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 Activities for your loved ones 
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Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:18 am
Posts: 276
Location: Washington State
Post Shooting pool
So, at my LO's assisted living center they have a really nice pool table. I thought it was a waste of good space until I realized, "hey, who needs a pool cue?" My LO can't handle a pool cue but she can certainly roll the balls with a hand so that it either goes in the pocket or hits the other balls with a satisfying "thock" sound. Turns out her family had a pool table when she was a child and she learned to play. Who knew? It's one of those little stories that I treasure now when I think of her as the long-legged shy girl she once was.


Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:06 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3305
Location: Vermont
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When I was reading through these posts, someone talked about their LO putting things in wastebaskets and it reminded me of a funny story a friend just told me. Her dad is in an Alz. facility. She was visiting recently and noticed he couldn't chew properly. He apparently threw out his own false teeth. Turns out her dad is still mobile, goes into other residents' rooms and switches people's false teeth around. He was wearing someone else's since he couldn't find his! So. the facility had to get all the false teeth engraved with their owners' names! He does this with people's glasses too so sometimes he can't see.... I guess we have to laugh when we can....


Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:49 pm
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Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:01 am
Posts: 62
Location: Wake Forest
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I noticed that the activities that I can use with Mom have really changed over time and in fact I can now use some again that I had to stop using. For instance she use to enjoy old TV programs (we have a bunch of Dean Martin's variety show on DVD, Lawrence Whelk ect). At some point she started getting really angry at him and the people on the show, she thought they were at saying things to her directly. Eventually she couldn't watch TV at all (she threw a glass of water at the TV screen because of something Kelly Rippa said on Regis and Kelly)! That was about 2 years ago. I have no idea why I tried but I decided to try those DVDs again and she laughs the jokes sometimes and taps her toes to the music. She loves to listen to familiar music from her generation, that never changed really. Spending time with animals is fun too (I help her with a ball and string and play with the cats). She also enjoys stuffed animals and her baby doll. Reading is good too, one of her aides will read some of our kids books to her. I just bought a Wii, I am going to try helping her to bowl, wish me luck :-)

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All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother. --Abraham Lincoln


Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:10 pm
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Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:23 am
Posts: 201
Post post subject
As we are still at our Florida address, I am able to get LO outside a lot. This is a retirement community and has loads of activities. Yesterday I asked him if he wanted to take a walk and of course, he is always willing to walk :D A few people were playing bocci, (lawn bowling) and they invited us to play with them. As they only needed one more player to make a team, I suggested he play and I would watch. No one at at this group knows about his dementia, (or at least I didn't tell them but I know they can tell by looking at him) To my surprise he agreed to play and even scored a few points for his team. They were all so kind and invited him to come back. The thing that makes me smile he would look at me and mouth "lets go". I told him we can't leave in the middle of a game so he stayed and his team won the last game. I am hoping he will agree to go again sometime but I will be surprised if he will. If it were just him and myself, there would not be a problem. I am thinking I will see if he can golf anymore. Let you know how that works out. :P
Something else I give him to do and to my surprise he likes it, is cutting coupons. He cuts out everything, even dog food coupons and we don't have a dog. Thats ok, I just sort through them and discard what we can't use. These days I feel more like an activity director and thats a good thing.
Mary


Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:12 am
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
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Here's a related article from today's New York Times:

http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2010 ... y-loss/?hp

The New Old Age
Caring and Coping

April 5, 2010, 1:25 pm
Finding Activities for Parents With Memory Loss
By Cynthia Green
New York Times

I’ve invited the clinical psychologist Cynthia Green, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and the author of several books on memory (including “Through the Seasons: An Activities Book for Memory Challenged Adults and Caregivers“), to join the conversation today. I’ve been hearing laments about the difficulties of visiting relatives with dementia; people yearn to make that time together enjoyable and meaningful, but they can’t always figure out how to connect. Dr. Green has some thoughtful suggestions.
— Paula Span


When someone we love receives a diagnosis of memory loss, we fall headfirst into the (usually) unasked-for role of manager, overseeing both the major decisions — whether a move is necessary, for example — as well as the minor, everyday ones.

Yet once the dust has settled and we’ve established a routine, we face a different problem. What can Mom or Dad do? How should they spend their time? Shouldn’t they be doing something?

Shouldn’t we be doing something with them?

A friend summed up this aspect of the caregiving dilemma to me and some friends at a recent “girls’ night out,” where she bemoaned the dearth of activities her mother could manage. “She used to love to read, but that’s out — she can’t stay focused,” she explained. “And she really isn’t walking well enough to go out without lots of help. So she just sits there doing nothing. It breaks my heart.”

