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Hi,
I've found that my Mom is still able to use scissors. So we are making a rag quilt. This is where each square is quilted seperately. I marked the squares and she cut on the lines. Then I marked the batting and backings and we followed the same process. After 25 squares a day or so, she was ready for a little nap, so I was careful not to leave out too many for her. I will have to do the sewing, but she has been able to put the 'layers' together and pin them for me. Look for a project that uses the same steps over and over - and only give one step at a time. Sometimes she thought she was back on the farm, cutting out patches for everyone's barn clothes. This brought back memories when she was younger.
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Another low vision suggestion: make sure there is a high contrast between what she is working with and the surface she is working on. Example: dark crayon on light paper or light yarn on dark tablecloth. Same for eating: put mashed potatoes on a dark plate and meat on a white plate.
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My mom is low vision. There is an art thereapist at mom'sassisted living home and she attends once a week. Once she made a pinch pot (self-hardening clay? or oven bake clay like Sculpy or Fimo); she painted it bright yellow. I think this could work for many items such as beads, ornaments, etc. Fimo is fairly stiff so you might have to soften it up by kneading it first; it also comes in many colors.
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These are all great ideas, does anyone have ideas for elders with low vision?
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My 84 yr old mom lives with me and my family. So keeping her occupied is very important to me! When she was younger she used to do baking, counted cross stitch and crocheting - but had to give those up. She always liked doing jig saw puzzles and even with her dementia she still can. Only now she has the smaller sized puzzles so she can handle them better. She also does the crossword puzzle and 'variety' books - but has to use a crossword puzzle dictionary to assist her. Hope this helps...
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My mom was a serious gardener and this below worked for her:
What I did with my mom was to get her a big but low basket (low so that she can see into it and it's not dark inside) and fill it with silk/plastic flowers; then a few containers (baskets, tins, etc) with a block of oasis or styrofoam in them and ask her to fix us a bunch of arrangements that I need in a couple of weeks for PTO luncheon, book club party, etc. - I would remind her about it every few days too. This could easily keep her busy off & on for 2 - 4 weeks, she will arrange and then rearrange. The flowers and tins you can get for cheap at Goodwill stores and those you can take apart for her to use. Or go to Michael's sale bin for things. If you think she would like this, get 2 big baskets going: 1 that she is actively working with and the other for the next project. Once she's "finished" you bring them home and disassemble so they can go out again. Or actually place them in your house and bring her a picture of them being used and that will make her happy and feel useful.

When she was in IL, my mom even did styrofoam base wreathes for her door and for her friends doors.These were hysterical. One of the ladies who really had a bad dementia day wore hers as a hat to lunch. As I said, hysterical.

For general ideas for arts & crafts, go to BSA cub scout site. There are lots of ideas there. I've found there is alot of similarities in abilities and concentration level of 7 & 8 yr old boys and elderly with dementia. Good luck and have fun!
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My Mom had dementia too and she didn't really do crafts on her own, I usually had to do them with her and kind of show her what to do. Some things you might try are simple things like coloring. They do make coloring books that are more grown up. I also tried beading kits. She can just string beads and you can pick up these just about anywhere. Another thing I tried was getting craft kits that were meant for younger people, but didn't seem too childish from Oriental Trading. For example I got some Christmas ornaments that were easy to assemble--just peel and stick or glue together. You can also do something as simple as paper and paints or colored pencils. I have read that often times people with dementia sometimes find it theraputic to just draw or paint. Depending on your Mom's abilities, you could find other craft kits at Wal-Mart or online. You want to be careful though that you don't get anything too childish that might insult her. Good luck and I hope you get more ideas!
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