My mother can't do any of the things she used to enjoy like cooking, reading, shopping, traveling. She can't follow plots or comprehend more than a headline. Although the tv is on all day she isn't actively listening anymore. To keep her occupied we have reorganized dresser drawers & her jewelry box, gone through boxes of photos & worked on the family tree together. She has short term memory loss but is pretty clear about family history & loves to talk about relatives & events from the past. I… read more
If you know of someone or yourself that sees, figit lap quilts are great for keeping fingers busy. The items need to be very securely attached so the won’t end up as a choughing risk. Ideas can be found on Pinterest. Or google figit blankets. I’m a caregiver by occupation and find these helpful if lap quilt contains items your love one is interested, Sensory items are great . If your loved one used to knit, unraveling a knitted object can help pass the time.
For my mom, the best fun activities are coloring and working puzzles (she can do 24-piece by herself). She has two favorite "chores" to do; folding laundry and drying dishes. My husband once gave her a bin of screws to sort; she did so dutifully and with great care, giving her a sense of accomplishment. She can sometimes help with simple kitchen tasks, such as pulling grapes off the bunch, peeling carrots, stirring batter, setting the table (well, sort of), and wiping the kitchen table clean before and after mealtimes.
She has lost interest in reading for the most part. However, I did discover that she enjoys reading through some of the journals she kept through the years.
She formerly loved to tend her gardens, so enjoys working outdoors for short bursts. Our neighborhood cottonwood trees are making quite a mess as they drop their fluffy seed pods. She doesn't like seeing the mess on our deck/patio, so has offered to sweep up the mess. Here's a picture of her enjoying this task while seated in her walker.
I had a nurse that helped with ideas. My mom will repeatedly try to help, stand and watch me work, (I'm an artist and work at home). She can't be left alone in her room or she rearranges everything and although TV entertains, just parking in a chair all day is unacceptable. So the time she isn't at the senior center, it is a challenge. She has a stack of adult coloring books, and will spend a lot of time rearranging her colored pencils. Next to her chair is a stack of books, photo albums and a nail kit. A quick solution is a laundry basket with unfolded cloth napkins and all laundry is her job to fold. I can't let her in the kitchen at all (fall risk) but she can still peel apples and cut veggies (child safe knives). She has a list of family members to call and a journal with a list of things to write about. I've taken her to canvas painting and although she was an oil painter for years, she only manages basic designs but loves the experience. (But she will spend hours sorting her oil brushes, never actually painting). For outings we go to the free nights at the museums, flea markets and she pushes the carts...and WalMart is climate controlled, zoo, used book stores, movies, church, or walk around the neighborhood. One caretaker takes her to the YMCA for swimming, I take her to food banks a couple times a month and she really gets into it, and I ask her to write out some meal plans afterwards. She still gets bored and drives me nuts, is needy and pouts, but I know I have some decent resources. Hope this helps!
Mom was an artist so she would look at her paintings and want to change them. (I would tell her they are dry now) so she used to describe what needed to be done the next time. Watching TV, folding washcloths or dish towels helped, photo albums, going outside to see the sun set, magazines, combing/brushing her hair, making a craft (even tho artistic she always struggled with crafts) so she was receptive to learning until she wasn't. I let her watch me pay the bills and she'd say the electric company is a rip off (we then talk about how love day we needed to own one and take on all the money they had 😊) talking about the past was best until about her last 6ish months. Then just holding her hand or feeding her a snack was good to. JUST MAKE MEMORIES for yourself. Trust me you'll treasure them.
Make a photo album together, if possible with the stages of her life in order so she can see the progression of where people would be at present. She can look at these often to give her self something to keep her mind busy, reliving the old memories. Folding towels and wash clothes can keep someone with dementia busy as well, they feel they are helping with tasks that need to be done. IF she can help with some of the tasks with cooking let her do those steps, for example if she can still stir the ingredients or pour the measured ingredients in the bowls and stir them, have her sort through and snap green beans. If she enjoyed sewing or crafts give her buttons to sort through. Everyone no matter what stage they are in their lives want to be needed and feel they are helping in some way, no matter how small.