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 Activities for your loved ones 
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Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:11 pm
Posts: 117
Location: Tucson AZ
Post Activities for your loved ones
What all do you do with your loved ones to keep their minds semi going?Mine doesn't like to do anything, can't follow tv, read, write etc..He sleeps a lot. Do you have any ideas or found any books for Activities for LB? I see one online Activities for Alzheimers book, does anyone know about that?
Thanks so much. Oh, it's too hot for walks right now when the caregiver is there. Otherwise I walk him at the mall, he likes that.

Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:19 pm

Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
As you said, there are activity books designed for those with AD. These books do come highly recommended by many dementia caregivers.

Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:23 pm

Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:59 pm
Posts: 1978
A mention here, I found going through photo albums great, we did it often and sometimes almost daily, it helped my husband keep everyone in his mind and we would talk about what was happening in the picture and so on and another thing that worked well was I would have him cut coupons of course a time came when he could no longer do that but while he was able it gave him something to do!!

Irene Selak

Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:41 pm
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Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:29 am
Posts: 126
Location: Italy and Toronto (Canada)
My Dad has always had a passion for poetry and even now thru the LBD fog which has enveloped his brain, he recites countless poems by heart. So I have made a personal collection of poems which I know he would enjoy and I read them to him. It is one of the few activities during which he remains alert and active and interested.

At other times, I play very simple card games with him. Sometimes it's just as simple as asking him to arrange a deck of cards into the 4 suits and then arrange the suits in ascending order. I have made this into a game which we play together.

At all times I try to do things which don't seem to be simple games for the mentally retarded because I don't want him to feel inferior. I always pretend that whatever we're doing is also very interesting for me and that I enjoy doing the activities with him. Actually I don't pretend: there is nothing I would rather do than spend quality time with my Dad, helping him pass a few enjoyable moments. Although it is excruciatingly sad for me to see him reduced to this state, but the pleasure of being in his company and basking in the deep love which he still showers on us, while providing him with what little entertainment I can, is the biggest reward.

Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:39 am

Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:02 am
Posts: 537
Location: MI
The only time Mother sits somewhat still is to watch these older British comedies that are on our PBS station on Sat nite (2 hours of them). When we talk about them she doesn't seem to follow the story line but will sit and really laugh.
Even the family photos and cards seem to only hold her attention for about 15 minutes and conversation seldom makes a lot of sense. She reaaly struggles to find the words and gets frustrated when I have trouble following her.-wish I could read her mind.


Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:54 am

Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:23 am
Posts: 201
Post post subject
I bought a book called Alzheimer's Activities that Stimulate the Mine. It is suposed to boost cognitive skills etc, It includes some Arts and Crafts, Community Outings, Exercise, Food-Oriented Activities, Games, Gardening and Grooming.
For my LO it doesn't have much valuable information. I don't think I would buy that book again. For someone else it may be a good book. He has never liked crafts, and has never done any cooking. He does like the exercise and gardening so we dance. (He's good at dancing. Tires me out) and we have a few plants for him to take care. Mostly I do the supervising and tell him what to do or else he wouldn't try doing things on his own. We walk. He used to be a walking letter carrier so he likes that. Good for me too, but he walks slower and less steady than he used to. Just my thoughts on a particular book.

Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:24 am

Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Posts: 104
Location: Arkansas
My mom goes to a senior day care center 2x week which is great. It's run mostly by volenteers. I was surprised she can do alot more than I thought. She plays bingo and a simple cross word puzzle that they put on a large board and they all try to fill it in orally. At home she will look for a long time thru her recipe box, fold wash clothes and other simple items, she likes to throw thing into the wastepaper basket, so men might like to "play" basketball with a small foam ball into a basket. A phyiscal therapist say it good to play catch with them. Also I'd like to find a video or cd on sitting exercises for elderly for her to do. Mom also watch the L. Welk show on pbs and bbc comedy on Sat. night.

Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:14 pm

Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:11 pm
Posts: 117
Location: Tucson AZ
Thanks for all the information everyone! i was going to order that same book but it's like $30 and didn't know if it would help. Thank you. I like the basketball idea for guys and maybe he would like to sort buttons too. Thanks!

Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:33 pm

Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:00 am
Posts: 2
Location: IL
My husband wants to do anything that he percieves will save me work. He can pair socks if I give him a few pairs to find at a time, and he can stir muffin batter and divide it into muffin cups. He can fold small laundry items such as handkerchiefs. Some days of course are easier than others. He can open cans when we cook...We always list our accomplishments at the end of the day....

Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:21 pm

Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:01 pm
Posts: 101
I have recently found some activities for my husband. It has been difficult because in addition to the LBD, he has macular degeneration (i.e., no central vision). That means he cannot see well enough to do much in the way of cutting or sorting. Well, I found a set that includes pegs that are intended for a Chinese Checker game, and he will sit for over an hour taking out and then replacing the pegs in the holes which he finds with his fingers. (Luckily, he has no hand tremors.) Then, at the library I found some children's books with very large words, and although I have to read him the story at first, he then can work it out by himself. I also found some wooden puzzles with large pieces that he can insert into the proper holes, again just by feeling the spaces.

