My mom complains and wonders all day, what activates can she do so that I can get something’s done?

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Thanks Jaye for appreciating my ideas! It took five years for me to gather this information, through reading and the internet, and if I can help shorten the learning curve for those still on this journey, I am truly blessed.

Kelly: if your father worked in the restaurant business why not have him watch the FOOD CHANNEL and make a list of his favorite recipes, then gather up his favorite recipes and help him make them into a BOOK he can publish!! He may find a new purpose and you will have an amazing memento for the whole family! Also, have him 'inventory your pantry' and make a list of everything in there! When it comes to food, you can also get some catalogs for 'kitchen utensils' and have him tear out pages of utensils he used in his restaurant. p.s. If it isn't Alzheimer's, there has to be some deficiency if his memory is affected. Please make sure that he is checked out by a geriatric doctor. (It took years to get Mom properly diagnosed)

Some of my most prized possession are the last few crochet attempts my mother did, and pieces of yarn and fabric that she was meticulously folding. Her needlewoork attempts were very 'creative' but they are now priceless to me!!

As we can see, the activities that keep them HAPPY are ones that pertain to something in their life. Something related to a hobby or profession seems to work quite nicely. Senior centers are great but be sure that the 'bus' they get on is ONLY for the center, so they don't end up lost. Be sure that the 'center' calls you to let you know that Mom/Dad got there safely, and when they leave have them call too! One can't be too careful!
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I FIND IT HELPFULT TO SEND MOM TO ADULT DAYCARE. IF YOU HAVE ONE IN YOUR AREA. MOST OF THE TIME THE LOCAL BUS WILL PICK HER UP. IT WILL GIVE YOU TIME FOR YOURSELF. AND MOM WILL ENJOY ALSO.
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oh and forgot u mentioned the restaurant! try working him in the kitchen, give hin small, responsibilities, where he wont get hurt, and ask his input!!!
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try old pictures, scrapbooks, u say he has a great long term memory, find some mags, that he might associate with his past work, let him look through those, talk to him, about his old jobs and what he remembers, I dont know if hes a talker or not, if not, maybe movies, thats if he will sit down and watch, I know when my grandfather was home all he did was walk around in circles, and check on one picture frame that he hid 20 dollars in! they get pretty ritualistic! really you have to sit down, and maybe write a list of things he might enjoy! It certainly would be worth it not to see him wandering around aimlessly and probably depressed too, that must be so hard , I know because it was for me and my grandpa, he was a wonderful man, but very conservative and too himself! Sometimes it takes a little prodding to hit the jackpot so to speak to make him a little more happy and not feeling confined.............My grandpa fought it all the way to our house, from the Bronx, it was like almost handcuffing him to leave his home and surroundings, he just didnt understand either that he could wander off and never be found..............unfortunately back in those days, My family was so big, with kids running all around, my dad and step mom trying to take care of them, etc,,,,,,,,,,,,,nobody really had the time to concentrate on his comfortability, had I realized more, I was only like 8 or 9 then I would have tried to help, but he didnt look miserable, walking around in circles all day, and going to the picture frame, he was very quiet in the end, could hardly get a word or two out of him, but another thing I just remembered, that he had this thing about napkin collecting, he would take napkins and pile them up, til we had a whole den full.........at restaurants he would grab all the napkins on the table, even before we had a chance to use them, then ask for more, we practically had to hide our napkins!!! sounds funny and looking back it was!!! and every napkin had to be folded a certain way............I dont know why grandpa chose napkins, but who knows I would probably chose earrings , or purses, or something like that, or maybe he just thought in his head there would be a severe shortage one day.............GOd Bless you, and take care, dont put too much weight on yourself, I know its hard, but grandpa is safe, and eventually hopefully he will just forget, or resign himself to the fact that he is meant to be there and not alone! hope this at least made u smile....
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I have the same problem with my father-in-law. He will be 91 soon. He has a fantastic memory of long term, but it is like the movie "50 First Dates" most of the time. He doesn't have alzheimers. He never did anything fun, but worked always. He owns a restaurant (not in my city) and doesn't understand that he cannot stay by himself. He also wants to just GO HOME! Any ideas for keeping him busy durung the day?
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Excellant ideas MiaMadre.... take care J
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You guys always raise to the solution with your ideas some of you might have been teachers also makeing a wreath using a wire hanger for different seasons of the year like pastel for spring might be good- a lovely lady who was in the same nursing home as my husbands during most of his rehabs taught me how to do it it is good for holidays and seasons and might be something an elderly person would like to do to give away.
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Yes give her something that wont remind her of the past, stay away from anything that she might be whining about today, and concentrate on keeping her mind as stable and busy as possible, u know what mom is capable of! think about her old hobbies, what did she enjoy helping with!!! I was thinking maybe old magazines too, exept maybe u do the cutting out, lots of cute pics!!!! then some elmers glue, to stick them on a blank piece of copy paper, she can make all kinds of stuff, even if its that stick glue in the tube!!! anything that wont be too difficult, fun and interesting for her! maybe she likes nature? old national geographics!!! animals, water falls, etc.......................everyone likes or enjoys stuff like this, even me!!! use that lil activity to keep her mind on one track, while certainly giving her options to pick and choose what is! dont let the grump take over her and your tudes, if u have to, make her start her day over! say goodmorning mom, we are starting our day over now!!! lets find something special and fun to do!! even a few little white lies are ok, to keep her happy, sane, safe and comfortable!!!! Please let me know how this stuff goes!!! She will feel productive after a while and wont have to sit around miserable watching her tv, and feeling like shes not needed!!! little sewing jobs will , I have to take my own advice as well! which i am finally able to do this....so now I can practice what I preech, as they say................still have lots to learn thou!!!, and this is truly amazing! the support here is awesome and always gets me to see stuff in a different lite!
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I will add these notes to ALL the amazing ideas we come up with. To get my mother interested in something fun to do, I just started to do the activity myself. If it was something that I knew that Mom used to be proficient at, I would ask for her HELP! "Mom, I'm stumped, can you help me here?" She would be MORE willing to get involved if she thought she was being helpful. And when she was being honery (yes, my dear sweet mother) I would just leave the 'project' on the table. This always seemed to spark interest on her part, if for no other reason than to put it away.

