People with Alzheimer’s disease walk a difficult road, and their caregivers, especially family and close friends, do not have an easy journey, either. The holiday season is a perfect time to show appreciation for them, and to present them with something special that will ease at least part of the burden they carry. Asking the caregiver/family members about what might be appropriate is a good idea. Also, here are some gift suggestions from the Alzheimer’s Association (ALZ, alz.org) and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA, alzfdn.org):
Simple things. On their list of suggestions, the Alzheimer’s Association includes, soap on a rope, a long-handled shower brush, a pretty night light, or non-stinging shampoo. These might not seem glitzy, but they can be much appreciated because they make personal grooming easier.
Art supplies and music. Where memory fails and self-expression becomes problematic, time spent in creative activities can sometimes bridge the gap. Your gift of brushes and non-toxic paint, or a recording of music that can evoke a time when memory was more intact, along with the time you spend together with the person with Alzheimer’s can enrich both of your lives.
Clothing. ALZ recommends easy-to-remove clothing in comfortable, machine washable fabrics, slipper socks with non-skid soles, leg warmers, and a brightly-colored cardigan sweater and possible clothing options that are also comfortable.
Pictures from the past. A personal photo album that includes family, friends, vacations and other treasured times, is a wonderful gift and can be enjoyed with the person with Alzheimer’s and the whole family.
Time. “The greatest gift you can give a caregiver is the gift of time,” says Carol Steinberg, President of AFA. “Volunteering to visit someone with Alzheimer’s so that a full-time caregiver can get some respite and take care of their own health, or even just take a walk, knowing their loved one is in safe hands is an incredible gift of kindness.”