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Gifts for People with Dementia

teddy bearAs the holiday season continues on, the Lehigh Valley is seeking to bury our troubled times in a blanket of festive displays and activities, including the requisite holiday shopping.

Holiday and other gift shopping can be fun but difficult at times, depending upon the intended recipient. Gifts can be frivolous or useful, disposable or of lifelong value. Shopping for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia can be especially difficult, because you may feel inadequate to discern what the person would like or can use, or you may think the person won’t recognize or understand the gift. Finding that “perfect gift” may take some extra thought and creativity, and memory-care experts have provided guidelines to give direction to your holiday shopping for that very special someone. You should always check with their healthcare provider who can evaluate their abilities and safety concerns.

Because exercise benefits both body and mind, a gift that inspires physical activity makes a lot of sense. Anything from a new pair of sneakers to stretching exercise bands to workout machines can keep them going. Remember to consider the abilities of the recipient and their safety! Ask their doctor before buying!

Gifts that make their life easier, such as medicine reminders, interactive calendars, and even an Amazon echo or similar device that responds to their voice, are appropriate.

Research shows that, although a person’s memory may fail at times, they can still recall feelings associated with events and people. Do you or the recipient have a family photo album or other collection of pictures and souvenirs? Perhaps a travel book displaying their favorite vacation (or dream vacation) spots will make them smile. Talk about the good times and see how they respond!

Simple gifts that inspire the creative side of a loved one would be most welcome. Simple (and safe!) crafting materials, colored pencils, crayons, markers, and maybe paint-by-numbers kits, can bring out the artist in your loved one (with the proper encouragement, even if the “horsie” looks like an elephant!).

Everybody likes to be entertained. In this age of social distancing and virtual living, many venues in the Lehigh Valley are offering online concerts and other shows. Of course, you could stage your own “concert” with their favorite recording, or watch a favorite, light-hearted movie or TV show to bring out some joy.

Then there are the usual “comfort” items: stuffed toys, snacks, favorite foods that don’t require cooking, fuzzy hats or jammies — whatever is cozy!

Remember, the best gift is always the gift of time! Talk, sing, bake, draw, laugh, and dance together! Make new memories!

South Mountain Memory Care focuses on high-quality, personalized care. The brand new building is a stand-alone memory care community, meaning that the entire building, staff, and programs are designed to serve residents with cognitive issues. To ensure person-centered care and attention, we have accommodations for up to 28 residents. The building is divided into two neighborhoods (wings), each offering 10 private suites and 2 semi-private suites. South Mountain Memory Care is located in the Allentown suburb of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, and it is easily accessible from the Lehigh Valley, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. For more information, go to

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