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[ 2015 ] Gift for Dad with Alzheimer's?

DEScottzz

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Dear Friends,

My dad has Alzheimer's. After fall and broken hip, we recently had to make a decision to take him out of his home and put him and a board-and-care facility. He's near San Diego, and I'm near Houston.

We always used to get a selection of Texas BBQ for him and his wife, but lately she's been telling me it was too much food. We sent her another food gift that I think she will enjoy.

It's been difficult for me to think about this, but I'm wondering what would be a good Christmas gift. He is now having problems swallowing, so a food gift doesn't seem great.

So far, my best thought is a CD player with an iPod dock. His wife could take him a handful of CDs, and next time I go there (late Jan to early Feb) I can bring an Ipod and set it up with all his favorite music. I'm sorry I didn't think of this earlier, but it has just been a lot to deal with.

Does any one else have any great ideas?

Thanks!

Dave
 

radmoo

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Dear Friends,

My dad has Alzheimer's. After fall and broken hip, we recently had to make a decision to take him out of his home and put him and a board-and-care facility. He's near San Diego, and I'm near Houston.

We always used to get a selection of Texas BBQ for him and his wife, but lately she's been telling me it was too much food. We sent her another food gift that I think she will enjoy.

It's been difficult for me to think about this, but I'm wondering what would be a good Christmas gift. He is now having problems swallowing, so a food gift doesn't seem great.

So far, my best thought is a CD player with an iPod dock. His wife could take him a handful of CDs, and next time I go there (late Jan to early Feb) I can bring an Ipod and set it up with all his favorite music. I'm sorry I didn't think of this earlier, but it has just been a lot to deal with.

Does any one else have any great ideas?

Thanks!

Dave

I think dealing with technology would be frustrating to an Alzheimer's patient. Perhaps you could make apfamily memory book or even a photo blanket, something dad could look at over and over again?
 

DeniseM

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I really like the photo blanket idea - I would label the pictures, too. For example: "Grandaughter - Megan."

We have gone down this road with parents/grandparents and I think any electronics will just collect dust - or get stolen.

collage.jpg
 
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moonstone

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I think Denise's idea is better than an i-pod or other music player. People with dementia recall old memories and cant make new ones. If you could find old family photos of the people on the blanket to go along side the current photo your dad could make the connection easier. I think that, or a photo collage (which may be hard to ship) is a great idea.

Last year my niece bought & loaded a simple MP3 player with over 300 songs from my Mom's favorite artists for my Mom's birthday. Mom can only listen to it while we are there now, as she can no longer figure out how to turn it on. My niece said 'well I'll just print out some simple instructions in really big letters'! DUH! Mom cant read & follow instructions either! Niece just doesn't get it! :(

~Diane
 

vacationhopeful

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For my mom, I got a woman to sit with her for 3-4 hours every afternoon .. to watch soap operas together. My DAD hated this woman, but mom loved this woman answering her pointing and saying to the TV ... "him, him" and the woman knew his name, who he was cheating with and all the other soap story lines. She owed me money ... she had no choice as her husband and I were in "cohorts" to get this debt paid.

As for my Dad, I shipped him to his favorite daughter and family 3000 miles away; last less than 3 months before she shipped him back (he wanted to visit but his 16 boxes of stuff followed him back). I had him for 6+ months with an aide in his home ... until he stopped walking. Had some medical testing done in the hospital and when discharged, threw him into my Maryland sister's van and sent him to Maryland to be admitted to an assisted living home. My sister spent hours weekly at the assisted living place .. with her 2 year old ... so much time, the 2yo could escape from the lockdown section (punching in the 4 digit code on the keypad) and find the commercial kitchen (on the other side of this 300 bed home) and ask for "ice cream" ... they would give him ice cream every time while trying to figure out where this toddler came from.

We (my siblings and I) measured our parents aging with ages of their grandkids. "Sandwich" generation really applied to us.

Patience ... love ... work at it but always have plan "B" in formation. And then plan "C".
 
