Browse 8 categories of holiday gifts for people with dementia
To make it easier to browse these gift ideas for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia, click these links below to jump directly to one of the eight categories on this page or keep scrolling to browse the full list.
5 innovative technology gifts that keep them connected
1) Amazon Echo Show “Alexa” voice assistant with video calling $45 The Amazon Echo Show is an Alexa personal voice assistant with a video screen. It’s similar to the Echo or Echo Dot, with the addition of a video screen.
To make video calls without your older adult needing to take action to accept the call, use the Echo’s “drop in” feature. There are several types of these devices at different price points based on screen size, camera quality, and release date.
2) Amazon Echo (4th Gen) “Alexa” voice assistant with voice calling $100 This hands-free, voice-controlled device makes voice calls, plays music, gives weather reports, reads the news, answers questions, tells jokes, reads audiobooks, checks sports scores, and more.
3) Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) “Alexa” voice assistant with voice calling $35 The Echo Dot is the smaller size, more affordable “little sibling” to the Amazon Echo.
It can do everything the Echo does, but has less powerful speakers and microphones.
4) ViewClix Smart Frame from $200 These smart picture frames display digital photos in a 10-inch screen size ($200) or 15-inch screen size ($300).
Both sizes have video calling with an auto-answer mode. When auto-answer is set up, the older adult doesn’t need to do anything to receive a video call.
This is especially helpful for making video calls to someone with dementia or who isn’t able to physically answer a call.
Tip: When choosing a screen size, think about your family member’s vision: is it poor or starting to decline? If so, go with the largest screen size that your budget allows.
We discuss the ViewClix Smart Frame in greater detail here.
5) RAZ Memory Cell Phone, $309 + monthly service This dementia-friendly mobile phone is a cell phone that someone with cognitive impairment can actually use.
It has a single screen that never turns off, calling by picture, and emergency services.
It also has an optional alternative service that answers emergency calls if someone with dementia frequently makes unwanted 911 calls.
8 fun, specially-designed puzzles and activities
1) Keeping Busy puzzles and activities for Alzheimer’s and Dementia These wonderful, non-childish, age-appropriate activities come with instructions on how to present the activity to ensure that the person with dementia feels a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
They’re also tested with seniors at different stages of dementia to ensure that the activities are enjoyable and well-suited for various ability levels.
Easy Number Bingo $15 Play simplified games of bingo, an activity that everyone loves, quickly and easily with no real setup necessary.
Sequenced Crossword $20 The sequencing system, clue guides, and word lists help the person with dementia complete the puzzle successfully.
Match The Chips $20 Multi-colored poker chips and color templates provide a variety of sorting and matching activities. This game offers cognitive challenge and helps with dexterity and fine motor skills.
Eastern Woodlands – 35 Piece Sequenced Jigsaw Puzzle $23 The unique color coding on the pieces and tray help guide someone with dementia to successfully complete the puzzle on their own.
Match The Shapes Low Vision Edition $30 36 brightly colored tiles draw the person’s attention and offer tactile stimulation. The large colored templates with wide spacing provide guidance and help the person with dementia be successful.
2) Activity and puzzle books for Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Grandma & Grandpa’s Word Searches Volume 1 and Volume 2 $6 Each volume of this activity book has 27 simple, large-print word searches designed for people with cognitive impairment. There are only horizontal words, no diagonal ones.
The Fun and Relaxing Adult Activity Book $8 This book is full of easy puzzles, brain games, writing activities and coloring pages. Some of the puzzles include crosswords, word searches, mazes, find the differences, trivia, and more.
The Fun and Easy Memory Activity Book for Adults $8 This activity book includes a selection of activities, puzzles, and games that target short-term and long-term memory as well as easy puzzles and brain games.
Little Moments of Joy Adult Activity Book $8 Another fantastic book packed full of entertaining activities including easy puzzles, brain games, writing activities, and coloring pages.
Easy Relaxing Puzzles $8 This fun puzzle book has simple instructions, large print, and clear pictures. It includes extra-easy Spot the Odd One Out puzzles, simple-to-solve mazes, large-print word search puzzles, and Find the Differences puzzles.
Delightful! Easy Puzzles, Memory Activities and Brain Games for Adults $10 This activity book has large print and easy-to-see images. It includes classic puzzles like word searches, Find the Differences, mazes, sudoku, and Spot the Odd One Out. It also includes fun memory activities and brain games.