If anyone has some other suggestions for activities for a nearly blind person, I'd appreciate it. I should mention that he no longer can listen to recorded books -- he can't process the narratives -- except for very short poems or sayings, as in the Analects of Confucius. Luckily, he does enjoy music and I don't know what I would do otherwise to help him pass the time.


Bay Area, CA

Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:26 am

Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 3213
Location: WA
This is a big problem. With my husband, there are three obstacles:
1. Cognitive, esp. executive function
2. Deterioration of fine-motor skill
3. Short attention span.

Last year, at someone's suggestion, I bought him a set of Lincoln Logs, which I though he would enjoy. He tried to fit the logs together end-to-end, rather than notch to notch!! Even after I demonstrated it and left a small example, he couldn't do it. That was really an eye-opener for me, because he really didn't seem all that bad then. It was then that I realized that this disease is insidious and very subtle.

He used to paint, and I got out his painting equipment and find he has no interest. I think he knows he wouldn't paint as well as he used to and doesn't want to compromise. Has anyone tried modeling clay?

He does enjoy looking at photographs from time to time, but not for long. He will watch the Britcoms on PBS [He is British].

If anyone could recommend some game or craft that might work, I'll try it. Preferably, something that will give him a sense of accomplishment. I'm not the most creative person in the world, and I'm stumped.

Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:45 am

Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:18 pm
Posts: 835
Location: Acton, MA
Mockturtle, Frank doesn't have any interest anymore. He will spend hours counting money, he has $73.00, 3 are $20's, 1 $5. the rest $1's. He not able to keep track of what he just counted so he keeps starting over. He doesn't seem to get frustrated, and puts a few bills here and a few there so as I clean I find them and return the money to his wallet. We have many family photos, 13 books, but he would end up pulling pictures out or just end up destroying some of them. There isn't anything that he can do without chancing that he'll make a mess that I have to clean up or wrecking it. I try to do a couple short errands, when the weather is good, just to give him a change of scenery. I read where one husband has jobs that are "his" jobs. I can't think of anything that Frank could do that he would be, even almost, successful at.

Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:56 pm

Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 3213
Location: WA
My husband doesn't intentionally destroy things but he does place things in inappropriate places and I really have to watch the wastebaskets! But, just like your husband, mine lacks any real interest in anything or anybody, other than his obsessions [see my 'obsessions' thread :wink:]

We've lined up a respite person through a local agency for four hours a week [for now]. I emphasized that activities would be the important part of the visit and that I would welcome any ideas the caregiver could give me to use the rest of the week. Since my husband fought the respite care tooth and nail, I feel relieved that he's going along with it. I'll probably increase it to two days a week if things work out. :)

Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:19 pm

Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:28 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Minnesota
A respite person to do activities with Mom - what a great idea! I could call the respite person her activity therapist and it would seem less like she had a sitter. I'm going to look into that.

Mom used to quilt, but she had to give it up when the tremors got really bad. She was an avid reader, but can't remember what happened a couple of pages back and can't hold the book. And her attention span is completely gone. I got her a book of short stories and she read a couple of them, but now the book is gathering dust.

Mom was an enthusiastic walker, but now has enough trouble just getting around the house - even with a walker. Up here in the Minnesota tundra it isn't smart to take her outside for a walk. If it isn't the snow, the ice forms ruts a foot deep. I have trouble walking in that.

But, Mom likes to do anything that makes her feel she's helping. Pairing socks and folding clothes are big things for her. I go to work once in a while in a wrinkled shirt, but we all know that the shirt could be a lot more than wrinkled. I'm constantly looking for other ways she could help. But between the tremors and weakness, there isn't a lot she can do. She did decorate all of the Christmas cookies. She could do that sitting down and at her own pace.

She also likes old movies. We have a collection of musicals, but what really holds her attention is an old Hepburn-Bogart or Hepburn-Tracy movie or anything with Mickey Rooney or Danny Kaye. She doesn't fall asleep at all during any of these movies.

Any other ideas would be really appreciated.

Kate [i](Cared for Mom for years before anyone else noticed the symptoms, but the last year of her life was rough and we needed to place her in an SNF, where she passed in February 2012)[/i]

Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:05 pm

Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:48 am
Posts: 1
Location: Bellingham WA
Post Activities that work for now
I have less than a year's training in Tai Chi. I was not terribly dedicated but I did enjoy some better movement and increased confidence. I heard about Seated Tai Chi classes at the local senior center and decided to try some seated Tai Chi with my LO even though I am not an expert or even a good novice student. It has been a huge success. Every morning we sit in armless dining chairs and start with some slow deep breathes. After a while we raise our arms up as we breathe in and exhale as we breathe out. From there we go through a handful of slightly more involved movements. My instructor who is an expert always stressed not to get to caught up in trying to exactly match his movements and do the routine that feels right for you. I have embraced this approach with my seated Tai Chi and re-enforce that there is no wrong way to do it. Toward the end of our workout we do individual "free form" and I am amazed at the grace of my LO. The activity director where my LO stays has approached me about expanding to other residents. Another benefit is that I feel better and the staff and residents smile as they pass.

Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:05 pm
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