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itradehilton

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This year I made a calendar for MIL with a picture of her, grandpa, and the grandkids on each month of the year. I hope with twelve years of pictures maybe she will be able to remember a little.
 

vacationhopeful

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I would do a picture book ... or an photo album which a person could easily handle on their lap. BIGGER photos are better... imho. But include pictures of their adult children as kids and they, with their siblings. A multiple generation of youth.

Those blankets are TOO big to handle and could be scary with bad eyesight (and if on the floor, a major tripping hazard).

My 90 yo aunt ... yes, my most recent travelling buddy except she DOES NOT FLY ... I make up a multi-picture frame showing each trip on a different frame. NYC had her meeting Matt Lauder and Al Roker, in Radio City Music Hall, rickshaw peddie cab and her in front of the tower in our condo. Same with Skyline Tower in Atlantic City. Easter at my sister's house. I did NOT do a photo frame of the funeral for my sister's FIL ... but we went to that, too. Have to do one with pictures of my AZ brother in town and at the 300 yo family farm house. And Christmas next week.
 

pedro47

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Suggestion, I would put together a photo album of all the old family pictures for the past 100 years ( along with an apple, orange, some candy & LOVE).
 

silentg

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We had 8mm home movies transferred to Dvd. I brought it with me to the nursing home and my mother watched her family, in the old days as if they were happening now. Others in the nursing home watched too as if they saw their own family in the movie. She also enjoys music from the 40's, ask someone of the staff to put on a home movie dvd if you have any. The enjoy this. Also, if they have ME TV lot of old shows on that my MIL thinks are new. She lives at her home, but has caretakers and my BIL visit her each day.
This is a hard thing to go thru for us, but neither my Mum or MIL are unhappy. They don't remember anything, good or bad, just react to the moment.
Silentg
 

DEScottzz

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Thanks for the ideas. When I spoke to Dad's wife today,she said he doesn't seem very interested in music any more, so I may go with one of the picture ideas.

I actually have a cd he gave us some years back, with scanned photos from when we were kids and before my mom passed away.

Then I can try the music again when I go to visit in a few months.

As many of you know, this is a cruel,cruel disease. Dad was a brilliant engineer who could fix anything and build anything. I know it was so frustrating for him not to be able to figure out how to set the sprinkler system up.

He is past most of that, now, I think, but he can't remember that he broke his hip and can't walk, so he took another spill trying to get out of bed last night.
 

artringwald

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Old pictures are the best. My FIL had Alzheimer's and could remember stories from his childhood, but not recent events. DW made a collage of old family pictures and would ask him questions about them every time she'd visit. He enjoyed telling the stories, and she got to hear several stories she hadn't heard before.
 

sun&fun

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I don't know your situation and wouldn't want to offend, but why spend anything on a gift that may not bring him pleasure nor remind him of you. Perhaps use the money instead to go visit him.
 

bobby

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I made my mom a memory book of her life. I included pictures of relatives, all labeled of course. The nurses loved it as they could go over the book with her. Even my siblings minds were jogged by some of the stories. She has passed now, but we kept the book for grandkids.
 

VacationForever

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Music is excellent for folks with dementia. You have to watch "Alive Inside". Also go to musicandmemory.org The video Alive Inside is put together by the Music and Memory organization.
 

DEScottzz

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Good evening.

I'm still leaning toward one of the picture options. When I was there to visit on last month, he seemed to enjoy holding the birthday cards folks had sent, so maybe he'll also enjoy holding a picture book with some old, old memories in it.

When I go for a visit next month, I'll try taking some kind of a music player. Like I said, his wife doesn't seem to think he is very interested in music any more, but I'll see what kind of result I notice.

As to why spend the money, it's in the hope that I could find a way to make his life a bit better at this late juncture. It's not like I'll spend the money instead of visiting. I'll do both.

To be honest, I'm having a hard time dealing with the whole situation. I hate being so far away, and my brother who leaves nearby doesn't get along at all well with Dad's wife. I just wish I could do more.

Thanks for listening.

