How to amuse a senior with a short attention span and dementia?

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Me again. I am trying so hard to find something that will help the nursing home keep Mom from getting up from her chair and bed. Mom has moderate dementia, is a cat on a hot tin roof, doesn't have any interests, hobbies, doesn't like to read, isn't interested in tv because she is pretty deaf, and has a very short attention span. Anyone find anything to amuse a person like that? I was even thinking of a kalidescope, or some sort of toy that she could sit and fidget with, something requiring no thinking?

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I just bought my Mother a "Joy for all" interactive cat at HasbroToys that is and she loves it! I saw a spot on a tv show about using interactive toys for seniors to help ease loneliness and to help them concentrate. It sits on her lap or can lay on her or next to her in the bed. It helps to keep her focused so we can visit. My mother wants to spend a great deal of the time I am there in the bathroom, yet wants me to stay with her even though she is hardly in the room anymore. The cat has helped her focus on something else.
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I do doll shows for the elderly in nursing homes. I use the reborn dolls that look like real babies. I have had tremendous luck with dementia patients using them. If they are upset the dolls usually calm them down. Try an Ipod with her music on it with ear phones. Perhaps if you turn it up as high as it will go she might be able to hear it. (Watch the movie "Alive Inside" on Netflix) Coloring with washable markers that are bright are very good.... Folding baby or doll clothes works wonders rather than the usual facecloths.... I was an Activities Director for 17 years and had to come up with some new ideas all the time! Everyone is different... Best of luck to you and your mom....
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Some really good ideas Jeanne! Thank you. I don't know what the nursing home does for them, but I'll try to come up with some things she can do on her lap. I'm going to look up "fidget toys" and see if I can find some on line.
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Oh, and matching up socks appeals to my mother a lot. Not too many at once. And her arthritis makes it hard for her to fold them together, but if I bring in about a dozen pair she enjoys getting them matched up so I can fold them.
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They make "fidget toys" for this purpose. For example, a small blanket with zippers and buttons and tassels, etc. Or a squishy object with lots of textures. Google fidget toys for places to buy them or ideas for making something.

Some find a doll soothing to hold (and maybe talk to).

Both my husband and my mother loved folding washclothes. I brought a small plastic basket of them in lots of different colors and textures to my mother's NH. She can sit with her wheelchair pulled up to a table, smooth and fold them, and put them back in the basket. My husband liked to do this with a shallow box on his lap to smooth them out. Most towels are too big, but washclothes are perfect!

Mom loves sorting things. If it seems to have a purpose, so much the better. She sorted a very large jar of pony beads by color, for the craft program, over several sessions. Often I have her sort all the coins in my purse so I can "take them to the bank."

Mom likes coloring. The adult coloring books are too intricate for her and she is not much into Disney characters. I print out appropriate images for her, such as simple flower outlines, and we color together.

Videos of beautiful places, like the national parks, require little thinking and are interesting even without the narration.

In a home environment using a paper shredder for a short period can be amusing and "helpful." I don't know if that would work in a NH.

Activities that appeal to a short attention span are valuable!
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AmyGrave, I keep the TV in my Mom's nursing home room set on Turner Classic Movies.... hopefully whenever my Mom's brain is looping to the here and now, she could glance up and see Gary Grant. My Mom is also pretty deaf, so I keep the TV on mute but have the captions on, which I doubt my Mom could see... I don't want to disturb her roommate.
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Would she like a baby doll? Would she sort socks, or buttons? Can she watch tv with headphones? Would she watch an old movie?
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