Gifts for those with Alzheimer's disease
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Selecting a holiday gift for a friend or relative with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia can be a daunting task.
But a local company is ready to help.
Best Alzheimer's Products, based in Third Lake, was founded by John and Holly Schmid in 2008. The privately-held company offers hundreds of innovative and stage-appropriate products and gifts for those with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
There are more than 5 million people living with Alzheimer's in the U.S., and their family, friends, neighbors and caregivers often struggle to find appropriate gifts that will bring joy, not frustration. This year, selecting stage-appropriate holiday gifts for a person who has Alzheimer's is easier thanks to Best Alzheimer's Products, which has a 2013 Holiday Gift Guide dedicated to holiday products and ideas specifically for those with memory loss.
"The right gift can bring great happiness to a person with Alzheimer's, as well as his or her loved ones," said John Schmid. "We offer gift choices that engage and provide an opportunity for the individual with Alzheimer's to interact with others."
The company's main website is at best-alzheimers-products.com. To visit their online store, go to https://store.best-alzheimers-products.com/.
Schmid says the benefits of every product at the store are research-based and selected to improve quality of life; all holiday selections are appropriate for those with dementia.
Gifts that emphasize activity and comfort, and those that stimulate the senses and encourage reminiscence are all good choices.
With this in mind, the holiday gift selection includes a range of choices, such as a talking picture album, interactive books, CDs, aromatherapy, a variety of games and DVDs.
Best Alzheimer's Products offers dozens of DVD choices, but none are full-length movies with complicated plots that are difficult to follow. Some DVDs are interactive, some feature a series of short, interest-based vignettes, and others are just beautiful nature accompanied by relaxing music.
On the website, families can create a "holiday wish list" for their loved one, which can then be shared with others. If customers have questions or are still unsure about which items to select, Best Alzheimer's Product will provide guidance by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone, (877) 300-3021.
"We always advise our visitors to consider the person's current limitations," said Schmid. "Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, which means a person's memory and abilities are degrading over time. If the person once enjoyed complicated jigsaw puzzles, for example, you may want to choose a much-less challenging puzzle with 100 pieces and, as time goes on, even fewer."
Schmid also advises the gift-giver to become involved. "If you choose a puzzle, then use that gift to spend some quality time with your loved one. Look at it as an opportunity to create joy in the moment.
"Joy happens now, it's beneficial even when it's not remembered," he said.