Finding real activities for elders with memory loss seems daunting, but there are ways we can engage and enrich their daily experiences.

Having things to do provides memory-challenged adults with continued opportunities for communication, feelings of purpose and ways to socialize and find mental stimulation. Research increasingly shows the benefits, both for the older adult and the caregiver. For example, the late Dr. Gene Cohen, who researched aging and creativity, found that caregivers who played a reminiscing game with their loved ones during nursing home visits were significantly more satisfied with the time spent than those whose visits had no such focus. The parents who played the game were happier, too.

The trick is to find activities that are engaging yet doable. Perhaps a parent can’t pursue a hobby in exactly the same way, but with some changes in expectations, he or she could still take pleasure in it. A lifelong cook may not be able to whip together a full dinner, for example, but could mash apples for applesauce. A dedicated reader may no longer have the concentration to focus on a new mystery but could listen to the book on tape.

To find activities that work, I suggest some simple guidelines.

First, what does your parent enjoy? New activities aren’t impossible, but something totally outside his previous interest may be more challenging to get off the ground. You’re unlikely to make a baker out of a man who spent every spare hour on the golf course — but he may get a real kick out of watching golfing videos or teaching his grandson to putt.

Then, find ways to modify hobbies so that they’re accessible. Some activities may now be too complex, but with imagination you can find similar nonverbal, multisensory avenues that still bring satisfaction. If your mom took great pride in her beautiful flower garden, perhaps she can plant small pots of flowers, look with you through garden books (big coffee-table volumes are ideal), or help you mix potpourri to use in sachets.

Keep the activities manageable, but avoid things that are overly simple or insultingly childish.

Plan your approach. Try to pick a quiet time and a place with few distractions to introduce a new activity. Use the “three C’s” approach: Remain calm, consistent and concise when speaking to your loved one, especially if you’re giving directions.

If your relative grows frustrated, try something else. Sing a song, offer a hug or have a snack. Try to figure out what was difficult. Was the activity too complicated? Did it rely too much on conversation? Try it again later.

Finally, keep in mind that such engagement can give us back a common ground, a place to revisit and share past memories and even create new bonds. Mutual activities allow us to go beyond a relationship defined by disease to one where we can simply enjoy one another’s companionship.

If you’ve found effective, engaging ways to spend time with a parent or older relative with dementia, please share them in the comment section.


Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:35 pm
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Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:01 pm
Posts: 101
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If you read this article on the Times website, you can also read the comments from other readers. They are filled with specific and worthwhile ideas for entertaining a person with dementia.
Doris

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Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:03 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3305
Location: Vermont
Post Christmas in Spring
Since early April my dad has become obsessed with "getting his Christmas cards done". He had a caregiver call me for him last night because he wanted to make sure I would be there soon to help him with Christmas cards. My sister had just been through the same conversation a couple of days ago, and he just doesn't get that Christmas is pretty far away. I think I will have him try to sign his name, if he can, and I will have a rubber stamp made of his signature. Then I will scrounge up some leftover cards from last Christmas and see if he can rubber stamp his name, which will keep him occupied and I'll leave the cards where he can see them. I don't know if he will even be able to use a rubber stamp, but it's worth a try!


Sat May 08, 2010 9:13 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:18 am
Posts: 276
Location: Washington State
Post Reviving the Activities Thread
Hi folks. My husband told me that I should tell ya'll about a couple of activities that I do with my LO. She lives in an ALF and she gets into a real depression if she is bored. There are a couple of things that I can do to pull her out of or prevent her funk. First of all, she has a large bird feeder in a tree outside of her window. She loves watching the birds and the squirrels chasing each other and fighting for a place at the feeder. Somehow, it is calming to her. Another thing that helps is to take her out of the ALF. In summertime I have been taking her to parks to watch the children. Or, I take her to a local nursery where there are lots of colors and living things and scents (even though they have to be really strong for her to smell them). I always let her help me pick out $25 of plants for my yard. I wouldn't even care if I planted them...she feels like she has been helpful.

Which brings me to the "being useful" problem. She wants to be useful. She was a nurse but that isn't appropriate now. Someone else folds all the towels and sorts the socks. Since she is so "aware", I'm thinking about whether our local support group might like for her to be a speaker. With a microphone I think she could do it and I think she would be great. Any ideas to "being useful"?


Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:10 pm
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Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:34 am
Posts: 54
Post Re: Activities for your loved ones
Visited dad today and we had a good chat about all the stuff that has gone down over the last 24hrs. After having a chat I asked if he had been involved with any of the activities and he was adamant there was nothing to do and got upset that the other residents only sit and watch TV and nobody Laughs and talk to each other like they did when he was in respite 2 months ago. A very nice staff member came over and sat next to dad and said "We got to get you doing something and asked if he played cards and she was obviously able to see that dad could still hold a conversation and needed a little more stimulation. I know that when you ask him about whether he has played bingo or gone and had singing or whatever else he usually says no they don't do anything. The staff member then showed us a chart that showed what was run and when so I encouraged dad to participate. This bought about another staff member saying "Do you like birds?" To which i answered He has always had birds at home so she suggested that he might be able to help with the aviary duties when the gentleman was about doing the rounds this made dad slightly more enthusiastic and it was also brought to my attention that he likes to water the garden and he could help with the planting of the vegetables they were putting in also. So, I put my arm around him and said "there you go lots of things to do but you have to take up the offer when it is given, OK and give him a nudge. ( and he gave me a smile). He could be doing more than he is letting on I don't know, but I will keep asking him each time I visit and keep encouraging him to get out of the lounge chair that is all I can do,


Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:58 pm
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Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:20 am
Posts: 184
Location: So Cal
Post Re: Activities for your loved ones
Pat and Gerry,
Your husbands sound like Ken a while back: he would count his money over and over again but often hid his wallet (from me, strangers and himself) so that our main activity was 'find the wallet' or 'find the watch' several times a day. His wallet consisted of money wrapped around several credit cards and business cards with a rubber band so I replaced the cards with store club cards and the 20s and 10s with 5s and 1s so that in the event we lost the darned thing for good I still had his license, health card, etc. in my wallet. He also destroyed anything he held for a long time: tissues, mail, etc. Of course I found items in the trash can, refrigerator, dish washer... Now, unfortunately, he just sits or lies and stares. I have noticed that he'll watch certain cartoons with what appears to be real attention.
Something he will hold for hours is something they gave him when in the gero-psyche unit last year: It is a quilted fabric square with several opening/closures attached to it: a zipper, a button, a velcro strip, a pocket, a buckle, etc. He can't really use much but the velcro strip now but he'll hold it and tug at it and it seems to hold his interest. I really wish I could find anything out there he could do/watch that would occupy him. Does anyone else have a LO who is as limited as Ken who has found any ways to pass the time?
Thanks, Sher

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Sher (53) married 29 years to Ken (66) who was diagnosed with LBD in 2008, but it most likely began many years before.


Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:55 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3305
Location: Vermont
Post Re: Activities for your loved ones
The only thing my dad will do is watch tv. He's in his bed all but maybe an hour or so a day and even though I've brought music, radios, etc. he won't listen to those and is unable to hold anything or sit up so reading has been out of the question for almost a year. A while back someone suggested one of those electronic photo albums that hold a lot of e-photos, and you can set it up like an auto slide show. I haven't tried that, but I'd think that would get pretty boring unless someone were there to change the photos every day or two.

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Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:06 pm
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Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:20 am
Posts: 184
Location: So Cal
Post Re: Activities for your loved ones
Lynn, not to mention unless he has someone there at all times to remind him of who is in the pics he might think he has strangers in his room. Even pics of Ken and myself made him think someone was in our room. Sher

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Sher (53) married 29 years to Ken (66) who was diagnosed with LBD in 2008, but it most likely began many years before.


Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:24 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 3213
Location: WA
Post Re: Activities for your loved ones
Sher, do you have a picture or link to the quilted square you refer to? Maybe I could make one for my husband.

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Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:06 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3305
Location: Vermont
Post Re: Activities for your loved ones
Sher - so far my dad doesn't have problems recognizing people and other than a few weeks ago when he had a bad infection, he does not hallucinate that other people are in his room. Unlike many people on the forum, he also has exhibited little in the way of capgras, and that was only when he had the infection and he thought my son was his nephew. He had not seen his only sister and her husband for 2 years, until this past weekend because they live far away and she's not well, but as soon as they walked in his room he knew exactly who they were, which kind of amazed me. But, for many here, their LOs would probably have issues with the electronic slide shows and it wouldn't be a good thing. Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:21 pm
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Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:20 am
Posts: 184
Location: So Cal
Post Re: Activities for your loved ones
Pat,
I am bringing Ken home tomorrow from the ALF and I will take a pic of his 'sampler'. I am assuming they are made for babies to learn to fasten. Since I can't sleep I will surf the net a bit and see if I can find one. Sher

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Sher (53) married 29 years to Ken (66) who was diagnosed with LBD in 2008, but it most likely began many years before.


Thu Oct 14, 2010 3:38 am
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