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My mom-in-law has Alzheimer's & I need activities for her other than watching TV.
I cannot get her to do any games. She has no patience & the obvious understanding of them. I tried reading her a few passages in the Bible today & all she kept asking me was "When is he coming"..meaning her son (my husband).
She is obsessed with him and our day consists of talking about when he is coming & watching TV. I want to show her more enjoyment but am running out of ideas. She is very stubborn & set in her ways. How can I get her to to do other things in the house besides watching tv? I appreciate any advice.

Thanks!

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Maybe since she is so obsessed with seeing her son, you could use him as a motivation. "Sonny will be here soon; let's _______ for him before he get's here. (Fill in the blank: make a salad, bake cookies, sweep the kitchen floor, make a craft, polish shoes, etc.)
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Sorting/matching socks can be entertaining, especially if they are warm from the drier. (And there is no rule against throwing a few pair from the sock drawer into the drier!)
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HI HUGS AND KISSES. I HAVE JUST BROUGHT MY STEP MOTHER HOME AFTER BEING IN A NURSING HOME FOR FIVE YEARS. I DIDN'T CATCH HOW LONG THAT YOUR MOTHER IN LAW HAS HAD HER ILLNESS. I BELIEVE TIME AND SURROUNDINGS HAVE A LOT TO DO WITH THE WAY THEY ACT. I BROUGHT HER HOME AGAINST ALL ADVICE FROM EVERYONE I TALKED TO INCLUDING MY OWN DOCTOR.. Now at the beginning she was a real pistol...She thought she worked at the nursing home and tried to help everyone but would sometimes hurt her own self...She was a very educated lady and so helpful and caring to all that needed her. The nursing home got so agitated with her ownership of the nursing home...LOL..they told me she needed to be put in the wing where the residence where locked in their rooms and confined...I was in the process of having her moved, but being a private pay patient at 4030.00 A month they left her where she was...I am sorry for such a long story, but my point is I really don't believe that I would have been able to handle her in the beginning. She is now such a true pleasure....She is on such a schedule...I am fortunate right now that she goes to the bathroom on her own, well I take her in the wheelchair and sometimes with the walker. She sleeps all night....Wakes up around 8:oo has breakfast then reads books and magazines til lunch. she eats takes a nap. I have to make her get up for dinner...I was so excited to bring her home, like you I am wanting to make her life exciting and just for her to be happy....Again I guess what I'M trying to say is that it may take time or maybe every person is different...I'll stop now. Good luck..God bless...
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Something my mom enjoys doing is those "find the six differences" puzzles that are in the Sunday comics. She naturally, will say the same thing over and over, but it keeps her busy, albeit for a short time, but does enjoy. I can almost always get her to laugh when doing them. Just make sure they are the easy ones, some are too "busy" and she can't do those. Good luck.
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My cousin found our grandmother's charm bracelet. She gave it to my mom and mom loved the way it made a soft sound like windchimes. Mom finds it soothing and tactile. She will hold it and enjoy it tactically for hours.
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I visited my mom last weekend and the caregiver proudly shared the "pinch-pot" that mom made in the craft room with the art therapist! It made me think that play-dough or self hardening clay might be fun!
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I would zoom in on some everyday activites that have a practical purpose, such as household tasks, light yard work, etc with verbal cues as needed. Lots of praise, too!Then, if she wants to relax in front of the tv, at least you know that she had some stimulating activities that were purposeful in short stints.Think about what she used to do in everyday life and scale it down some. Love your strong commitment to her happiness!
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My mom has only the beginning of dementia, but she can play that kids Memory game. I only use half the usual number of cards. But she can beat me pretty much every time. If she has like to garden in the past, maybe you can get her to plant some things in pots. Mom likes to just go for a drive. Mom has lost the ability to speak, read, and write so finding activities for her is hard too. And then there is the rapidly fading eyesight. At this point she can still do jigsaw puzzles with large pieces. And I have found the magazines Country and Birds and Blooms good for her. Lots and lots of pictures.
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Oh - a LARGE white board with odorless markers can be a fun thing especially in combination with a cork board. Run some cheap copies of movie poster pics or celebrities or whatever she had interest in and put those in a book. If she can read she might enjoy going through some of her old cookbooks as well.
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Some things I did with Mom

Adult coloring books with a big box of crayons.
Dolls whose clothes she could change and hair she could 'fix'

Playing cards. we played Go Fish. She attempted solitaire (Mom was a big bridge player back in the day).

Also Dominos - but I had red and black and white and we would match color not numbers!
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I bounce a soft blue kickball to my mom,and tell her "my kids won't play ball with me,
but my mom will".
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My sister and I played Scrabble and told my mom she was the "letter picker". The letters are in a silky, velvety tactile bag and she played with it as it even made an intriging sound! When we needed letters we asked for some and mom would "count" what we needed and put them on the table. (She can't count so we would just give back the extras and tell her they were hers.) We laughed and all had fun. I also, "helped her" pot some marigolds for the back patio. She got her hands in the dirt and my sister said that she watered them EVERY day that I was gone. That made me feel SO happy!
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When a person reaches this stage of dementia, they need continual cuing to stay with an activity. So with sorting, you might start her and she may do a few items, but then would stop as she has forgotten what she is doing or is not sure, so quits. So she would need another direction of what to do and how.