3) Recreate handy hobbies Help someone recreate memories of past projects with these tool-based activities.
Melissa & Doug Latches Board $16 Keep busy hands occupied with latches that hook, snap, click, and slide.
MEROCO Montessori Screw Driver Board $24 Practice using two different tools to remove and re-insert five different screws.
Fidget Block and Tool Kit $60 Use a small screwdriver, open end hexagonal wrench, and allen wrench by removing and re-inserting eight screws. The set comes with a beautiful tool case.
4) Encourage creative expression with simple art activities
Extra soft, reusable, non-toxic modeling clay $10 These colorful clays won’t dry out, no matter how much they’re used or if they’re accidentally left out. Cleanup is easy too. There’s no tacky residue that sticks to hands, fingers, and clothing.
Relish Aquapaint Water Painting Packs $23 These painting packs each include 5 vibrant images. Use plain water to “paint” these colorful paintings and give a sense of accomplishment. The color fades as the paper dries so they can be used over and over again.
5) Enjoy block puzzles and free-form building
Bristle Blocks by Battat – 112 Pieces $13 These blocks have soft, interlocking bristles that stick together at any angle for frustration-free building.
Vanmor Wooden Tangram Pattern Blocks Set, 60 Design Cards with 120 Patterns $15 This tangram set includes 7 different color and shape wooden blocks and 60 double-sided pattern cards with 120 different numbers, letters, geometric figures, and animal shape cards. It all comes in a handy tin storage box.
6) Springbok Puzzles to Remember, from $13 Springbok has designed 36 and 100 piece jigsaw puzzles in a wide variety of beautiful designs for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The large pieces are easier to grip and see and the pictures are vibrant and artistic – not at all childish.
7) Relish Magnetic “Puzzles,” $25 These puzzles are designed for people unable to do traditional puzzles. They’re an alternative with the same level of satisfaction and without the stress of getting it wrong.
In these puzzles, people create their own scene using a set of magnetic pieces that can be placed on the background board.
8) Portrait Puzzles custom photo puzzle $30 Use your own photo to create a custom 30 piece custom jigsaw puzzle, 16 x 20 inch size. These puzzles are designed for people with reduced vision, low mobility, and cognitive impairment.
5 activities that give a sense of accomplishment
1) Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Activity Set: Pets $9 This lacing activity is especially great for someone who enjoyed sewing. This kit includes 5 fun animal pictures that make it fun and easy to “sew” along the holes at the edges.
2) Coogam 32 Piece Jumbo Nuts and Bolts Set $10 This set includes brightly colored plastic nuts and bolts in 4 shapes and 4 colors. Enjoy hours of safe fun by attaching and detaching the nuts and bolts or sorting by color or shape.
3) Melissa & Doug Primary Lacing Beads $12 Large wooden beads with oversized holes are perfect for lacing. This set includes 30 brightly colored wooden beads in different shapes and 2 colorful lacing strings in a wooden storage case. Tip: Buy colorful shoelaces if you need more lacing strings.
4) Melissa & Doug Wooden 24-piece Tool Box $14 This 24-piece set includes wooden tools, nails, screws, nuts, and bolts.
5) Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards $17 These fun shapes can be used in a variety of ways. Use the included boards to create colorful pictures, make free form shapes, or trace the shapes on paper.
7 gifts that comfort and soothe seniors who are anxious or fidgety
1) Tangle Jr. Textured Sensory Fidget Toy $10 This fun twisty fidget toy has a variety of textures and colors for tactile and visual sensory stimulation. It’s silent and calming to use so it won’t disrupt or disturb others.
2) Pro-Tec Spiky Massage Ball $10 This 3-inch diameter ball has a gently spiky outer layer that gives a massage effect.
3) WQFXYZ Pop Push It Bubble Fidget Sensory Toy $14 Press the bubbles to make a slight popping sound. Then, flip it over and start over. This handy fidget toy is easy to clean and reuse.
4) Fidget quilts and soft items These comforting items give nervous hands something safe and soothing to fiddle with.
