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My 84 yr old grandma gets bored but does NOT entertain herself well. I just need ideas of things to keep her busy for 1/2 hr to an hour at a time so that I can get things done around the house. She can't see well enough or comprehend enough to read anymore, doesn't like tv, won't do easy crosswords, doesn't have the patience for puzzles. I'd like to come up with some easy crafty type ideas that are fairly easy to do that she can work on and then use to give to people as thank you gifts. Any ideas? Please.......

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when you say she doesn't like TV, is it smart oriented? You Tube for example... My mother enjoys so many old shows she watched 50 years ago, Big Valley, Bonanza, or Murder she Wrote, or various Pastors, music videos like Gaithers. I bought my mother a 55 inch smart tv for her room and removed the one from the living room. It makes family have to gather in her room to visit. She is basically bedridden. Bought a recliner ($10 Goodwill) for myself. Living together, not a lot of one on one visiting so now we are more prone to watch a movie together. Another idea is to give her small nic nacs, picture frames etc to help you clean. Good Luck.
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Anne123, I'm gonna try rolling coins. Thanks
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tactile activities are mindless but brilliant for the elderly, play dough, toddler activities on the internet as they have the same concentration span and similar abilities, paint and colour by number, candle wax painting get large candle piece of paper and paint brush short thick handled brush with not too long bristles on brush, draw picture with candle then paint with paint hang and dry.
rolling paper for paper toll, they get a kick from, different coloured paper rolled together, then unroll and get to re roll, coloured macaroni make into great neclaces and bracelets, you can get plastic sewing needles with big eyes for wool and use rug matting to sew, this can be reused over and over again, the op shops have knitted jumpers that unpick and they then role into balls
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The lady I care for recently lost her eye sight. Any ideas how to keep her entertained? She don't like TV anymore and she has listened to hundreds of audio books and they are starting to bore her,
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agfoley, i did not mean to sugest that your overall plan was demeaning. It certainly is not for someone who has advanced dementia. It is not. i was just stating my personal rection to it if I was still mentally healthy but physically incapacitated. so often people with physical limitations are treated as though they are also mentally damaged as well.
Unfortunately I am a stubbon old woman who has to learn the hard way as in "Mum you should not be using the circular saw" i will and I do but not on the days I feel dizzy. i still drive and hopefully safely and cautiously but know better than to try heavy traffic in big cities.
Anyway enough of me. I do understand your native culture does include the care and value of your elders in the same way as many non westernized cultures have the same compassion and responsibility and applaude that.
I really was not wanting to trash you plan but just point out that many elders are so tired at this point they frequently just want to be left alone and not stimulated even if it is "good for them" Blessings to you. i do have good friends who are american Indians but don't know nearly enough about your culture.
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Linda09, can you take the middle seat out of the van and just get him in to sit on the floor with some pillows? maybe laying on the floor of the van would work, with a bed made of blankets?
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Get a box of assorted screws washers, nuts and bolts and give him/her an egg carton to sort them into.