Dave
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Old pictures are the best. My FIL had Alzheimer's and could remember stories from his childhood, but not recent events. DW made a collage of old family pictures and would ask him questions about them every time she'd visit. He enjoyed telling the stories, and she got to hear several stories she hadn't heard before.

This.

Often with Alzheimer's/dementia there is a point in time where their memories are gone. Often the person will think he or she is still living at that point in time. And there is nothing you can do to change. With my Dad, that point was before I was born, so he had no idea who I was.

At that cusp of memory, the memories of those times were often garbled. But as you moved back in time, things started to get clearer. And of course when you went forward there was nothing. So, my suggestion is that whatever you do, make sure it precedes that point in time.

I also echo what the people above said about things that need to be operated, like DVD players. You have to figure that anything more complicated than pushing on an "On" switch is questionable, and even pushing a button isn't a given.

With my Dad, a remote was unfathomable. He was mentally at a stage before remotes were invented. He used to wonder where the dial was to change channels. One time when I was up late at their house, he asked that if stayed up until the test pattern came on, he would appreciate it very much if adjusted. He had tried to do it that morning, but couldn't find the horizontal and vertical tuners.
 

wackymother

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How about a radio? Or a simple CD player with some CDs of music he might enjoy?
 

theo

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I echo the belief stated earlier above that any techno-device is likely to just be an unnecessary source of frustration for an Altzheimer's patient.

Something requiring no activation / CD's / power source / buttons / channels / "mode" selection is a much better idea, IMO.
A photo album, photo blanket, etc. requires no such "activation" or "selection" and is accordingly a much better choice, IMO.
 
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falmouth3

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If you were asking about a gift for a woman, I'd also suggest coloring books for adults. I'm not so sure a man would enjoy coloring. Apparently coloring calms people. There are coloring books that contain more masculine images. Recently I bought two books for an ill relative at AC Moore. They have a nice variety. And the colored pencils that I bought are already sharpened.
 

Passepartout

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Depending on how far into the 'one-way tunnel' of Alzheimer's he is in, perhaps the gift of some more time with him while his memory allows it, and if that provides him little comfort, you can feel better by providing the facility where he receives care with some relief by hiring someone to read to him. Or foot care, or a hair cut. As people age and their needs increase, their 'world' shrinks. Their mind turns inward. What we consider small annoyances are huge impediments to their happiness. Like a seed under a denture, it becomes as big as Gibraltar, crowding out all other thoughts.

You'll feel better about providing for his comfort later on, more than giving him 'stuff'. He doesn't need stuff, he needs love and wants you to have peace of mind.

Jim
 

AnnaS

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Besides the photo books, I really, really like the idea of paying someone to spend some time with him (extra time/additional time besides whatever family visits he gets).

Even if the person did not have dementia, Alzheimers, it would be comforting to me to know someone is paying attention to him only - take him for a walk in the place he is at, sitting with him, reading/talking, watching tv, having a meal, etc.
 

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My sister has schizophrenia... The doctors found it before 4 months... It's shock for all of the family because my sister is 25 years old... So I want to do something for her... I want to surprise her and help her. But I have no idea what to do and what should I buy for her.

I was a little confused by the timeline here. Was your sister diagnosed 4 months ago or before 4 months of age?

Regardless, I think it depends on how the disease is affecting your sister. Is she living in some facility or independently? I was married for 20 years to a man with schizophrenia, he wasn't diagnosed until his 40s. He was able to work and function pretty well until his 50s but is now on disability.

Schizophrenia can cause cognitive deficits, but not necessarily. If she is cognitively OK. a book might be a good idea. Music is often calming. Just avoid anything overstimulating. My ex used to stay home watching the news all day which would really feed into his paranoia.

My suggestion, first of all, (if you haven't already) is to get in touch with NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Illness. They are a wonderful resource, and offer a 8-12 week course for family members of those living with mental illness.
 

DeniseM

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puppymomo - "marchedcheep" is a spammer who brought an old thread out of mothballs.

Their only purpose was to post links to a jewelry website, and they have been banned.

Sorry - slipped through the cracks!
 
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