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My mother spent much of her adult life working and having children, I am one of ten. Then when she and my father retired she confiscated my younger sister’s two children and raised them (poorly I might add). Then she confiscated the great grandchild up until we had to remove my mom from her house. She was not happy about it but she has middle stage dementia and she couldn’t live there even with help.
She doesn’t have any hobbies. She used to volunteer at the kids school. She would sit through hours of cartoons on the television each day. Never really had many friends except for her neighbors.
She will sit and look out the window for much of the day (it is a great view of the forest), or stare at the newspaper for hours on end. She does like the Golden Girls and I bought all 7 seasons to play on depend. I will take her for a walk but her knee is in very poor condition so I can’t get her out too often. PLUS, winter is coming and once the snow is on the ground it is going to be very difficult to get her out to do anything.
The senior center here really doesn’t have any activities for people with dementia and the only adult day care that we had in town was 4 hours once a week and apparently that is no longer going on.
I’m trying to find activities that might be of interest to her but I’m striking out. Are we destined to be watching the Golden Girls for hours on end.
I work out of my home so I can sit at the table and keep an eye on her while working but she seems bored. Or am I projecting????

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Here's a few ideas from a different forum....watching a lava lamp, battery operated stuffed animal that makes animal sounds, dominoes to stack or knock over or put away, a slinky, play dough, a bubble machine, a book of what's different between these two pictures, a liquid puzzle where the different colors go through, a pillow pet to cuddle, magnets, a kaleidoscope. I think the idea would be to try to stimulate a variety of senses- touching different textures, listening to different sounds, looking at different things (besides tv). If this interested the person these things could occupy them by himself. It might be interesting to go through a Toys R Us store or a place where teachers buy educational things for the classroom. Did someone already mention the Alzheimers store?
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my mum likes arrow words magazines and keeps thier brain active. Also bingo is an easy game for them to play is there any bingo going on in the community? also daycare i have still to get my mum to go to this. Some days shes ok some days shes aggressive shes so bored but she wil watch tv all day
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the one thing that occupies my mom and she can do them for hours are the Word Seek puzzles. The nice thing about them is that they search for a word for a few minutes and if they can't find it they can look for another one of the words on the page. My mom does them for hours now. she doesn't like puzzles or cards, unless she is at the senior center (day care) otherwise with us she has no interests but the WordSeek puzzles. We have a large stack of them. When she finishes one book we replace it with another.
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icpiia so sad for your FIL. I am sure he really does not want to go on living but sadly he has no choice in the matter.
My suggestion is to find him a "job" do you have neighbors who would help you out and "hire" him. You could actually give them the money to pay him with. Simple taskes he could do inside or out side the house. Empty waste baskets, clean the kitty litter, refill the dogs water bowls. Sweep the garden path shovel some snow. Tie up newspapers for recycling. Just anything that he wont make too much of a mess doing. it would give him something to do and get him interacting with other people so he has to make an effort. If you are in a rural area do you have a local store that could "hire" him to break down boxes for recycling. Could he hand out prayer books in church and greet people if you go to church. There are so many little things if you can create a routine to make him feel necessary and productive. because he is still grieving so much trying to find things for him to do at home probably wont work right now but once you get the activities going he maay show more interest. If you have a local hospice they do have grief groups who meet regularily. that might help. You and/or your husband could go with him the first few times. Let us know how you get one. if solutions work for one family it is very helpful to pass on ideas to others facing the same situations.
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Jcpjja, would he be able to help outside in gardening, watering plants, filling the bird feeders, spraying for ants? Or sorting thru the usually messed up collections of nuts and bolts, untangling strings of Xmas lights, sweeping up the patio, washing down the patio furniture, something practical and manly as opposed to crafty? Is there a way to give him a Honey-Do list of things he can handle? For women (I know gender bias) how about a trip to Build-a-Bear or similar store where she can pick her own toy and dress it for herself or grandchildren, or the poor children for Christmas. Also, if there is an artsy place where you can pick your greenware at the store to paint together, then have kiln dried. I did that with my mom. I did two pretty colorful little tropical fish. She did a worm, and was happy to paint him green with brown eyes and mouth. This by someone who used to make her own greeting cards for friends. Everytime I see what we did I smile.
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My MIL is in the early stage if Dimensia, I try to play card or board games with her, she also like macrame.

