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Christmas gifts for people with dementia

We share our dementia-friendly gift ideas for Christmas

Our list of Christmas gift ideas is grouped around the different stages of dementia, focusing on presents that stimulate the mind or senses – and most importantly, have the person’s identity at heart.

Gift ideas for someone with early-stage dementia

In the early stages, the symptoms of dementia are often mild, so you may be able to give the person similar gifts to those they received before their diagnosis, with small changes to make them more accessible, if necessary. If you are unsure whether they still enjoy or can in engage with previous pastimes and passions, you could check with a family member or close friend.

Gardening gifts

If the person loves gardening, you could consider a simple garden kit, such as herbs that they could grow and use in meals, low maintenance flowers or houseplants. Garden tools that are designed with accessibility in mind could make an excellent gift that will still be useful as their symptoms progress.

Creative gifts

If the person enjoys art, you could get them supplies such as watercolour paints, pencils and a sketchbook, or an adult colouring book. Tapping into a current or former hobby can be mentally stimulating and maintain their sense of identity.

Digital photo frame

This is a framed digital screen that displays uploaded photos as a slideshow. Family and friends can get involved with choosing and sending photos to upload, and it can help start conversations and reinforce positive memories.

Accessible technology

Accessible tech like smart speakers or music players with simplified controls make excellent gifts for someone with dementia.

Music is a powerful tool for evoking memories, and accessible radios/music players can allow the person with dementia to select their own radio stations or preloaded playlists independently.

Similarly, smart speakers can play music by voice command, give updates on the weather and set medication reminders, for example.

If the person enjoys reading you could consider getting them an e-reader like a Kindle with accessibility features such as the ability to increase font size.

Games and puzzles

Boardgames, crosswords, sudoku, dominoes and card games are brilliant for keeping the mind active and provide opportunities to spend quality time together. You could tie these in with other hobbies: for example, you could get the person a jigsaw with a picture of a favourite place they have visited.

Make sure that you consider the difficulty level of any games and puzzles to avoid frustration. If you are unsure what might be suitable, ask a close family member or friend for advice, or look for companies that offer accessible games, such as puzzles with fewer pieces or simplified word games.

Personalised jewellery

Personalised jewellery can help a person with dementia maintain their sense of identity and promote positive memories. Examples include:

  • a charm bracelet with charms that represent important memories or life events
  • a locket with pictures of loved ones inside
  • a bracelet or wristband with the names of their partner/children

Gift ideas for someone with middle-stage dementia

In the middle stage of dementia, the signs and symptoms become more obvious and will have a bigger impact on the person’s daily life. At this point, it is beneficial to focus on gifts that will enhance their safety and make it easier to continue their day-to-day routine.

Medical ID jewellery

Medical jewellery is personalised with the person’s name, details of their condition and contact information for their next of kin so that in an emergency, health professionals can see their needs. A range of styles is available, including necklaces, bracelets and wristbands.

Dementia clock

Many people with dementia have trouble understanding time. A dementia clock is a digital clock that shows the time, time of day (morning, afternoon, evening, night), day and date in a large font that is easy to read, and can help reduce confusion and anxiety.

Night lights and motion detector lights

Disturbed sleep is a common symptom of dementia, so night lights and motion-sensitive lights can help the person find their way around and reduce the risk of falls if they get up during the night.

Gift ideas for someone with late-stage dementia

In the late stages of dementia, the person’s abilities will be affected in many areas, including communication, mobility and independence. At this point, appropriately chosen gifts can promote wellbeing, reminiscence and close relationships with family and friends.

Twiddlemuffs or fidget blankets

These are usually made from different colours and textures of wool with various items attached, such as bobbles and buttons, which the person with dementia can fiddle with. Twiddlemuffs allow the person to sit with their hands inside them; blankets to go over their lap can also be comforting.

Twiddlemuffs and fidget blankets can help reduce boredom, stress and agitation, provide sensory stimulation and give the person something to focus on. They are easy to make, and you can find patterns online, such as this one from Age UK.

If you can’t knit, they can be bought from companies that sell dementia-inclusive products, or some dementia groups and memory clinics have volunteers who knit them.

‘Reminiscents’ box

The use of scents can promote reminiscence and positive emotions in a person with dementia, especially when communication and understanding are affected.

A ‘reminiscents’ box can be homemade and filled with scents that are meaningful to the person – for example, their favourite aftershave or perfume; lavender if they liked gardening; or cocoa if they enjoyed cooking. You can change the contents occasionally to keep it interesting.

This is the perfect gift to evoke memories and help the person connect with family and friends, and young people can get involved too, helping to fill the box and guess the scents with their relative.

Life story or scrapbook

A life story is a record of a person’s life that can trigger happy memories, create talking points and help carers get to know them as an individual. Ideally, they are developed with the person’s involvement, but if they are unable to help, you can create it for them.

You can choose the format – or combination of formats – that works best for them: books, collages, video or voice recordings, memory boxes or apps.

Everyone’s life story is individual, but you could include:

  • personal details such as name, age, address etc
  • important people in their life
  • religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs
  • memories from childhood and adulthood
  • work history
  • significant life events
  • preferences with their appearance
  • likes and dislikes, eg food, music, TV programmes, music
  • activities they enjoy
  • meaningful dates like birthdays and anniversaries

For further guidance, visit our page on creating a life story for a person with dementia.

A gift idea for every stage

Quality time

Whatever the person’s stage of dementia, the best gift you can give is quality time together. You could consider taking them to a special place, such as a park that they love, a zoo or the cinema or theatre (some have screenings especially for people with dementia and other disabilities); or if they find it difficult to go out, simply taking an hour out to sit with them at home, look at photos or listen to music.

You don’t need to arrange the day out or visit over the Christmas period, when people and places are busy and the person needs routine more than ever. Instead, you could pledge your time with handmade IOU coupons for different days out or activities to do together. If you are a family member or friend, spending some time with the person can also provide respite for their main carer.

For further advice on supporting a person with dementia around Christmastime or any other aspect of dementia, please contact our free Helpline on 0800 888 6678 or email

The Helpline is open 9am-9pm weekdays and 9am-5pm on weekends and bank holidays, except 25th December.