Top 5 Security Objects Favored by People With Alzheimer's

Holding a security object can be calming to someone in the later stages of dementia. Don't insist that the person engage with the object (although he or she might, and that's great). Just having it around to see or hold provides the emotional link to a better mood.

You might be surprised by what works for your loved one. Some leading favorites:

  1. Soft objects, such as a favorite shawl or a textured blanket

  2. Animals, such as a real pet or a stuffed animal; they provide tactile pleasure

  3. An object representative of the person's past: a newspaper, a briefcase, or a tennis ball for someone who once used these things every day, or a baby doll for a mother

    SEE ALSO: Find Memory Care Near You

  4. A simple everyday item, such as glasses, a purse, a hat, or a watch

  5. A photograph: Less common, since the person in the image is apt to be forgotten (but people have been known to grow attached to the frame itself)


about 1 year ago, said...

My mom was at a rehab for three months after a hip replacement surgery. Since the surgery, her dementia became worse and she developed anxiety and paranoia. After my sister and I brought her home, she would not accept any separation from us even for a second. Holding our hands became her security object! We literally stopped our own personal life to keep her calm. Thankfully, we found a nice caregiver with whom she felt comfortable. She sits with her ask day long and holds her hand for us, so we can take care of our own business. It is quite costly but does the magic!


almost 2 years ago, said...

My M-I-L carries around a make-up bag with photos and cards that she calls her "purse". She's been doing this for months and carries it to Adult Daycare, and all around the house. I THOUGHT that's what it was. This article is my validation. Thanks once again!


over 2 years ago, said...

My mom has alzheimer's, sometimes it annoys me seeing her always with books, magazines, papers, and blanket, Now I understand why, because she doesn't recognized us so holding something keeps her secured.


over 2 years ago, said...

always looking for ideas on how to comfort someone or calm them.


almost 3 years ago, said...

My Mom's security object was her wallet and purse. Later on, it became the curly cord bracelet that had the keys to her Independent Living, and then Assisted Living apartment. She would not go anywhere without her keys, which was actually a blessing. I added one of those red heart dog tags to it with my first name and full phone number including area code, so that I could be called if there was an emergency, or if the keys were lost. I miss Mom. Dad has the same item, but for him it's a blue dog bone with my name and full phone number. He keeps that and his mostly empty wallet (he keeps about $200 in it) with him at all times - we had to take away his credit cards, as he gave them over the phone to some people that called. He's very thrifty with pocket money, so that's not a problem.


over 3 years ago, said...

My grandma had Alzheimer's sadly she died from it. I was not with her but when I was I was the only one she recognized.


over 3 years ago, said...

Stuff animals content me after awhile. Not much else does unless it is writing.


over 4 years ago, said...

My mom needs to have her pocket book with its keys and wallet in it wherever she goes. I gave her a fancy pocket book when we went to her granddaughter's wedding and for most of the event she was asking me "Where is my pocket book?" "Where are my keys?" It is nice to know that we have now clearly identified this as a dementia behavior that can be recognized and address with a special "security object". That's important to know.


almost 5 years ago, said...

The note on an object representative of the person's past was a good tip.


almost 5 years ago, said...

idea of something to hold


about 5 years ago, said...

Any ideas along this line to help calm my mother are helpful. One NEVER knows what works and doesn't day to day, or long term. Thank you.


about 5 years ago, said...

I guess that is why our cat seems to calm my husband down when he gets so angry!


over 5 years ago, said...

I noticed that my mom favors pictures of the babies in the family. She doesn't know who they are, but in her mind they are either her baby brother or one of her babies when they were young. The same goes for her watch and ring. I never thought of them being a comfort to her, but I do notice that her mood changes when she engages herself with them. This is more information that will help us, in caring for her. Thank you so much.


over 5 years ago, said...

My mother is the same way.. she has this black purse and carries it with her where ever we go. I have a few coins in her change purse and she likes to know she pays for items. She still has her diginity about her in this way, so I let her and she smiles very proudly. Then I turn around and put the change back in her purse when she is not looking.


over 5 years ago, said...

My mother's security object is a huge gold purse I bought for her. She kept losing her black one and can keep up with the bright, gold purse much easier.