What kind of activites can I do with my mom with dementia?

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She can't entertain herself. She doesn't understand whats on tv and doesn't read! It can make for a very long day.

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I take my grandpa to the park. At the park the most frequent, there are ducks there so he "sometimes" enjoys feeding them bread. Being out in nature is good for both caregiver and their "patient" for getting fresh air and a little sun. For mental stimulation they can keep busy people watching for example watching children play in the playground; going to a garden and looking a various plants and flowers. another good activity is to buy a beach ball and play catch with it back and forth.
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I have found lots of great ideas here - thanks to all. I have looked to my mother's past interests for help. My mother wouldn't watch tv until I found the station with the old programs she had enjoyed in her early adulthood. She craves companionship and if someone sits and laughs with her, she very much enjoys those Judy Garland/Fred Astaire era musical movies or the old Red Skelton, Carol Burnett slapstick. When we go for rides or are I am just doing chores in her apartment, I will begin singing a song from one of those old musicals and before I know it she is smiling and singing along. She played violin in high school so I often put on classical musical when I arrive and oftentimes we are "directing" the orchestra. She sewed, knitted, and did all kinds of crafts. As long as I remove the packaging so that she doesn't think it is for "children", she will enjoy making suncatchers, hotpads, etc. etc. Games are tricky. She used to be excellent at spelling but just can't do scrabble, etc. but she does enjoy number games. She also very much enjoys watching the birds at her birdfeeder. I have found a simply bird book which identifies bird by color and she enjoys finding and naming the birds - even tho we just found them yesterday and she has forgotten! Looking at old photos can bring forth memories of her childhood and younger days, often stories I have never heard before. I have also just read the article about listening to those with dementia. I have discovered that silence is okay. Takes patience but sometimes we just sit and hold hands and all of a sudden my mother will initiate a conversation.

To those attempting to understand medicaid. I don't! but do not overlook the potential for benefits from the VA if your father was in the military. Spouses are also eligible.
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PUZZLES. OMG, puzzles. My mom and her mil used to do the really, really complex ones all the time, as did I. I'll get her a couple simple puzzles, maybe some other simple games she can do. I'll set them up in the living room, bring up a lamp from downstairs so she has better light to see by. GREAT IDEA, Sujean, thank you!
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Lots of great ideas! My mom loves to be helpful and I try to engage her whenever possible. She wipes dishes, folds her clothes, hangs her clothes. I have her help me take dishes out of dishwasher. I'm a retired primary teacher so I was thinking about some kind of workbook. They gave her the test for dementia and she only scored a 8. I thought the test was to general a test just like education and doesn't always tell you what they do know. One of the sentences she wanted her to repeat back to her, didn't make any sense to her so of course she couldn't do that task. I had her repeat a sentence relevant to her she could do it. One general test I don't think is accurate for all people. There is still ways for them to grow more brain cells. I was interested in giving her cognitive activities to do. I'm going to try to teach my mom things I would teach in a classroom. Show her flashcards of objects and have her give me the name. Have her write her name everyday, do calendar, dance to some music, simple exercises and stretches, sing a few songs. Show her a picture and have her tell me a story. I think she would like to play bingo and maybe some silly games like spill the beans. We also do 12 piece puzzles and sort things. I guess all my teaching experience in a classroom comes in handy. Mom and I have a little schooling going on. Of course we always take a drive and go shopping somewhere everyday. Lots of times we go out to lunch and the grocery store. I long for my mother that she use to be but she is still capable of making me laugh and tells me that I have made a difference to her and that is what keeps me keepin on. Its a hard job but I know I will never regret the time we have spent together. She lives with me and we are together 24/7 she is not independent anymore but dependent upon me and I won't let her down even though its not easy.
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how about a puppy. Nothing keeps someone occupied like a puppy.
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queenbling, might he enjoy taking care of an indoor plant or two in the front room?
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I have the same worries about my husband who is 84 and diagnosed with Alzheimer's this summer (though it's been coming on for two years). He sits in our front room alone most of the day. I had quit my job because I was worried that he seemed to be in the same chair when I came home but I can't say that my being there has made much difference. If I am watching tv and ask him to join me, he might come in for one minute but then go back to his chair in the front room. My kids tell me to leave him alone... that he is happy. I had thought of Adult Day Care but I just can't picture him enjoying this? I wonder if it's mainly a "female" kind of place. I can see female's being interested in crafting, dancing but my husband never had any hobbies and I think he would feel out of place. He used to love to spend his day working in our yard but now has no interest in going outside so I am now the "yard man" along with everything else. But I do wish there was something that he would enjoy doing.
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SusanJMT, thank you. I am aware of that and I've looked into it. Very, very long story short, she's flat out refused. She won't leave her home. Things will eventually have to shift, as her needs change, and I do know that. We're just not quite there yet. Getting closer every day, but not quite yet...
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oreosmeow: Some assisted living facilities offer a day trial, some a week trial when a room has been emptry for a while. Call and ask. My mom had spent a half day and met very vibrant 80-plus year olds, one of which organized an upbeat exercise class. At the time, Mom was fearful of social situations. Medication has helped that as well as her other anxieties and depression. She is now a happy camper at the one mile away at the Lifeguidence (Memory care) side of the facility. I visit at least three times a week and mostly she is awake and happy, though she is still slow to engage. I have a good communication with the director, nurse, and other staff, and that moves things along to make her more active.
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I give my mom my laundry to do (nothing too delicate, though), she cleans up after dinner (though I check the dishes as they come out of the dishwasher to make sure they're clean), we'll walk down to the mailbox on good days, she liked the Westminster Dog Show on tv (though she can't see at all well), so I try to find something similar on TV - she also like the World Series, so now that baseball's starting up again, we'll watch that. now that the weather's getting better and it's time to garden again, I hope that she'll be engaged by that once again.

It's hard - she spends so much time in bed; I mentioned it at the doc's yesterday, so she asked my mom why she spends so much time in bed..."I'm bored." Yet she wants nothing to do with "activities" like shopping (once in a while, yes, but not often), nor will she go to any senior facilities for day care or the like. Personally, I think she could be happy in assisted living or memory care - IF she would put a little effort into it - but talking about it starts our epic arguments, so I don't even bring it up anymore.
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