dropped foods
- Find out more about this set
- This AM/FM radio is specially designed to be completely controlled by one button
- Remove the front panel to select the preferred AM or FM station and set the volume.
- Remove and store the control knob and store it in the rear compartment to prevent adjustment
- Once the initial set up has been completed, the user simply pushes the button to turn the radio on and pushes the same button to turn the radio off.
- Music can also be downloaded and played using a USB memory stick (MP3 format only). When using a USB stick, the front cover panel will remain off.
Recommended for you:
- The Big List of Gift Ideas for Seniors
- 7 Wonderful Gifts for Senior Women
- 8 Great Gifts for Senior Men
- Best Way to Make Video Calls to Seniors with Alzheimer’s or Dementia in Nursing Homes
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: SPC Care Homes
This article wasn’t sponsored, but does contain affiliate links. All prices quoted were checked shortly before publication, but prices change often and might not match what is found online. We never link to products for the sole purpose of making a commission. Product recommendations are based on our honest opinions. For more information, see How We Make Money.