In New Zealand, there are currently around 70,000 people living with dementia. This is expected to increase by more than 100% in the next 50 years. The likelihood of being affected increases significantly with age, and seniors are far more likely to be diagnosed after the age of 65. There are little things that can be done to support someone with dementia in their everyday life and help them maintain their independence. Take a look at our range of carefully selected gifts for someone with dementia and find your perfect gift.
When looking for gifts for someone with dementia, especially gifts that you intend to be of aid to them in their daily lives, it is important to understand how the symptoms of dementia are likely to affect them.
In most - if not all - dementia cases, cognitive symptoms will be present. These include day-to-day memory loss: recollection of recent events becomes tricky, even if the past can be described in great detail. Concentration is affected in a number of ways, from planning and organisation, to struggling with problem-solving, decision making, and completing multi-step tasks in sequence such as preparing dinner. Dementia patients may experience language and conversational setbacks, finding it harder to follow a conversation or not being able to think of the word they're trying to say. Orientation issues can occur, whether that is not keeping up with the days of the week or what the date is, or becoming confused about where they are. Visuospatial awareness may also become difficult, such as being able to judge distance or see in 3D.
Someone with dementia is highly likely to also experience mood swings or changes to their mood on a more permanent basis. They might become frustrated and irritable or even withdrawn and apathetic. It is not uncommon for dementia patients to experience feeling anxious, getting easily upset, or unusually sad either. Some types of dementia cause visual hallucinations and delusions. Behaviours which may seem out of character or unusual could also develop, such as repeating the same question over and over again, or restlessness - most commonly displayed as fidgeting or pacing.
Throughout the later stages of dementia, physical symptoms may also begin to develop. These can include muscle weakness and weight loss as well as changes in both appetite and sleeping patterns. This can make things like maintaining a comfortable and consistent temperature, and intricate tasks such as buttons and zips more difficult. We have a selection of adaptive clothing, with little to no fiddly buttons or zips, that can easily be put on and taken off. All of which can be fully personalised with patterns, photos, and designs, to produce something stunning that you just know they're going to love.
Choosing the right gift can help to support and comfort your loved one. The first step is picking which kind of dementia gifts you would like, from clothing to day-to-day items to games and puzzles.
Day to day memory problems are most commonly the first noticeable dementia symptom with Alzheimer's patients, as well as with some other forms of dementia. Other common signs are struggling to find the right words to use in a conversation, difficulties with problem-solving and decision making, and being unable to see in 3D. We have a number of memory-prompting dementia gifts, to remind someone what is in each cupboard or drawer, when to take their medications, or even what time, date, or day it is. We also have a selection of gifts for dementia patients that are designed to prompt memories and encourage reminiscence like our memory blanket.
Difficulties with problem-solving and planning, as well as quick thinking and concentration are most common with vascular dementia. For those patients we have selected jigsaws, stands for aiding reading and playing with devices, and you can even make your own storybook featuring your very own characters and plot. These great gifts for someone with dementia are designed to help problem solving and concentration.
Some early-stage symptomology of dementia includes a level of alertness which varies across the course of the day, as well as hallucinations, and problems judging distances particularly with Lewy Bodies Dementia. We have chosen various comforting gifts from blankets and pillows to bathmats and seat pads to help raise someone up or to make them more comfortable in certain seats. We also have mugs, plates, bowls, and more, made from high quality, shatterproof Stonemax. We even have clothes protectors and so much more. Gifts for someone with dementia are aimed at making day to day living that little bit easier. With kitchen, dining, and seating aids, you can help a dementia patient with their everyday life, in a more personal way.
You may find struggles with speech, fluent conversation, and forgetting what some words mean, especially with frontotemporal dementia. Gifts for someone with dementia which help with words would be great. Design postcards to use as flashcards containing the most frequently forgotten words, or create your own story that incorporates those words and uses them in context.
Personalised gifts can also give emotional comfort. Our customer Pauline selected photo blankets for her mother and mother-in-law, both of whom are dementia patients. She told us, "Conversation is difficult and there is very little they want to do. These blankets are ideal because they are kept with them and the pictures bring back memories not only for them but for us as well. Both blankets are full of THEIR memories not ours and it's great reliving the past with them.".
Knowing what we now know about dementia and how it affects those who experience it, we are able to make more informed decisions when it comes to choosing gifts for dementia patients. What's more, every single one of our gifts is handmade to order and personalised by you. If you want gifts that mean the world to someone with dementia, then you need to be able to tailor that present to their world.