Get some assorted dried beans (several kinds or the 15 beans in one pack) and elmers glue and have him/her make a design with the beans. You can even given them a pattern to fill in with beans of their choosing. For a backing I like to use wood shingles that I get at the hardware supper store. They usually sell me open bundles. These can be used as gifts or not.
sort colored pencils.
My mom asked for a box of crayons (crayola of course) and a kids coloring book and enjoys coloring the pictures as long as she doesn;t have to come up with the design.
Sorting coupons? Cutting out coupons with kiddie scissors? Grouping by type. You cold even make a "Shopping list and find coupons for it"
Polishing shoes. Polishing Nails. Polishing silver or similar.
Get one of those "paint with water" books that has the paint already on the paper and all they have to do is dip the brush in water and Paint away to see the design. Easy to do and very little clean up.
Color paint chips from the hardware store...cut into sections and arrange into designs or pictures. Mosaics.
Get some artificial flowers and vases to "arrange"
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Veronica91, I'm happy to hear you are still happily independent. Unfortuneately, the awful last stages of Alzheimer's is taking over my mom's mind and body. She's different now. She can't live on her own so my husband and I brought her into our home instead of dropping her off at a nursing home. As Native Americans, our culture teaches us to care for our elders. Since she can't remember the activities she once enjoyed, it's been my desire to make her days happy, comfortable, lively, and purposeful so that she's not simply wasting away in a chair in front of the TV. Hence, the plan. It's not a perfect plan nor is it set in stone and Im sorry if you believe it's demeaning because she's not a child but I know her mind and body needs to stayi active for her overall well being. I wish my mom was still able to do all the things you still can do but that's not the case anymore or else I would welcome her to go where she pleases, do as she pleases, when she pleases. To ignore her plight with Alzheimer's and not intervene by any means possible to ensure her safety, health, and overall happiness would be unloving and reckless on my part. I hope you can understand my motives. Respectfully, Agfoley.
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agfoley, you have created an excellent system for a rebelious 3 year old and it obviously works for someone with Alz in their late 80's. Try that on me and I would tell you what to do with your gold stars.
Somedays I just don't feel like showering or getting dressed and spend the entire day with my laptop just surfing the web comfortably dressed in my flanel nightgown and a quilt to keep me warm. I don't have dementia or depression but I have earned the right to do as I please in my golden years. i do what i want when I want and in my own time. I take my medication as prescribed as long as i know the reason and if I don't agree with a certain test or proceedure the Dr knows about it up front.
Going out to eat is no longer a treat because I have lost a lot of weight so the nerves to my legs get pinched and I roll out after a couple of hours looking like a drunk on half a glass of wine if i even finish that. On top of that I have swallowing difficulties so choosing an entree is never easy and forget fatty fast food.
Life changes as we age and it is very important for our younger relatives to realize us olders are not going to do a lot of things just because they are good for us.
agfoley don't get me wrong you are a wonderful caregiver and have found a plan that works for your loved one
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I have enjoyed reading the ideas presented here! My mom (89 yrs old) has alzheimer and is becoming increasingly withdrawn within a year. I have seen her decline as others have mentioned here; she doesn't want to do anything but watch TV all day though she does have a home health care provider during the day. She has become increasingly rude and disrespectful too. I figure its depression and boredom to be stuck at home all day. She also began refusing to get up to shower in the morning though my mom has always been an early bird! She began eating breakfast at 11:00 AM because she just wanted to stay in bed all morning, saying, "Just give me 10 more minutes" ... trying to RUN the SHOW and annoy her provider! So, I created a daily schedule on a huge sticky note chart paper (posted in her bedroom and provider takes it from room to room so its visible) that my mom and her health care provider can follow to break up the day which includes two "Activity" time slots, a Bible Study and Prayer time slot and a daily walk. She now has a wake up time, snack times, lunch time, TV time, etc. I kept most activities to 30 minutes due to her attention span. TV time is a anywhere from 1 hour to 1 1/2, so her provider can either do the cleaning/washing or meal prep while mom views her favorite shows. The first day we implemented the schedule, my mom put up a fight and told her provider she was fired! LOL! But thankfully with Alzheimer's patients quickly forget why they were angry and life goes on like it never happened! Whew! I am grateful for all the ideas I found her to occupy my mom during her scheduled "Activity" time. In addition, because my mom is very, very, stubborn and will often get into verbal arguments with her provider I had to implement a Rewards System with the daily schedule so she will behave...she has to earn a set amount of gold stars by Friday in order to be driven to her favorite store to shop on Saturday or eat at her favorite restaurant after church on Sunday. Rewards system is posted on the chart. NOTE: I have never taken away the "rewards" if she doesn't have enough gold stars because I solely use them as a motivator during the week so she has something to "earn", makes the day less boring, and tempers her ornery behavior. Its working!
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Paint by number kits are a good project. The day by day progress gives an elderly person something to look forward to, and a goal to obtain. Some paint by number kits are made for kids which can be much easier for the elderly. I have noticed there are many kits, projects, etc. for kids that are great for elderly people. In addition, there are many kits for growing herbs (indoors), and they look nice as well.
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I recently discovered that my husband loves running paper through the shredder.
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Great answers, basically its a trail and error of many different things, because you know how it goes: its to hot, its to cold, I can't see, I'm tired, I have to pee or poop, I can't do it, etc....my mom (84yrs)her only enjoyment was cooking...so I will give her a head of garlic and let her breack up garlic bulb into a big plastic bowl and take all the pieces apart an sort, that will last a good 10 to 15minutes sometimes longer, however she will ask me 10x if she is doing it right...also pets are great therapy, brushing them, petting them, talking to them, etc.....folding paper, a pile of paper, whichever way they can fold it, it doesnt matter...you can also get tissue paper, maybe all they can do is crush it up into balls...later they can be glued to paper to make a collage....humor is a very good tool i.e. The Golden Girls, Seinfeld, my mom gets histerical....old movies are very good, no sad or depressing shows, also...music is another good tool...their oldies but goodies music...folding towels....breaking apart a head of lettuce leaf by leaf even if its no good anymore...its just keeps their hands and minds busy without to much effort, also really important is excerise, but that requires you or someone hepling them do that activity, you can cut up pieces of paper in different colors and have them sort them into seperate color piles....this all depends on the level at which your loved one is capable, Doll therapy, get a baby doll (realistic ones that talk) with some outfits etc, let them hold carry or change, basically its the interaction and response of holding a baby(doll) can be very interesting...coloring is also good. Good Luck
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Mom has alzheimers, past the moderate stage. We have to redirect her when sundowners kicks in. I need some ideas on things she can do without having to think too hard. You can only fold so many washcloths and put so many pennies in a bank, and sort different size papers. Help!! Thanks for any suggestions
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I give my 80 year old wash clothes to fold over and over.or towels.
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robert888, you're full of great tips. Of the many that you mentioned, some she wouldn't be able to do but alot of them are worth a try. I wish I had some ideas to give you for "guy things" but I'm comin' up blank. Sorry.

