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 How to keep LO occupied or entertained 
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:46 pm
Posts: 610
Post How to keep LO occupied or entertained
I feel as if I am about to ask the unanswerable question again, but I need help. My mother has declined beyond the ability to read a book, write a letter, or follow a book on tape or the radio. She watches the TV but I don't know how much she gets out of it.

She is very confused by the TV remote and tries to operate the TV with the telephone handset. She says things like, "I dialed your number on the phone but it wouldn't tune in the TV." Yet, she is mostly in denial, thinking that nothing that is wrong is her fault (the TV is broken, the remote is broken, someone else made whatever mistake) and that she is just fine.

She is really bored in the SNF and I think her lack of entertainment gives her too much time to obsess over things. The SNF has activities every day but she refuses to participate. She is still ambulatory with a walker and she walks in the halls a couple of times a day. That and TV, that's it.

Someone on the forum, I'm sorry I don't recall a name at the moment, has her husband folding the wash clothes they use as single-use hand towels. Something like that would work for her. I even borrowed the idea and asked the SNF's activities person if she could figure out a way for someone to ask my mother to fold some towels, even if they just take them away folded, dump them out and ask her to fold the same ones again later. But nothing has come of that so far. It's not like I could bring towels from home. She would see through that.

So does anyone know what else I could provide for her? She would be very offended if I offered a child's game that might be simple enough for her, but I can't think of anything else. Maybe I am expecting the impossible.

Thanks,

Julianne


Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:27 pm
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Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:28 pm
Posts: 317
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
Julianne, I was pretty concerned about getting puzzles for my husband to do...because I thought that he would be offended by the elementary nature of the puzzles. (Actually, i need not have worried. Apparently he does not get offended as much as I thought he would.) Where he goes to Adult Day Health they have puzzles where you match the shaped plastic pieces to the shapes on the plastic template. It makes lovely designs that are non-specific and certainly not childish. They said they get them at a store where they sell teaching supplies.

But I haven't found one locally that I could go to so i have made use of Walmart and Toys R Us. He LBD is pretty advanced so he is down to putting together puzzles that have maybe 12 pieces. I have found ones of flowers and animals and scenery. He is willing to do those. The best activity I have found has been a set of Legos that can be made into a truck and a tow behind trailer and a corral. I don't tell him to make what the picture says. i just tell him to make me something. A few days ago he made somthing that looked to me like a bazooka gun and he indignantly informed me that it was a crop sprayer.

I have found the puzzles that are the best for us are wooden ones where you fit the pieces back into a frame. He seems to need to know the confines of the puzzle.

If your Mom liked sewing, there ae sewing cards. Also, Google the Alzheimers store and they have a lot of activities. I have just ordered the mens tool box, and a couple of other things. Del needs tactile manipulation of things to keep him interested. Things to fiddle with.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Smiles, Nan


Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:56 pm
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:53 am
Posts: 969
Location: Ocala, FL
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
I probably shouldn't respond because Dale is farther along now... but whenever someone writes about having their LO fold towels, I think, 'Oh, dear... I've heard that one before.' Dale couldn't fold anything if he tried. He does a good job bunching up his bedclothes. Does that count? He never could put puzzles together. Many months ago, he used to sort the utensils from the dishwasher. That's hard to do from the bed... where he is now.

Earlier this afternoon, I showed Dale our wedding pictures. It's Valentine's Day. He saw a few and said, "Maybe later." No matter what it is, he says, "Maybe later." He cannot hold a pencil. He broke one a week ago in frustration. He cannot feed himself. His hands are like claws. I sometimes give him a soft ball and tell him it's for hand exercise. That lasts about two minutes.

He doesn't watch TV. He can't follow what is happening and it becomes part of the delusions he talks about constantly. This is a cruel disease! And this stage is awful.

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Leone Carroll (75); wife of Dale (75) who passed away March 23, 2011


Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:11 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 1039
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
Wow, Nan, I'm impressed with what you've come up with, and that your hubby is cooperative. Twelve-piece puzzles have got to be better than staring into space so it is great that he is willing. It sounds like you started out with the most challenging that he could do, and then adjust downward as he declines. Is that right?

Julianne, It is Coy that folds towels. I don't see why you can't bring them from home. "Mom, I've started a new way for us to dry our hands. blah blah ... Using a little towel only once is more santitary, but it is a lot of laundry! If I bring in a load of clean towels, could you help me by folding them and putting them into my pretty baskets?" (Who knows, you might actually wind up using and liking the one-use towels!)

I immediately thought of wooden design blocks I bought when my first grandkids were in preschool. They loved them all the way through their teens. If I put them on a table or counter I've had adults do designs with them while I cook and we chat. The designs are freeform and might not work for people who do best with a framework, but they are entertaining for those who can handle freeform. I've bought these for many friends when they became grandparents. I have two sets here and my great-grandson gets them out as soon as he arrives! Yet they are not childish. Here is an example: http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?product=3577&category=1686&CategorySearch=&Brand=&Price=#ReviewHeader

Leone, my heart goes out to you. This is indeed a cruel disease!

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:29 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 1039
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
Julianne, did you see this post about Talking Books?
http://community.lbda.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2722&p=24047&hilit=library+of+congress#p24047
It sounds like it might be easier to operate than the remote control . . .

