What activities can those with moderate dementia do at home independently?

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So that can allow time for caregiver a little break while home?


What activities do you do to keep the person engaged in their day in some more independent activities but also how to schedule in little caregiver independent time at home that will allow caregiver to do an at home workout or study for a block or couple blocks of time, spend time with partner. This sounds ambitious I know, but I am trying to be more organized in keeping to a schedule or creating one for mom..I know it is important. I am needing some ideas in creating a schedule like activities to include. I can also combine some day program time ( say, 4 hours/ day). I would like to try to create a schedule and am wondering what other caregivers do. Mom can't really be left alone too long at home, but if she is in another room or nearby is okay. What kind of activities do people use...audiobooks? Art projects? Resources you have liked? Thank you for the activity suggestions!! :) Right now my mom enjoys watching TV about 30 min ( the same series) coloring a picture, going to coffee, painting a little, reading newspaper headlines, looking at ads, looking at photos of family, lifting weights ( any good youtube videos of basic arm weight workouts that are simple?) She can't really read much or write anymore, can't understand games or crosswords. I may take her to a gym or senior center for a gym class.. there is a good gym in town with senior fit classes and I heard some folks with dementia attend. My goal is to make a schedule and stick to it. It is also hard for me to have days without a definite schedule, myself. Mom does need help with food cooking and bathing, dressing, grooming, bathroom occasionally. Thank you!! :) I will also post another sort of related question in caregiver burnout of ideas of what a caregiver can do at home, to relax...be centered, maintain friendships, while caregiving from home. I have never been a stay at home mom or been home so much....just need to stay balanced and find time for self care more and time for some blocks of time for me. Thank you for your suggestions.

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At last, I found the site.

You can read this as background for the program - it's very helpful:
http://www.pbs.org/program/arts-mind/

Look at the photo of young and old holding hands and apparently listening to a fiddler:
kairosalive site.

There are some more good hits if you Google: "Kairos Dance Theater, dementia "

I recall now after this quick research that people with Parkinson's Disease were also participants in the program I saw.

I vaguely remember that the plans for the program were to implement it beyond the original beta site, so I would definitely contact the Kairos Group and ask about implementation of a program in your area - what a great program to bring to your area!

I think your mother would love a group like this.

BTW, do you ever take her to outdoor fiddler's performances? We have two high school groups that perform in the Michigan and sometimes out of state areas: Saline Fiddlers and Fiddlers Restrung.

They perform at a few local cities during lunchtime, sometimes in a library, sometimes in an open air park which has such an acoustic configuration that the sound reverberates throughout the small city.

Little kids go up to the stage and spontaneously choreograph their own dances. The Fiddlers usually do some step dancing as well - the sound of their hard shoe dancing on the stage gets even more kids up to dance.

Last time we went there were 3 people in wheelchairs, some of whom were also tapping their feet in time to the music.

Both groups also sell CDs. Their websites are:

salinefiddlers According to the latter's website, the two groups have merged, but this year they were still making independent performances.

If you want to offer a treat to your mother, watch the YouTube video.
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I actually love dancing myself...and playing music! I wonder if somehow I could learn to lead a little program like that, or try to start something small with her day program. Wow, you may have just hit on something there for me! My mom used to also take ballroom dance classes. There are also some really free form dance groups in this city. I agree, my mom connects with dance and music, she taps her hands on her knees when I play music and she is feeling happy!
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PBS ran a program several months ago on dance classes for people with dementia. It was quite informative, and interesting. Google "dance classes for dementia" and check out the hits.

This is actually a program, planned and executed by dance professionals who want to work with older people. The participants practiced, had rehearsals and if I recall correctly also presented a performance.

I posted sometime ago on that specific program but can't find that post now.

Art and music are also two very good forms of soothing activity.

It seems as if you have a pretty good program already though.

As to lifting weights, I'd be more inclined to do as suggested - try to find a senior specific class, taught by someone who knows the limitations and restrictions elders face. I think it's a lot better to get the instructions in person so someone can ask questions or get a better demonstration than on a YouTube video - some of them are quite amateurish.

One of the local hospitals expanded its corporate empire by creating a fitness center for both someone getting instructional PT/OT as well as those who just wanted to work out in a center affiliated with a hospital. There were a range of intense vs. low intensity workouts available. Part of the client focus was to bring in more older people.
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She can kind of follow along in the gym exercise class enough to make worthwhile. She gets in a little arm weight and movement, even if not always following correctly. It is a basic sit down weight class. The gym coordinator said one man has dementia and has attended for years..I think fitting in that gym class while she can go would really help. I moved her to another city and she lost her regular gym group. That was a really big part of her life, going to the gym, so I will try to take her to that class. I guess even if I go with her, I would still be able to lift some weights. Yes, my mom likes being on the move, too. When I look ready to go somewhere, she is ready too, to come along. She can sort of follow in group activities with the help of a group leader if the activity is very easy. I just realized the day program had music today. Maybe I will see if there are little concerts of in town..just sitting activities would be good. We lived in a small town and are now in a bigger city..a lot more going on here, too. It would be nice to enjoy more time with mom out in town..for short, simple outings. That would be more fun for me, too. Maybe taking her out more will make the home time seem less boring, in a way.
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Classic movies from her era, or music, like Big Band should help. If she cannot read or write, can she follow along in a group activity? Be sure you can observe her participation, without her seeing you. My MIL loved going out to lunch, even at Assisted Living, she wanted to be on the move.
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