Trying to establish the perfect gift for your elderly relative can sometimes be more challenging than we might think. Whether they have particular tastes, they have more possessions than they know what to do with or they insist that they don’t want anything; it can be hard to find a gift that we know they will love.
But there are many ways that we can make them feel special. Practicality is often key when buying gifts for an elderly loved one, so that they have a tool that they can use regularly to enhance their day-to-day life. We’ve put together a short gift-guide to give you some ideas on how to make your loved one feel extra special.
1. Digital Photo Frame
A digital photo frame is a fantastic tool for your loved one to display all their favourite photographs without taking up any extra space. You can load a number of photographs into a memory card to place into the photo frame, which will then display each photograph in a slideshow, and you can even add new photos to the frame using WiFi connection. This can be a really special gift if your loved one is living with dementia, as it will offer a daily reminder to their most precious memories.
2. Smart Watch
If your loved one is quite tech-savvy, a smart watch is a really useful tool to keep an eye on their health. Most devices will track your heart rate and number of steps and will also allow you to keep a food diary on its associated app so that you can keep an eye on your nutrition, such as salt and sugar intake.
3. Memory Scrapbook
Lots of elderly people, particularly parents and grandparents, love to receive sentimental gifts. You can create a memory scrapbook including old photos, receipts from days out, theatre tickets and even funny things that have been said in conversation that they can look back on and remember the lovely times you spent together. This can be especially important if your loved one is living with dementia, as the scrapbook will act as a personal biography to enhance their sense of identity.
4. Mixed Tape
You can bring back fond memories for your loved one by creating a personalised CD or cassette tape of all of their favourite songs. Whether it is a song they sang with their parents as a child, their wedding song or simply a piece of music that reminds you of them, a mixed tape is a perfect sentimental gift that will remind your loved one of you every time they play it and bring back happy memories all at the same time. If your loved one is living with dementia, the music of their past can also help to ‘unlock’ certain memories in their brain.
5. Soft Furnishings
When in doubt, a home comfort such as a soft cushion or a fleeced blanket are always a lovely gift. These extra little features can bring a little brightness to their living room or add an extra layer of warmth for the winter months. If your loved one is living with Alzheimer’s, soft textures can be soothing for them to have between their hands if they are feeling restless, so a soft blanket or a ‘fiddle toy’ would be a perfect gift for them to use when they need something to keep their hands busy.
6. Reed Diffuser
Our sense of smell triggers strong emotions and happy memories from the past, meaning that a reed diffuser could be an ideal gift for your loved one. Whether they love the spicy smells of Christmas, the fruity flavours of spring or the soothing scent of lavender, reed diffusers are available in an abundance of different smells that can keep your loved one calm at home.
7. Brain Games
‘Brain games’ are fantastic tools to keep an elderly mind active, and can also help those living with dementia to get on better with their daily activities. Whether this is a sudoku puzzle book, a crossword book or a jigsaw puzzle, it’s a perfect way to keep your loved one busy and it is also an enjoyable family activity!
8. Adult Colouring Books
Adult colouring books have became a popular phenomenon in the last five years, and research suggests that they are beneficial for those living with mental health conditions. The research suggested that, in addition to the nostalgic qualities of colouring books, the mindful or meditative state of colouring means that it can be an easily accessible self-help tool for mental health conditions such as anxiety.
9. Experience Gift Cards
If your loved one insists that they don’t want a gift because they don’t need anything, why not take them out on an experience day instead? Whether you enjoy an afternoon tea in a stately home, a day out at the nail salon or an art exhibition, it gives your loved one an opportunity to go out and about, as well as having something to look forward to that is out of their usual daily routine.
The stories within the pages of a book can be a powerful tool to help us live our own private adventures, and for those living with dementia, books can also be important to help them understand the sense of identity that they may have lost. However, various conditions and the inevitable signs of aging can affect our eyesight, meaning that reading through the small print of a book isn’t always as easy as it once was. eBook devices allow you to download a number of books onto one small device where you can manipulate the text size on the page and even download audiobooks, so your loved one can enjoy their favourite story being told directly to them.