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:18 pm
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:30 pm
Posts: 318
Location: southern cali
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
hubby loves the puzzles. i get the hundred piece puzzles.. mostly animals at walmart about $2.00 i think.. he wont look at the picture for some reason and he does it upside down .. if it gets to be too hard, i help... mainly turning it around or putting the outside, in a square shape..... i also play go fish with him.. takes a while to get the idea we are not asking about suits.. just numbers.. but he finally gets it and enjoys the game.. also i have lots of art supplies and when i paint i give him some paint too and he is ok for awhile. he likes to fold clothes and put away dishes.. i have to keep a close eye or id never find them...

been recording a few nat geography shows and he follows those, ok.. the regular night shows we watch, puts him to sleep in 5 minutes... he likes to rake , but his legs are giving him fits.. so that may be short lived!! sometimes i just put on oldie but goodie music and he enjoys that..
i wonder if it isnt more me, than him, that thinks he wants to be busy.. he seems to be happy, to just sit and stare out the window...
cindi

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sole CG for hubby.1st symptoms, 2000, at 55. Diag with AD at 62, LB at 64.. vietnam vet..100% ptsd disability,sprayed with agent orange, which doubled chances for dementia. ER visit 11-13,released to memory care..


Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:19 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
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Location: WA
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
My husband can't do the simplest puzzles. But tomorrow I'm going to buy him a Rubick's cube. I know he can't solve it but he can twist the thing around. That's what he needs, something to manipulate that requires no executive function.

_________________
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.


Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:35 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
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Location: Minnesota
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
cdw wrote:
i wonder if it isnt more me, than him, that thinks he wants to be busy.. he seems to be happy, to just sit and stare out the window...

Cindi, that is a thought-provoking comment. I think in the early stage mental and social stimulation is important. It may even help keep the LO functioning at a higher level longer. In the more advanced stages activity can serve practical functions, like diverting the LO from delusions or from constantly needing attention. But really, beyond those considerations, who is to say that activity is better than staring out the window, if the person is content?

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:59 pm
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:53 am
Posts: 969
Location: Ocala, FL
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
Tonight, Dale talked with my sister on the phone. When she asked about his day, he said we had flown to Louisiana today to do some business and the son of one of his friends was killed. Who knew?

Yes, his day is more exciting than anyone can imagine. He can talk about it for hours. He may look more bored than he actually is.

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Leone Carroll (75); wife of Dale (75) who passed away March 23, 2011


Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:49 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 3213
Location: WA
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
Maybe that's the whole answer! We think they are bored but their minds are just churning with fascinating events.

_________________
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.


Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:03 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:46 pm
Posts: 610
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
Thanks for all the ideas! I will look into the puzzles and I am going to keep after the activities director about the towels because she said she would do this. She has tons of books on tape but cannot follow them anymore.

If she were content just looking out the window, or staring into space, that would be fine, but she's not. She's not that delusional yet, or at least not that I know of! I would just like to find some things to help the days pass more pleasantly.

Julianne


Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:36 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 1039
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
The Alzheimer Store has some adult subject puzzles with 24 and 48 pieces. If she can handle 100 pieces those are fairly easy to find in a variety of subjects. The ones with fewer pieces tend to be more juvenile, so these might be worth looking at, so as not to offend her.

Do you think her denial is simply one of the stages of mourning for her losses? I guess we really can't begrudge that, can we? Coy is in acceptance of the disease now, and it makes it so very much easier for me as caregiver. I wonder if that will change as he declines -- if every loss will bring on a new round of mourning. We each have to play the hand we are dealt in each round, I guess.

Good luck to you in finding activities to occupy your mother and keep her mind off less constructive things. Do let us know what works.

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:59 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:46 pm
Posts: 610
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
Jeanne, that's a good question about whether she is in mourning or denial. I don't get the sense that she is in denial of her losses. That seemed to be the case a year or more ago, when she was still at home. Her mental decline has progressed to the point where she doesn't process things and I really think she believes that she is fine but living in a world where everything goes haywire. So she isn't in mourning, either.

And of course I want to have a logical discussion of the facts with her, but finally I have learned that it does no good!

In some ways, I relate to poor Leone, whose husband Dale has declined so much over the past few months, though her loss is so much greater than mine. My mother is also in a fairly steep decline, and it is just hard to adapt to the changes. Every day, I wonder, what next?

Thanks for the tips on the Alzheimer Store puzzles. I will check them out!

Julianne


Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:42 pm
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:53 am
Posts: 969
Location: Ocala, FL
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
Julianne wrote:
In some ways, I relate to poor Leone, whose husband Dale has declined so much over the past few months, though her loss is so much greater than mine. My mother is also in a fairly steep decline, and it is just hard to adapt to the changes. Every day, I wonder, what next?
Thanks for thinking of me, Julianne. Dale talked almost all night last night. I'm not sure how much sleep either of us had. I kept looking at the clock from midnight ... 1 am; 2 am; 3 am... and finally, I gave him another pill but that didn't stop the talking. It's all nonsense so I try not to listen but I'm beginning to understand why some women sleep in another room. He is sleeping soundly now. The Xanax is probably working. He will be groggy today.

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Leone Carroll (75); wife of Dale (75) who passed away March 23, 2011


Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:20 am
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:46 pm
Posts: 610
Post Re: How to keep LO occupied or entertained
Leone, of course you know that you need to take care of yourself, too, starting with getting some rest. I hope you will keep it in mind.

Julianne


Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:33 am
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