hair, she used to enjoy needlepoint "back in the day". I've asked her about trying it again but she's afraid of the sharp needle and says her sight and eye/hand coordination isn't good enough. But what you're talking about (if I'm understanding correctly) would be similar but easier for her to do. And no sharp metal needle to worry about.

So many of you have had great ideas and I really appreciate it. I'm compiling lists of things to try and lists of things to pick up at the craft/hobby stores so that we can try in the future. Thanks a million. As we try them, I'll try to find the time to post results on what works and what doesn't. Maybe it will be of assistance to others who have the same dilemma.
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giles167,
Before my mom's vision got bad (macular degeneration) she enjoyed working with mesh. They sell larger hole plastic mesh, that can be worked on with plastic needles and thick yarn. You can make baskets using rectangles and squares. My mom made small Easter baskets and we filled them up with candy. You might also check some of the children's craft toy kits. They would be simple and easy for an elderly person who has a visual and dexterity problem to use. Good luck. Wishing you patients.
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My dad used to watch tv and tape movies on his own. He read the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. Then he stopped watching tv. --> After that he sorted out old old photos and re-arranged photo albums, read the paper and started collecting scraps. No he doesn't do that so much. --> Then we got him simple plastic model airplanes and he put those together, well at least for the most part --> These days he clears up his desk and then sits and naps. He comes out to the living room to be with others, then naps. As someone mentioned earlier, I think his mind is "heavy" these days and his body "tired."

For activities - how about scrapbooking. My dad for a time loved to use those punch-card devices to punch out hearts, circles, cubes from colored paper. How about making a necklace - just find huge beads. How about prepping food, like breaking off the ends of snap peas. How about a cat to hold in her lap? Any books (large-print) from the library interest her? How about those casino-electronic games, slot machine, solataire. Chores? Sweeping, drying plastic dishes, sorting laundry. How about potting a plant - could be done indoors on the table. Silly putty and molding clay to make stuff, great if kids are around to join in.

