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My husband had dementia and loved to read. He continued this activity throughout most of 10 years he had the disease. He liked watching tv, but complicated plots and commercial interruptions were frustrating. I got videos of some shows he used to watch. No commercials to interrupt the flow and even shows with somewhat complicated plots were familiar enough for him to follow. He also liked nature videos, especially of the national parks.
I have a big bag of private papers to shred now and that reminds me that both my mother (with dementia) and my husband loved this activity so much I often included junk mail to extend their time at it.
Both my mother and husband really liked folding washcloths -- lots of different colors and patterns and textures. I even brought a basket of them to the nursing home for Mom.
Sorting seems to be a pleasant activity for folks with dementia. My mom loved to match up socks. That wasn't as successful for my husband since his socks were mostly the same and he was colorblind.
It is always best if the activity seems meaningful. Mother sorted beads by color "for the craft ladies." Husband sorted stacks of magazines by date.
Many people in the nursing home liked doing jigsaw puzzles. Some colored. My mother could still pay cribbage to nearly the end, and keep that complicated score I never can master. We also played simple children's card games with her. I played a board game with my husband.
Carrying forward a former hobby or activity in a modified form often works. Gardeners may like tending plants on the windowsill. My husband golfed and we found a league run by a rehab center for people with handicaps. I've heard of other golfers being happy just to go to a putting green.
Mother continued to do crosswords (large print and easy) until her hands were too shaky. More than one person in her nursing home seemed absolutely addicted to word-find puzzles.