WARNING ABOUT GIFTS:
For the home care situation, it is recommended that the person wishing to purchase a gift to first ask the family member for recommendations. Decorations, candy, food items can be harmful and should never be given without the family members approval. There are items that they may really need and all though some gifts may not be regarded as glamorous may be a necessity for the person with dementia.
Now is the time to educate your staff and family members about holiday gifts. Take the time to mail letters to the family, post on the company web site and place articles in your facility newsletters that address appropriate gifts. Provide lists of recommendations for gifts. For hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living, nothing should ever be brought on to the unit without the unit manager’s approval and this includes everything! For example, small decorations, candy and nuts may pose a choking hazard. Some plants are toxic. Contrary to popular belief Poinsettias plants are NOT poisonous. Another thing to remember is the person receiving the gift may not have potential harmful issues related to the gift but there are residents who may wander into a residents’ room and those items may pose a threat. All food items family members bring on to the unit must be in a tin can and labeled with the name of the food item and the date. Always abide by the facility rules for storing of food. Family member’s and visitors should take all food items to the nurse’s station for approval before bringing to a resident or leaving in a resident room.
Gift Suggestions for the Holiday for Person’s with Dementia-
Every year we receive numerous emails and phone calls asking the NCCDP, “what are appropriate holiday gifts to give a person with dementia?” We would like to answer this in two fold. First, are holiday gift recommendations to give to a loved one who is living in a facility or private home. Secondly, suggested recommendations for gifts you could give to the care giver, especially if this is an elderly caregiver living at home alone.
For the residents living in nursing homes or assisted living (or home care) these are some recommendations:
Perfume / cologne that they have worn in the past
Powder & hand lotions (Do not give powder to anyone with COPD)
Make up (Their preference)
Costume Jewelry (Be aware of choking hazards with long necklaces)
Loose fitting clothes (always ask their size and color choice)
Loose fitting night gowns
DVD / CD’s
IPODs, IPADS, Kindle
Gift Certificates to ITUNES
Bird Feeders, Hanger / Stand and Bird Seed for outside their room window
Fake fish tanks with fake fish for their room or day room
Terrariums enclosed with plants (These require little watering)
Pictures of families
Video’s of special events such as weddings, graduations, new babies
Pretty frames for wall or dresser
Paintings for the wall
Photo albums with loved ones families
Electronic Photo Albums
Netflix Gift Certificate
Build a bear with a recording of the loved ones voice and special message
Body Pillows with your loved one’s scent (cologne / perfume) on pillow will provide comfort
Crafts and art supplies that the family recommends and nurse approves
The activity department always welcome cash donations and other donations such as: fish tanks, pets, videos, music, craft supplies, costume jewelry, Bingo Prizes, cash for entertainers and trips, candy, costume jewelry, money for crafts and horticulture projects, etc.,
Please remember the caregivers who would also enjoy gifts and assistance for the holidays. Here are some recommendations.
Don’t ask for them to call you when they need help, because they won’t.
Call them weekly, or check in often with phone calls, emails, Text messages, Face book etc.
Plan holiday celebrations at your house and provide something for them to contribute if they wish to help. Example a simple dish or a family favorite dish or desert they are known for.
Ask to do their holiday shopping for them or purchase their gift cards they are giving to others
Take them to the store
Gift wrap their presents for them
Add to prayer list
Invite on outings
Provide a lift to church
Be a good listener and offer encouragement and support
Grocery shop for them weekly
Save your coupons and provide to the Caregiver
Mow their grass, weed and plant flowers. If you are planting bulbs plant bulbs for them as well. Imagine their delight in the spring time.
Assist with house cleaning and laundry or pay for a housekeeping service monthly
Assist with bills paying. Maybe they need help with filling out the check or paying bills on line or balancing their check book. Pay for the accountant at tax time.
Bring a covered dish that would be a real treat. If you can afford a service, pay for a weekly meal delivery service.
Wash their car
Bad weather: Provide an emergency kit such as batteries, flash light, battery radio, some cash, staples, water.
Check the batteries in their smoke detector and other detectors
Clean out their gutters if storm coming
Rake their leaves and weed their garden or in the fall
Provide mulch for yard and mow their grass
Clean snow from car and driveways and walkways
Empty their trash daily
Provide a weekly ride to support services / support groups
If you walk, encourage them to walk with you daily
Provide respite services for an hour or two for them to get their hair done or go to church
If their loved one is a wanderer pay for Project Life Saver
Provide gift certificate for the grocery Store, Wall Mart, Target, Costco, Sam’s, Macy’s, Sears, etc.,
Provide gift certificates for magazines
Sign up with a catalogue for books of month, wine, fruit or nuts that come monthly.
Provide gift certificate to gym
Provide gift certificates to favorite restaurant
Nonskid socks and slippers
New gloves and scarf
Purchase their favorite perfume or cologne
Stamps and stationary
Gift certificate for gas
Gift certificates for favorite dollar store
Gift certificates for favorite salon at haircut manicure and pedicure
Gift certificate for Massage
Provide American Express/ Visa/ Master Card and / or Discover credit card gift certificate