Another idea is to involve her in everyday tasks - drying dishes, washing the table, folding the laundry, cutting coupons. Again, she would likely need help to start and to keep going. Also, look to what hobbies or interests she had prior.

If you are interested in activity items designed for persons with dementia, see below.

Monica
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These are great ideas. I am going to try all but I tell ya MIL is just so difficult & stubborn. Sometimes I feel like I could scream. I know it's not her fault but she makes EVERYTHING so hard. I just want to make her happy. Is it ok to just let her watch her tv all day? We do go to the store almost everyother day.....My husband & I take her out with our friends a lot & we also go to the movies at least once a week. I think the sorting ideas will work but her attention spam usually is for 3 minutes & then she puts it down. Oh boy! Maybe I am just trying to hard??? Thanks for your help & taking the time to write back ladies.
p.s. We are still searching for a caregiver 4 days a week (live-in) if you know of anyone in the Streamwood, IL area.
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I recall a man in our support group saying that his wife loved to handle her jewelry. She would just look at it and rearrange it on a tray. Does MIL have some costume jewelry to try this with?
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Sounds like she's agitated and YES, has a short attention span. The lady I'm caring for now comes and goes with this attention span stuff. I'm sorry that didn't work. I wonder if the "sorting" element would help. Giving her a box of photos and having her go though them. I find that, sometimes, handing my current client something and then appearing to "leave" makes her dig in and look at things. I don't know. I'm really in awe of your desire to help her, though. Stay with it. You'll CRACK THE CODE!!!! Hey if you're going to a Goodwill or something, how about record albums from her younger years?
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Ruth1957....I have her looking at photos right now of an album I forgot I made last year. It is mainly with her, my hubby & I.....man I thought I scored but as I am writing you she is already closing the book & saying "I've seen them already".
Man, her attention span is SOOOOOO Short! Ahhh carumba!
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Karieh thanks! I am excited to read these articles!

Ruth1957...I actually laughted out loud when I read the suggestion about putting a book of photos of my hubby....That is GENIOUS! Thanks.
I appreciate all these ideas. Here I am a singer/dancer and posess an artisitc/creative side & I am trying to think up of things to do..lol I should be better at this. I am going to look for some good coffee table books! I bet the Good Will store has tons!
Thanks again. ;)
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Here are a couple of things from my experience Caregiving for several clients with Dementia/Alzheimers. I take the front page of the paper and read the headlines. They enjoy interacting about the main stories. A favorite book of one of my very elderly clients is a beautiful coffee table book with nature photographs and inspirational quotes. They're short and easy to read, and we talk about the colors in the pictures. I've also gotten music CDs, printed out the lyrics to the songs of their "era", and we have had a little sing along. This is FUN for all. One of my clients used to work building aircraft. I got a book about the history of the 747, and he LOVED going through that. I love the other suggestion about family photo albums. You might use her obsession with your husband to your advantage. Get a bunch of photos of him, and have her sort them with you. Maybe she can even place them into a scrap book - use photo copies rather than actual photographs. She may enjoy telling you things to write under the photos.
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Hi HugsandKisses,

There are two great articles written by AgingCare.com Editor’s that were already posted in our community. We thought this might answer your caregiving question.

Caring for a Parent with Alzheimer's at Home
Page 4: Activities for Someone with Alzheimer's Disease
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/Alzheimers-disease-activities-games-139990.htm

and

My Elderly Parent Has Dementia: What Activities Can We Do?
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/My-Elderly-Parent-Has-Dementia-What-Activities-Can-We-Do-Together-137087.htm

We hope this helps. Please let us know if you need anything else and we look forward to seeing more questions and discussions from you.
Thank you,
Karie H.
The AgingCare.com Team
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Thanks Jeanne Gibbs. These are all great ideas. The coins are a great idea.
She does have the same concentration issue as your husband. This is why I have had a difficult time finding activities. She loves her tv. I just thought maybe try some more activities to give her more of "a life". She gets frustrated & then gets real mad & will throw a fit. She used to do my hair (her version of braiding..lol) but now she says she does not know how. It is so sad & I dont want to upset her. The coin idea just might work. She loves her coins...lol We go to the store a lot and walk around & she likes to look at the kids. Thanks for the advice. I will keep ya posted :)
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Can she fold laundry, such as small towels? Can she sort coins into stacks? Play simple card games? What about simple children's jigsaw puzzles?

How about looking at family albums together? Can she tell your stories about the older pictures?

Would she be interested in some other kind of reading material? A child's picture book, perhaps?

Can she set the table? Help you roll out cookie dough? Sweep the sidewalk?

There was a time in my husband's dementia when he could not concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes at a time. It was wonderful progress when he could follow the plot of a television show. We found that videos, without the continuous interuption of commercials, were more suitable for him. I don't think watching television or videos is a bad thing, but I hope you can come up with other activities as well.
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