From Handmade fidget quilts $55 in a wide variety of themes and designs, custom designs upon request
5) Busy Fingers Weighted Fidget Lap Pad with 3 Activity Panels $44 This plush weighted pillow provides soothing pressure and calming benefits. Activity panels include: find hidden objects in the pellets, push a marble through a maze, or twirl and stretch fun colored coils.
6) Weighted blankets Weighted blankets have been scientifically proven to relieve distress and anxiety. They’re especially helpful for soothing people with Alzheimer’s or dementia – day or night.
Everspread Weighted Blanket– 5 lbs, 34 x 48 inches $27
ZZZhen Weighted Blanket– 15 lbs, 48 x 72 inches $28
Hypnoser Adult Weighted Blanket– 20 lbs, 60 x 80 inches $36
Weighted Blanket– 12 lbs, 60 x 80 inches $50
YnM Weighted Blanket– 15 lbs, 48 x 72 inches $50
Weighted Idea Cooling Weighted Blanket– 15 lbs, 48 x 78 inches $56
Sivio Weighted Blanket– 20 lbs, 60 x 80 inches $75
RELAX EDEN Weighted Blanket W/Removable, Washable Duvet Cover– blankets from 5 to 20 pounds. From $40
Note: We’ve also got DIY weighted blanket instructions here.
7) Custom photo blankets These cozy blankets help seniors stay warm and cozy while keeping familiar faces nearby.
4 gifts that seniors can cuddle and care for
2) My Little Puppy singing plush puppy $32 This soft, cuddly puppy is 10 inches tall and sings “If You’re Happy And You Know It.” The best part is that it claps its hands and ears along with the song!
3) Joy for All Pet Companion robotic cat or puppy. From $125 These lifelike and engaging pets are cute and cuddly soft. They’re battery powered and can purr, meow, bark, move, and respond in realistic ways when petted or hugged. Find out more in our review here.
4) Therapy dolls Therapy dolls can provide comfort and help seniors feel useful and needed because they have something positive to focus on.
Dolls can also bring back happy memories of early parenthood for both women and men. They can also ease feelings of isolation and sadness because they have someone to love and care for.
Find out more about the positive effect of therapy dolls for dementia here.
Lissi Dolls 14 inch Interactive Baby with Accessories – fair skin, says Mama and Papa and giggles, laughs, and cries $20
My Sweet Love 18 inch Doll with Plush Bunny & Accessories– Caucasian and African American $20
Unisex baby doll, 16 inch - fair skin $36
Unisex baby doll, 16 inch – deep skin. $36
9 simple, entertaining books that bring back the joy of reading
1) Sunny Street Books – books designed specifically for dementia, $10 Each of these beautiful 40-page picture books will capture their attention, engage their mind, and encourage them to relax.
Each book has large photos accompanied by brief, large-print text captions.
2) Jamie Stonebridge Large-print Fiction for Seniors with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Stroke, $11 In these books, each chapter starts with a photo that’s relevant to the story and gives the reader a helpful visual prompt.
Large print and short paragraphs make it easy to read. Readers don’t need to struggle with long paragraphs or feel overwhelmed by long chapters or confusing words.
A Day At The Beach – enjoy the sunlight on your face, the feeling of soft sand, and the gentle surf in this story full of happy memories and experiences of a summer’s day at the beach
An Autumn Adventure – gentle story about a family visit
A Day At The Park – a grandmother spends a wonderful day at the park with her granddaughter feeding ducks, playing games, sharing a picnic, and meeting a new friend
A Summer Walk – enjoy a friendly, gentle walk in this calming book about a summer’s day full of pleasant experiences
A Visit To The Farm – experience the sights and sounds of a working farm and enjoy spending time with animals
Trip To The Lake – go on a trip to the lake and go sailing
A Visit To The Library – rediscover the joy of visiting the local library
Family Thanksgiving – remembering the simple pleasures of good food and good company, this book celebrates Thanksgiving, but is also enjoyable at any time of the year
The Best Christmas (color edition) – share in the festive mood with this delightful story about spending time with family during the Christmas season
3) Soothing Picture Books for the Heart and Soul (50 book series, sold separately) from Lasting Happiness, $10 Each of these picture books (sold separately) are designed with dementia in mind. Themes include animals, nature, babies, farm life, holidays, and smiling children.
There’s no mention of Alzheimer’s or dementia on the cover and each book has calming full-color photos and 1 to 6 words on each page in large print.