Hope this helps.
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We need assistance finding something for my father-in-law. He has dementia and since his wife died he has lost interest in life. He was married to my mother-in-law for 60 years and she was the only woman he ever dated. He misses her so much that he just can't get her off his mind. He says he never sleeps, and doesn't want to live. He thinks if he had a job that he would be able to keep his mind occupied and wouldn't be so miserable. But you can't reason with him that the fact is he is 84 and has dementia and he wouldn't be able to get a job. We have bought him books to read, and he will read a little but then stops reading. He reads the newspaper, but that doesn't help much. He thinks he needs something to keep him occupied all day. And when he does something he doesn't remember it much. I feel so helpless because at times he feels so desperate. I ask him if he wants to watch TV and he says no. We've tried to get him to do puzzles but he doesn't want to do that. Does anyone have suggestions on anything where he could spend a couple hours a day to help the situation? I appreciate any ideas.
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caregiver, she is currently on Medicare and won't qualify for Medicaid until next April.
I did stop by the Center on Aging in our town and got a list of respite providers. It is in my pile of things to do. It's been crazy trying to get her to all the doctors appointments and last weekend she was hallucinating so it's been a ride so far.
I would really prefer an adult day care but if respite care in our home is the only option I may go that route and start interviewing people to come by for a few hours each week, for a start.

She does like folding the blankets that we have on the sofa. Our two little Bichons mess them up often and I find her straightening them out. She loves the dogs too and the wildlife that she is able to see out the windows.

She is in the middle stage of Alzheimers. She scored a 19 out of 30 on that scale they use. She seems to be there much of the time and is still capable of showering herself and eating. It's such a strange disease because sometimes she seems there (maybe wishful thinking) and other times she tells the same stories from her early days over and over. So very odd.

Thanks again for all the suggestions. I did buy her a doll and I think she will like that. She has a couple but more for display rather than cuddling.
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More activity ideas suggestions:

1) Folding towels; matching and folding socks together; folding shirts and other laundry

2) Putting coins in a piggy bank; sorting coins

3) Purchase a children's xylophone:
And ask her to come up with a tune. And because the xylophone is colorful it
should peak her interest.

4) Get her a realistic looking baby doll and ask her to "babysit" it.

5) Get an old fashion rotary telephone and ask her to dial some phone numbers from the yellow pages. Make sure the telephone is not connected and unplugged. And if she wonders why the phone isn't ringing or no one is answering, well come up with an excuse :-)

6) Organize and or alphabetize canned goods.

7) Clip coupons from the newspapers, whether you use them or not. Use children's scissors to prevent injury.

8) Cut out interesting articles or pictures from newspapers and magazines

9) Organize a messy drawer

10) Water the plants

11) Play yo yo
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@PinkLA well I do hope you find one soon or some sort of respite program.
I know you said you called 3 facilities if they knew of any but did you call your mom's insurance for a list? Does she only have VA and does she also have medicaid as well? When I contacted my grandpa's medicaid, they said they had a list of other adult daycare facilities that he can go to (other areas) in case we don't like the daycare he's currently attending. So we have that option.
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Oh, caregiver, the issue isn't the 20 minute drive, I'd drive an hour to take her to an adult daycare if I could find one. The one in town that I found on the senior sites, no one at the hospital is aware of it anymore. I asked at three assisted living facilities and no one knows of one in town. I am still looking for one. I would like to take her to one several times a week. I think she would like it.

thank you for all those suggestions. They were very helpful.
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I would like to contribute some activities ideas:

