Six Perfects Gifts for People with Dementia

A young man gives a bouquet of flowers to a woman with dementia at a memory care facility

Six Perfects Gifts for People with Dementia

Everyone loves receiving a thoughtful gift. If your loved one lives in a memory care community for people with dementia, you may be unsure about the right present for their birthday, anniversary, or a holiday.

We spoke with Living Branches team members Altair and Takeria, caregivers in the Memory Care community at Dock Woods, about the best gifts for people with dementia.

No matter what you choose, Altair and Takeria recommend personalizing your gift to the recipient. Try to pick something that matches their tastes and preferences.

A woman with dementia receives new pajamas as a gift from a young woman


Takeria notes that clothing is often a popular gift around the holidays. A new shirt, sweater, or pajama set can freshen up your loved one’s wardrobe and provide comfort throughout the day.

Unsure of their clothing size? Go with a clothing item that has more flexibility, such as slippers or socks.

Comforting items

Soft items make great gifts for people with dementia. Pick things that feel good against your skin, like a warm shawl, a velvety blanket, or a huggable stuffed animal.

“Stuffed animals are great because they’re comforting,” Altair says. “Some residents grow attached to a stuffed animal or doll.”

A young man gives a bouquet of flowers to a woman with dementia at a memory care facility


Who doesn’t like a beautiful bouquet of flowers? Beyond Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, they make a great gift for someone with dementia, according to Altair. If you don’t know their favorite flower, choose a boquet that includes their favorite colors or scents.

Snacks and treats

Bring their favorite snack or dessert to enjoy during your visit. Consider foods that are easy to eat and don’t require utensils. Finger foods or individually wrapped items work well.

“For a resident’s birthday, family members often bring a cake,” Altair says. “Some also bring a little banner or other decorations to make the space more festive.”

Cake or cupcakes are also perfect for anniversaries, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, and other holidays. Either homemade or store-bought works. Be sure to consider your loved one’s favorite flavors and decorations.

“Families will also bring their loved one’s favorite snack,” Takeria says. “Baked goods and candies are pretty popular because the resident can share with everyone else.”

Personal care products

At the Memory Care community at Dock Woods, residents’ family members often provide their toiletries – which often make great gifts!

“Dove, Caress, and Olay are popular among family members because they’re gentle on skin,” Takeria says.

Look for lightly scented soap, shampoo, or lotion to promote relaxation. Women in Memory Care often like getting makeup, such as lipstick or blush. The next time you visit, jot down the colors and shades your loved one wears.

A young woman works on a puzzle with her senior mother in a memory care community

Spend time together

The best gifts don’t come from a store! When you have a loved one in memory care, spending time together is often the best gift. Whether you play a game, do a puzzle, or just chat, people with dementia benefit from time with family and friends.

Altair explains that when family members come to visit Dock Woods, caregivers will look for a place in the community where the resident can visit with their loved one. Sunrooms and activity spaces tend to be popular.

“Sometimes it’s just nice to get out of the resident’s room and spend some time in another place,” she explains. “We’ll help you get set up together.”

Talk with their care team about taking them somewhere on campus, such as a garden, a dining area, or the gift shop. And let their caregivers know when you’re ready to leave so they can help your loved one adjust.

Ask before bringing these gifts to memory care

Takeria and Altair noted a few items that may not work for a person with dementia. Talk to your loved one’s care team before bringing them.

Potentially hazardous items

Always ask before bringing anything that can pose a safety risk, like scented candles or scissors.

Phones or tablets

Takeria advises talking to your loved one’s care team before buying a smart device, such as a phone or tablet. For some people with dementia, smart devices are hard to use. People with dementia may struggle to remember passwords or understand online safety, which can place them at risk. They may also prefer more tactile activities and hobbies.


Always check before bringing a bottle of wine or a six pack of beer. Your loved one’s memory care community may have a policy prohibiting alcohol. If not, some residents’ care plans prevent them from having alcohol.

Complex games or puzzles

While mental stimulation is important, difficult board games or puzzles can be a discouraging gift for people with dementia.