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Gift for Dad with Alzheimer's?
Old 12-20-2015, 03:23 PM   #1
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Gift for Dad with Alzheimer's?

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 was just a lot to deal with.

Does any one else have any great ideas?

Thanks!

Dave
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Old 12-20-2015, 03:28 PM   #2
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My dad enjoyed music throughout his time with Alzheimer's - even very late in the process. My thoughts are with your family. It is a very tough disease.


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Old 12-20-2015, 03:55 PM   #3
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That sounds good. One thing that helped my DM was photos. My DS loaded up one of those digital picture frames with photos of children, grands, and ggs. Gave mom a lot of comfort.

Best wishes on your DF'S situation, went through it with both parents, not much fun.
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Old 12-20-2015, 04:12 PM   #4
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That sounds good. One thing that helped my DM was photos. My DS loaded up one of those digital picture frames with photos of children, grands, and ggs. Gave mom a lot of comfort.
+1 on the digital photo frame.

Also, a Ipad or similar you can call/Skype to his room when you mother is there visiting.
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Old 12-20-2015, 05:22 PM   #5
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Something i hate to bring up, but worth mentioning I think. Even in the nicest places, smallish electronics have a way of disappearing. A pre-paid smart phone I purchased for my elderly mother while in a previous facility walked out the door. Also, this year in her current nursing home which is very nice, her brand new hearing aides walked after just buying them.

Some of the help (not nurses) are not very well paid, and this can be a problem no matter where ever they are.

I do think music is a very good suggestion, but I think maybe a table top CD player might be better. Better sounding and less likely to walk. I bought one for my mother over a year ago, along with a selection of music CD's from artists I know she liked and yet not likely to appeal to someone younger. She enjoys it very much, and is always making new requests for new albums of someone she remembers she used to listen to.

Also, old movies with actors and actresses they used to love. I have ordered old movies with her favorite stars and heart throbs. My mom is from Norway, so I managed to find a box set from a favorite TV series from way back called,
"I Remember Mama".(about a Norwegian family living in America) She really loved that. Just some ideas.
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Old 12-20-2015, 06:51 PM   #6
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I was in a similar situation about five years ago with my mother. Photographs in regular picture frames worked well for her. You might want to put small labels on the photos identifying who the people are. It could help him and when he has other visitors they can ask him about the people.
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Old 12-20-2015, 06:52 PM   #7
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I don't have any ideas other than what the others have said.
You have my empathy. My mom is in hospice and it was really painful trying to buy gifts.




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Old 12-20-2015, 06:59 PM   #8
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My MIL has dementia, and she has developed a real interest in movies. Funny, because she always said she didn't like movies, but now she watches them multiple times. We have a large stack of DVD's for her for. She is fortunate, too, that her assisted living facility has a nice movie room, where they show movies twice a day. Otherwise, she wouldn't be able to operate the DVD player.
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Old 12-20-2015, 07:00 PM   #9
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My mother in law loves the photo album we put together. Pictures of her and family through many stages of life... with labels below each picture with details about who and when.
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Old 12-21-2015, 09:19 PM   #10
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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 photo cd he gave us some years back, with a bunch 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 couple 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.

To be honest, I'm kind of having a tough time dealing with the idea of this Christmas gift. I wish I could find a way to make his life a little better, but I just don't know whether that's possible.
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Old 12-22-2015, 05:22 AM   #11
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To be honest, I'm kind of having a tough time dealing with the idea of this Christmas gift. I wish I could find a way to make his life a little better, but I just don't know whether that's possible.
Yeah, it's tough for sure. I agree with the picture album. MIL seems to really like pictures. Her long-term memory is still intact, so anything there works. She is also very good with anything in the present - so visiting, phone calls, etc. really make her happy.

You may want to give some serious thought to the big picture as well. Some kind of care is going to be necessary at some point I would guess. This will be tough on your mom of course.

MIL is happier than she has been in a VERY long time now that we found a nice, assisted living facility. They keep her busy all day with various activities. Even a Home Instead arrangement may help your mom get a physical and mental break. That may be a "gift" as well.
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Old 12-22-2015, 05:26 AM   #12
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And MIL likes to go on drives through her old neighborhood. She remembers where she lived, old neighbors, and some associated stories. Maybe your dad would like to tour near his old work facility or even in it. You might be surprised at some things he remembers.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:24 AM   #13
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No real suggestions--MIL was past figuring out photos and people in them her last few years but she really did like the attention and opening any gifts, so whatever you do will be meaningful, I imagine. DH always brought a wrapped box of candy--she liked opening it and having somehing to share with us.

You are a really good son--sorry you are facing this with your father. You are both lucky to have each other.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:26 AM   #14
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And MIL likes to go on drives through her old neighborhood. She remembers where she lived, old neighbors, and some associated stories. Maybe your dad would like to tour near his old work facility or even in it. You might be surprised at some things he remembers.
Truly amazing what some will recall. When DM was 6 months from admitted to a Nursing home us 3 kids visited. Went through a box of old photos. Mom was on fire calling out names of people who were acquaintances 50 years prior.

One thing I wish we had done was Mom loved watching Lee Trevino golf. Wish I had thought to find some content of Lee, she would have watched the same video every day.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:39 AM   #15
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Like a lot of others, I've been in your situation, SBS. I'd suggest using the gift money for airfare to San Diego and see if you can make your visit a little sooner.
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:45 PM   #16
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If there are memories and stories that your loved one can still relay, or participate in conversationally (memories from childhood or about your childhood) try to get them talking while you have a little recorder or an iPhone running.

This is more for you than for them. Just a reminder of something to consider.
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