1) Take to the park. Over here, we frequent a park where we are able to feed ducks.
2) Take to the library. Borrow books with lots of pictures like photography, gardens, nature. Also borrow books with lots of color that helps uplifts their spirits. My grandpa who has dementia loves to read newspapers, magazines, and books. Not sure if he remembers what he has read but instead of him idling and staring into space, I give him lots of reading material and that stimulates his mind.
3) Listen to classical music. Known to increase IQ and stimulates the mind as well.
4) Listen to oldies music. Youtube has a lot of it.
5) Borrow travel dvds from the library. Watching different places from the comfort of your home and be an armchair traveler.
6) Take your loved one with you to the grocery store so they can look at different items. Our grocery store that we frequent is Walmart. It will be a field trip for your loved one and you can do your shopping at the same time.
7) Playdoh. They can play with playdoh for hours.
8) Building blocks.
9) Crayons and big coloring books as the other poster suggested
10) Visit a pet store where they can play with pets if you do not have any pets at home.
11) Visit a nursing home where they can interact with the other residents or try to. They would be like a volunteer.
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@PinkLA if you have to drive 20 minutes away for mom to attend adult daycare in order for you to get respite, then do it. Your health and wellbeing is more important than the gas driving there. Which would we rather pay? $20 in gas or $200 in a doctor's visit? As caregivers, we need all the respite we can get.
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My neurologist suggested I get kids' colouring books and crayons. It's too soon for me but perhaps your mother would enjoy doing that. When I was a child I remember having cards with holes punched in them around simple pictures. The idea was to use a dull needle and wool and thread them througn the holes. A simple thing but might be fun for your mom.
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Worst case scenario I can give it to my granddaughter if mom doesn't take to her.
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@Pamzimmrrt, my mother can read the same newspaper for days too. We started getting the daily paper now so that she has something different to stare at. She spends much of her time looking at the classifieds, garage sales. As long as it keeps them happy, I'm okay with that.

@caregiver, I wish there were towns close to us that had them. The "big" town here is 20 minutes away and I am still looking for adult daycare. I believe that one of the assisted living facilities that I looked at has day care. I will be contacting them again to get more details. I think it is important to get her used to going to a facility for activities for when the time comes that she needs to go to one.

@Veronica and @Jeanne, it was funny. I went to the Alzstore site and looked at the dolls. I said "mom look at these baby dolls", she could not get out of her seat fast enough. She threw the paper on the ground and was trying to run around the table. I said, "hold on I'll bring the computer to you". She loved them. She picked one out and I ordered one. Yes, they are expensive but she got so excited, that I did too. I could probably have found something cheaper at Walmart but I'm sure the dolls on the ALZ site are probably more durable to deal with memory impaired individuals. I will let you know how that works out.
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If there is no more adult daycare in your town, then search for the closest city/town near you for another one. If mom's insurance covers the other adult daycares, then take advantage of it. My grandpa has dementia and I take him to adult daycare every week. His medicaid covers all of his daycare including his meals. He says there's nothing to do there but then again he has dementia.
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dad also likes to read. He dosent remember much, focuses on the ads but that is ok. I hate to admit while mom was in the hospital and I was freaking out I gave him the same newspaper for 3 days! Oh well, he was happy and I was able to get stuff done
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Btw, I don't mind the Golden Girls. I love the show. I bought all the dvds and have been playing them for her. I played a Dick Van Dyke show yesterday (Netflix) and she enjoyed that too. I will try to think outside the box.
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@ Solegiver, that is such a precious memory to have with your father.

@Veronic91, that is a great idea. I think my mom would feel it is too childish at this point but I am definitely going to keep that in mind for later on. She has attached herself to a gingerbread man toy that my dogs have. I put a teddy bear in her bedroom but she hasn't given it any notice as of yet. She collected dolls in her hoarding. She has hundreds of them. Many are packed away. I did keep several out of storage for her to have in her room but they don't interest her yet. It was a fantastic idea!

@Jeannegibbs, great input. We used to have bird feeders but my two dogs get so excited over the squirrels that come to them that we had to take them down. We have been feeding a herd of deer that come daily (8) and she likes seeing them. She used to watch the golfers go by but now the course is closed and the deer will soon disappear with the snows arrival. Maybe snow shoers on the course will keep her interested. You have had some excellent suggestions. I tried puzzles but she was never one to do them.
I'm going to check out that Alzheimers store too. Good suggestions.
I think the doll is going to be a great route to go later on.

