Gift guide for people living with dementia

Choosing gifts for your family and friends can be tricky at the best of times, but when you’re buying a gift for a person living with dementia, it can be a bit more complicated, so don’t worry if you’re not sure what to buy straight away.

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To give you some ideas and inspiration, we have put together this gift guide in the hope it helps you avoid that last minute shopping!

Twiddle muff

Twiddle muffs are knitted muffs with interesting bits and bobs attached to both the inside and the outside. People living with dementia can often have restless hands and like to have something to keep their hands occupied, which is where twiddle muffs come in. They provide a wonderful source of visual and sensory stimulation as well as encouraging movement and brain stimulation. Many people also find twiddle muffs comforting and therapeutic.

The best bit about gifting someone a twiddle muff is that you can make it yourself! Why not test your knitting skills and really personalise their gift?

Favourite smells

Did you know that out of our 5 senses, smell has the strongest and most direct connection to your memory? You catch a whiff of fresh-cut grass and suddenly you’re immersed in a flurry of memories, often from your childhood. Well it’s the same for people living with dementia. Smell has the ability to conjure up distant yet vivid memories, a powerful stimulant for people with dementia.

So whether you treat someone to their favourite perfume, aftershave or room spray, it’s a fantastic way to trigger memories.

Reminiscence book

Everyone loves to reminisce and one of the most popular ways to do this is through pictures. We’ve all been transported back to a certain time and place just by looking at an old photo, so why not dig out some old magazines or childhood photos and create your own book? This is a lovely gift as you can really personalise it to the person who you’re buying for.

Although if you don’t fancy getting crafty, there’s lots of websites that sell beautifully illustrated reminiscence books designed to trigger personal interests. Active minds specialise in reminiscence books for people living with dementia.

Simple music player

If someone has dementia, hearing music that has been meaningful in their life can make them feel better. Music has the power to bring back memories of family life, childhood, their parents and much much more. It has also been found to help relieve some symptoms of dementia, including anxiety and agitation.

The simple music player was designed specifically for those with dementia. It is extremely easy to use and the volume is set by family members or carers and can’t accidently be changed. You select the songs yourself and download them onto the music player using a USB, meaning you can choose the songs that they most enjoy.

Call to Mind board game

Board games are a classic family favourite. What better way to spend an evening than sat around a good board game with a cup of tea and some treats?

This is how Call to Mind came about. Call to Mind is the worlds first ever dementia board game. It was created by Angela Newton, an occupational therapist working in elderly care, in conjunction with University College London’s Professor of Psychiatry of Older People, Gill Livingson.

The game is designed to help the person living with dementia to connect with, and to recall, positive personal memories, inspiring conversations and make it easier for them to enjoy quality time with family, friends and carers across all generations. It is really easy to use and can be enjoyed by everyone. Simply spin the spinner and choose 1 of 4 coloured cards, matching an image and answering a question. It’s not necessary for the full game to be played in order to enjoy or benefit from it either, so it may not take as long as Monopoly!

Happy days dementia workshop

Happy days is a website full of creative resources for people living with dementia, their families, friends and carers. It is full of fantastic gifts, one of which is the themed memory baskets.

The themed memory baskets are packed with nostalgic and tactile items can help all the family engage and reminisce with a relative who is living with dementia. Thoughtfully created by Happy Days Dementia Workshop; Around the1950’s, By the Seaside, Make Do & Mend, Glorious Gardening, Knit & Stitch, Sports & Hobbies are just some of the titles available. From mushroom darners to sixties gadgets, memory boxes also contain a wealth of replica memorabilia, photographs and postcards to help families prompt fond memories of places, events and everyday living.

Another great gift would be the memory jogger life story. This is ideal for helping your loved one record life’s stories, interests and favourites. A colourful collection of response pages to share with family members, visitors and carers. Makes a lovely keepsake. Ideal to take into hospital or residential care so that care teams really get to know your relative.

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