My mom no longer knows how to play her favorite game, and its breaking my heart.

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My 85 year-old mom has dementia, and lately she no longer knows how to play her favorite game of dominoes anymore. It breaks my heart as she fumbles around, not understanding it anymore. I know that I must find things that are simpler for her to do, but this has always been her game of choice and I'm just feeling really sad right now. I guess I just had to vent. Thanks.

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It is really hard to watch their abilities decline but then you will have a moment when they want you to play a game and I stop whatever I am doing to play. Mom was a great game player and we played sequence a million times but one day I got it out and she didn't remember ever playing it. The next day it was on the counter and she said oh I remember playing this, can we play and I sat with her and we played. Enjoy the moment!
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Make sure you put names on back of people in the picture & yr if can recall
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I'm going to try something tomorrow, I have some stacks loose photographs in various spots in my office and a few empty photo albums that I picked up at Dollar General, I'll ask her if she could please put them in the album for me.

She also has a ton of pictures loose in some drawers, if she does the favor for me, perhaps I can get albums for the others as well.

Wish me luck!

As to TV, my daughter and I love a long running TV series, so we bought it on DVD, all 12 seasons. My mother now knows all the characters, so the caretaker during the day just plays them in sequence and then at the end, starts back at the beginning. She also likes the Andy Griffith show, which we watch a lot, and I tape Jeopardy so we can watch that during dinner, and don't have to wait for the regular time slot.
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One thing I would add to this: when my sweet daddy began to seriously have problems with his Parkinson's, some well meaning therapist brought little board puzzles ( the kind a 1 year old would play with, handles on the pieces) and gave them to daddy to "keep his skills up". Well, that was beyond humiliating for a man whose mind was still there--but whose body was slowly dying. One day I was there and he had these puzzles out and he sat there, trying to be a good patient, but unable to fit the little cow into the cow shaped hole. Tears streaming down his face. I took the puzzles away and said "To he$$ with them, right dad? Let's watch the Nat'l Geographic station". To my knowledge, the puzzles never returned. For a person who is aware of their decline, and in my daddy's case, a brilliant mind knew it---that's just adding insult to injury. IF your loved one enjoys small and simple tasks that distract them from what they can no longer do, please go ahead. But don't insult the person living inside that tired, sick, broken body. I could sit for hours and hold daddy's hand and watch TV with him. In the end, he had his dignity.
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I'm so thankful for all of your replies and suggestions! She doesn't even remember how to play tic-tac-toe anymore! I was shocked when I realized this, but its totally a new thing for me to wrap my mind around.... Mom has pretty much given up on her favorite crosswords, too. She was looking at the answers all the time and couldn't find them on her own. I empathize with the person who says that there are still things that she suggests to her parent, that the parent still feels are "beneath her," or are too childish. I'm at that point now. So the games and activities that would actually be perfect for her right now are the ones she won't accept. That's okay (but boy, am I glad that I only downloaded a free coloring page off of the internet, and hadn't spent about ten bucks for a whole book!). Once she noticed that she couldn't remember how to play her favorite games, she stopped asking to play. I could immediately see the shock, discouragement, and sadness in her eyes as she tried to add all the dots on a domino and try to find one that had twelve dots on one side. I was wondering why she wasn't playing any of her tiles, and it was because she was either adding or multiplying the numbers on a tile, which made it impossible for a match. She tells me now that she can't keep up with the captions on tv, unless they're really slow. I wish I could find a "slow talking" channel. I DID find one thing that works, but movies like this are tough to find: I bought the old classic "The Miracle Worker" (Anne Bancroft, Patty Duke), and we watched it together. Not much talking, but lots of action that she could follow. I always have to describe what's happening on tv to her, these days. We watched another favorite -- "Splendor in the Grass," but there was a great deal of talking, so I pretty much explained what was going on, from start to finish. I have to do that with all programs. Exasperating, to say the least. But I want to find whatever works for her as she declines, so she won't just have to sit all day and stare at nothing. I'm her paid caregiver, so I'm home with her all the time. Once again, thanks to all of you for your much-needed feedback!!
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liverlips: Sure, I can totally help you because I have been there! At the end of my late mother's life, I actually gladly left my Maryland home and moved in with my mother where she was living alone in her own home. She deceased when I was there at 94. But while I was there, one of the things my mother did since she was 15 years of age was to make Christmas fudge. She had macular degeneration or low vision so she struggled with the process of cutting and plating the fudge. So I said "okay, we're going to do this together." And we did, including putting plastic wrap and a bow on top. So for you and your mom possibly you could make it a joint effort/switch it up a bit.
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You might try coloring the dots on the dominoes and see if she can match the colors instead of the number of dots. ( I hope I am remembering correctly how dominoes is played!) Anyway, I found that my grandmother could still recognize colors long after she lost her numbers. It is so hard to watch a loved one decline and decline and lose their abilities along the way. May God bless you both...
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One thing my husband loves finding faces etc in the clouds when we drive. With puzzles the lge pieces are his favorite. I even somtimes give hin a 34 or 64 pc puzzle just to keep him out of sundowners questions. Whatever works.
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Like said, they r not able to learn anything new. Short-term is the first thing to go.
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Downsouth - Xerox coupons for your mom to cut out in case you run short - 'score' with a pastry wheel or similar - sorry to hear of her decline

My mom told me she played cribbage with her dad every night for more than a year & right now I have the cribbage board that they used as it was her grandfather's - that was our wake up call that she could no longer add numbers or keep track of what had been played & gave us the needed knowledge as to how far she had gone down already
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