See all 50 Soothing Picture Books for the Heart and Soul listed here.
4) Emma Rose Sparrow books for different levels of dementia, from $12 The author was inspired to write these books after both parents were diagnosed with dementia. Offered in 3 different levels, each book is formatted to be easy to read, doesn’t mention dementia or cognitive impairment, and looks just like a “real” book.
Level 3: Short stories, formatted to appear as a ‘regular book’. Each book has a pleasant and interesting story with a touch of humor thrown in. Features include: Larger text, short chapters, short paragraphs, extra white space, color photos that give visual clues to the subject.
Level 2: One large color photo with 1 to 2 short, large-print sentences below. Each page is independent of the other. Each book in this series focuses on a specific color. With titles like A Year’s Worth of Yellow and A Gathering of Green, the reader will have a full “real” book experience.
Level 1: For book lovers who have reached a point of not being able to read words, but still love to hold and flip through a book. These are colorful picture books without any text, designed for adults.
See all Emma Rose Sparrow books listed here.
5) Animal- and nature-themed picture books, $10 These wonderful, calming picture books are perfect for everyone, but especially great for animal and nature lovers.
The Calming Cat Book – 40 pages of different species of cats
The Delightful Dog Book – 40 pages of different species of dogs
The Fabulous Flower Book – 40 pages of beautiful flowers
6) Two-Lap Books: Read-Aloud Books for Memory-Challenged Adults, $28 These books encourage shared reading, reminiscence, and conversation through large, simple text and colorful illustrations about universally appealing activities.
7) Blue Sky, White Clouds: A Book for Memory-Challenged Adults $20 This is a simple picture book for adults with beautiful, realistic photographs and large, easy-to-read captions.
8) 1950s Memory Lane $6 This book is intended to help stimulate long-term memories of people who lived through the 1950s in the USA and Britain.
It has sections on music, films, fashion, sport, holidays, and more. Plus, it has large print, short easy-to-follow paragraphs, and plenty of illustrations.
9) Make your own DIY custom photo storybook, from $10 Create a custom photo book and add your own text to tell a simple story.
Use photos of people, places, things, hobbies, or activities that have special meaning to create a book they’ll love to flip through again and again.
6 practical gifts that make life easier and more pleasant
1) Specialized clothing for Alzheimer’s and dementia These practical, stylish, and comfortable outfits are specially designed for people with dementia.
Prevent spontaneous undressing with stylish back-zip jumpsuits (some even look like 2 piece outfits).
Make dressing easier with soft fabrics and easy-to-use Velcro, snap, and zip closures
2) Jumbo Large Print 2022 Wall Calendar $20 Being able to keep track of time and date decreases confusion and helps seniors stay oriented and engaged with the world.
This jumbo calendar (17 x 22 inches) is easy to see and understand and has plenty of space for making notes about appointments or special events.
3) Deluxe 5-piece Redware Dining Set $45 In Alzheimer’s patients, red colored dining ware is found to increase food intake by 24% and liquid intake by 84%. This set includes a cup, inner lip plate, partitioned plate with lid, and adaptive grip fork and spoon.
4) American Lifetime Extra Large Digital Day Clock $60 Being able to keep track of time and date decreases confusion and helps seniors stay oriented and engaged with the world. This digital clock has an 8-inch large-font screen display, 5 alarms, and clearly spells out the time, period of the day, full day of the week, month and date.
5) Eatwell Assistive Tableware Set, 8 Piece $98 This award-winning assistive tableware set is designed for users with cognitive, motor and physical impairments. It encourages independent eating and is designed to increase appetite and reduce visual confusion. It also has added stability to help prevent spills and dropped foods.
6) Music players designed for people with dementia These simplified music players are designed to be easy for people with cognitive impairment to use and have very few buttons or controls.
2 gifts that encourage conversation and reminiscence
1) Relish Home Theme Cards Conversation Game $18 The vivid series of pictures and gentle conversation prompts help them reminisce and smile about joys and memories.
2) Conversation Cards for Adults, Nostalgic Items $30 These 52 two-sided cards include over 450 questions designed to encourage reminiscing and storytelling.
The front of each card has a large color photo and the name of the item in large print text.
The back of each card features nine questions that are designed to have no right or wrong answer. Questions also include open and closed-ended either/or, and “Did you know” trivia questions.