Anyone out there with ideas of "guy-stuff" to do?
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Sounds like a good idea, Rebeccalynn. I actually have gads and gads of playdoh here. My 6 yr old loves it. I've actually googled and found recipes for homemade playdohs of all sorts, including edible peanutbutter playdoh. Since grandma always loved to cook and can't anymore, maybe she'd actually enjoy helping to make the homemade stuff. It requires no cooking, just mixing. Then her and my daughter can play with it together. Thanks for the great idea!
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Hi Giles, I have had the same experience with my mother. When she was having in home therapy for the first year, they had her stack pennies. She was more than happy to do it in front of them, but wouldn't touch the pennies when they weren't around. My mother is able to read a little and to knit. You might want to get your gramma some yarn and some BIG knitting needles (my mom likes the wooden ones, says they work better) and just have her try making some simple potholders. Even if she doesn't make a thing, just getting her to roll the yarn into a ball would be something to occupy her for awhile. You might want to get her some Play-doh as well. It would be great for improving her strength and maybe she could get her frustrations out too !! Hope that helps. ~RebeccaLynn~
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I got my mom - age 89 - into scrap booking. It's something that she used to do years ago - those old albums with the black corners... so it was familiar. we copied old photos and she put one together for each grandchild explaining their heritage, who their grand parents & great grand parents were, what they did and how they lived. It was a good way to get a lot of family history on paper too. mom's short term memory is bad but her memory of these people and long past events is sharp. It made her feel good to do something that felt familiar and made her think of family.
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oooooooooo. I've got an 85 lb tin of pennies that I could have her try to roll. Good idea. We'll give it a try anyways. Thanks.
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Two ideas I've heard of for elderly folks: rolling coins and hooking rugs.
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lhardebeck, might want to try putting a chunk of a 2X6 board down on the ground beside the van. it breaks the one big step into the van into 2 smaller ones. It's a quick, easy, cheap fix and it's small enough to pitch into the van so that you can use it to get him back out of the van when you get to your destination. Worth a try anyways. :)
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giles , i done same thing u did with ur mom about gettin them ready for outside . all that work f or nothing . pa s ready go back inside , uhhh or he says i gotta peeeee !
when pa was in rehab the ladies gave him a small box , it as filled with comb brush hair rollers , mirror . all kinds of lit stuff in there and he just browes on thru it , stared at it for while , i thought yeah i be starin at it too lookin for head lice ! why in the world they give that stuff to my pa , i have no clue .
keep his mind going i suppose ?
nothing interest my dad . tv and sleep and food . he loves to go bye bye , i cant get him in the van anymore. hes dead weigh and forgot how to get inside the van . my daughter and i done that the last time to get him inside the van , oh gosh next day we both felt like we been ran over by a semi truck . it was awful .
this comin monday he has dr s appt and am wondering how am i gonna get him in the van ? there is transportation but fact is i dont want to wait around for them to come back to pick us up .
when we leave the dr s office pa likes to go to wendys and get bowl of chilli , his fav and he likes go for a long drive amd listen to his fav cd s .
i guess i ll just have to figure something out . any ideas ?
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Great idea, Diane! I never thought of that. I'll have to check it out. Thanks.
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I know there are lots of books out there with tons of activity ideas... just google Alzheimer Activities or Elderly Activities and you should find some good books on amazon. Good Luck !
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Thanks Pam. I was so looking forward to some nice spring weather so that I could get gram outside a little bit but it seems the weather went to blistery winter right into hot humid summer here. She likes the idea of going outside but usually isn't very happy to be out there once I spend the half hour getting her "ready" to go out and another 15 minutes to acually get her there. By the time we get outside and I sit her down...she's tired and almost ready to come in. Or it's to hot, or cold, or windy, or too sunny, or too cloudy.....I think she likes the IDEA of outside more than actually being out there. But then again, whereas I'm definitely and outdoorsy person, she always was more of an indoorsy kind of gal. LOL I think we'll keep trying it for awhile anyways to see if maybe she can "get used to" being outside.
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giles167 yes I tried having my mom read the Food section of the paper daily to me until she flat out refused. Then I bought some puzzles and she never felt like doing them. I had an old rubiouxcube that I took over there which I thought would be wonderful for her hands and to keep the soreness away (arthritis) no way.

Now we just go out and garden. Mainly she instructs me on what she wants done. I have actually learned quite a lot from her about this and have started my very own at home.

The problem isn't they don't want to, they just don't feel like it. Their bodies are tired and their minds are heavy. My mom is 90 and use to be very pleasant to be around but this has all changed within a couple of months now.

She was always a great cook and loved to experiment so I would always call her and she'd help me with ideas on what and how to make different things. Lately she doesn't even like doing that with me anymore so I've stopped.

When we come in from gardening she says "now I'm tired, don't talk to me, just let me rest". That's usually the time when I tell her that I'm going home and if the "help" can break herself away from the T.V. in the Living room, she can come back in my moms room. Actually I don't even think my mom wants to be bothered with her anymore.
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I thought about getting out her old boxes of pictures and having her go through them, sort them into different piles or categories and then having her put them into small individual albums. Then I could go back through and help her label/caption them. Figured it might be nice. She could sort out pics of her daughter, put them in an album and it would make a nice holiday gift for her to give to her daughter. Same for her grandkids, greatgrandkids, sisters, etc. I'm hoping that just looking at the pics alone would keep her busy for quite a while. Sounds like a good idea on the surface but something nagging in my gut tells me that I might be opening up a can of worms and I'm not sure why. Have any of you ever tried a project like this with the people you give care to?
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