Thank you all. I am enjoying the insights and help that I have found here. Even if I only lurk at times.
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My dad has dementia and gets bored with too much tv, so I got out my old square pot holder weaving loom, and some loops. I told him to pick out a color, and showed him how to put it on the loom. With little assistance, he took a loop, and put it on the loom - (I had him space them further apart than normal). Then when it was time to do the weaving, I asked him to pick out a colored loop, and I wove it, but he loved putting the end on the loom tooth. This really took some time and concentration and kept him very interested. We ended up making 3 potholders! I'll always keep them and remember us doing this together after he's gone.
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Congratulations on trying to provide some stimulation for your mother. That is often very beneficial. You are obviously trying to do what is best for her, and you are interested in quality and variety. I think you are very resourceful.

With dementia, though, it is sometimes hard to know whether some additional stimulation would be good, or following the same (to us, boring) routine is most calming. Try various things, but don't be dismayed if she likes the same things repeated over and over.

Staring out the window at the forest seems pleasant. Maybe you could enhance it by placing bird feeders outside that window, as many care centers do. And provide a sound track. I bought a variety of CDs of music from the era when my loved one was a teen and young adult (on Amazon, not very expensive) and that seemed pleasant to him.

Nothing wrong with watching Golden Girls over and over. Tapes or disks are often easier to follow, without the commercial interruptions. If there are other shows your mother enjoyed, getting sets of them would provide a little variety (which might be more important to you than to her). We watched the complete Sherlock Holmes series together, and he watched MASH, Dragnet, and Northern Exposure.

My mother is with me one weekend a month. We have the Game Show Network on almost continuously. There is no "plot" to follow, and each game or event is good for a fairly short attention span. Mom finds commercials often funny, and they are not too disruptive of the game shows. She also liked baseball in season.

Whatever your mother likes on television or DVDs or tapes is a good way to keep her occupied, in my opinion. The time may come when that is too complex for her.

Both my husband and my mother enjoyed/enjoy folding hand towels. (We use washclothes as single use washable hand towels.) I own these in a full spectrum of colors, and lots of different textures, so they appeal to more than one sense. Probably the biggest appeal is that we actually use these everyday, and getting them folded and into pretty baskets is obviously contributing to the household -- it is not "make-work."

My mom also loves matching up socks.

I like Veronica91's idea about a baby doll, depending on where Mom is on the dementia journey. If she rejects it as childish it is too soon, but you could simply put it away and try again as the disease progresses. One place to get a very realistic (but expensive) baby doll is the Alzheimer's Store. In fact the catalog from that store is a source of ideas for activities.

Both my husband and my mother (different ages and different types of dementia) enjoyed looking at family photo albums, and sometimes sharing them with visitors.

You are thoughtful to try to provide enjoyable experiences for your mother. I hope you pick up an idea or two to add some variety.
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Given your mother's previous obsession with babies my suggestion would be to get her a lifelike baby doll and lots of outfits to change, There are plenty of newborn out fits at thrift stores and garage sales and people frequently give away strollers and high chairs etc many of which no longer meet up to date standards. If you can find a stroller and add weight to stabilize it she could also take baby for walks. If she takes to the idea the possibilities are endless. (You will come to hate your baby sister as much as the Golden Girls) I still love to see Betty White what a marvelous actress at 92
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Ah yes...The Golden Girls - a constant background to our lives as caregivers (at least for those caring for women). I am fortunate to have mom enrolled in a day program M-F for those with dementia who are still pretty socially functional. On weekends and evenings I rely heavily on Netflix streaming to pull up old movies mom will enjoy, and give me a break from the endless sitcom reruns. Your mom may be bored ... or maybe not. We do project alot of what our rational minds think would be the "obvious" response but really have no idea what is going on in their brain. My mom still reads too, though remembers nothing she is reading and can't follow the story, but is content while doing so, which is what is most important. After being at this for 3 years have come to learn that anything that keeps mom calm and prevents agitation is in her best interest. Can she play cards ... even if not following the rules? Can she string beads? You can get them very inexpensively; my mom makes countless necklaces and bracelets. I empathize with your situation - good luck.
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We recently found out my Dad likes to sort things.. money, cards and envelopes, anything..
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