Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Items for the Mobility, Memory-Impaired

11 must-have gifts & gadgets to help people with mobility and memory issues live more independently.

‘Tis the season for giving – but how many times have we struggled to find the perfect gift for a special person in our lives?

Believe it or not, it is possible to give Grandma and Grandpa too many sweaters and robes!  Today, there are a number of items, big and small, high-tech and basic, that can help aging individuals live more independently, especially if they’re adapting to life with memory or mobility issues.

Dr. Carolyn Tassini, a physical therapist and rehabilitation supervisor at Bancroft NeuroRehab, has created a list of a few must-have gifts and gadgets for everyone on your wish list, whether they’re recovering from a stroke or brain injury, living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, have mobility issues, or are just living with some normal signs of aging.

We’ve included links to examples of several item for your convenience, but there are a variety of brands and retailers for each item – as a quick Amazon or Google search will turn up.

Happy shopping… and happy holidays!

Yaktrax slip over your shoe to provide traction on ice.

1. A pair of Yaktrax. These aren’t shoes, but traction cleats: rubber attachments that slip onto any pair of shoes to provide added traction and stability on snow and ice. This is a great option, because they can be worn any pair of flat shoes; they’re packable and easy to keep on hand; and they can be put on before putting shoes on, or once they’re on your feet. Since slips & falls are one of the leading causes of TBIs and other serious injuries, these are a must-have! Click here for an example.

2. A flip-up snow/ice spike for canes. If you know someone who uses a cane for walking and support, this attachment will give their cane extra grip in icy conditions. There are a variety of options out there (here’s one option) and are a great stocking-stuffer.

3. Reflective bands or strips ensure you can be seen at night, improving safety for those who like to walk outdoors in the early-morning or nighttime hours.

4. A headlamp like this one will allow you to stay hands-free while walking in the dark or at night, while maintaining your ability to see your surroundings.

The memory phone lets the user dial by picture.

5. The memory phone allows the user to dial by picture, so they don’t have to remember numbers or read. Many models, including this one, also have a dedicated 9-1-1 button for quick emergency use, as well as a light-up ringer or other visual aid for hearing-impaired users.

6. A memory clock. These are marketed under different names, but look for a large-print, electronic clock that displays time, day and date. Many models have multiple alarm settings, as well. This is one example from the Alzheimer’s store, but many others exist.

7. Shoe-like slippers. Slide-in slippers increase the odds they’ll slip off the foot and trip the user. Opt for a slipper with a more shoe-like structure, or slipper socks with traction/grips on the bottom.

Look for a clock that displays day, date and time.

8. Gloves with grips will keep hands warm, while providing extra traction when holding onto railings.

9. Photo albums can be a great keepsake, as well as a memory device, and they can be made quickly and affordably through websites such as Shutterfly or Snapfish. Create a personalized album labeled with names of beloved friends, loved ones, places or events.

10. Personal assistant devices similar to Amazon’s Alexa enable users to ask for reminders, share grocery lists and more.

11. A smart pen, such as Livescribe, records conversations and transcribes them for you. A useful gift for more tech-savvy individuals. 

How do I know which device might be right for me?

To request an evaluation or assessment to determine which adaptive devices might benefit you or a loved one, contact Bancroft NeuroRehab by visiting BNRinfo.org, or calling (844) 234-8387.