OH... another thought. Please don't correct them, or critic the end results, unless it is positive reinforcement. Early into Mom's diagnosis I would try to 'help' her do it right, when in fact the only interest should be in having them DO the project. I was always careful to only have SAFE tools for Mom to use, and even crocheting had to be watched carefully, so the hook wouldn't be used as an 'ear cleaner'! (Yikes)

And don't offer too many things at once, I used baskets and bins to keep 'tasks' in, and I would cycle through projects to see what was her interest of the day. Even a simple puzzle can do double duty, if you flip it over and NUMBER the pieces. Mom was a math genius, and she was able to put the 'numbers' together easier than pictures sometimes.

I also used these same ideas for projects at the nursing home when Mom was there. I would bring my bins with me, just start something, and some cookies and a pot of tea later, the other butterflies (ladies) would gravitate over to our table to see what we were doing. I never felt more useful! And Mom got used to the other ladies there, and they to her!

Also... a comfy apron for Mom (or Dad) to wear will keep them from hiding things from a craft project. Mom would squirrel away parts of puzzles, and wood beads, etc in her room, but once we used the apron, she would put all the 'pieces' in her apron, which we monogramed with HER name, and left near the craft area.

Never try to force them to do anything. ASK for their help, tell them you need help getting this done, or offer some 'monetary incentive' to get this done. "The school will pay us $X.XX to get these wood pieces painted." Or the "Church is having a bake sale, and needs........ "

Use positive reinforcement, and if they lose interest, or are not interested at all... don't let it get to you. I can remember telling my mother when I was young, that "I don't have a THING to do..... there's NOTHING to do around here.... I'm bored" So I was understanding of her lack of interest. UNTIL I found something she really wanted to do, then she would stay busy for hours, sorting through buttons, or looking at pattern books, or sorting 'sewing notions'.

Seeing my mother involved in anything made my day much easier, and I hope these suggestions will help someone else too!
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I"ve heard of giving them the job of rolling coins is effective. The elderly person seems to like it and it accomplishes a purpose. Another idea is a needlework project. just thought of this one too: You could give her a paint by numbers kit. I used to love to do those and can see myself enjoying doing those paintings again when I am older.
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