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I am searching for ideas of things he can do to still have some dignity. He has never been very social so I am looking for tasks he can do at home to feel useful. He has always been very good with his hands but has difficulty planning things out now, such as how to complete a task.

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You've very wise to recognize that we all need to feel useful. I like the idea of adult day care because he can be a "volunteer" in that setting. Many people thrive on that.

Also, at least one ADC here in my community actually has a real "shop" where the guys - and women if they want - can go and build things under supervision.

Other ideas mentioned here are good, too. The key is to let your dad lead the way and allow as much as he can do. Offer help but do so with tact. The caregiver can say "would you help me learn that?" The you or the caregiver can do the trickier part while your dad "instructs" you.

Good luck with your search. You have the right instincts so you'll find ways to help him.
Carol
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My Dad is already in a facility, but has the same desire to be 'useful'....to 'work' and be involved. The caregivers are very good, in that they've arranged for him to 'work' with the maintenance man (actually a fairly young man, more like a grandson, agewise) and this guy is very skilled, in that he gets Dad to be the 'helper'...hold this, help me carry that, we're going over here to fix ....... etc. and then if Dad starts to act like he's the 'boss', this young man is very capable of just going along with that, while they get the jobs done. This same young man, also helps with some activities and the men do things like build and paint bird houses in the spring....and then put them up in various trees around the facility. Keeps the men using hammers, hand saws, paint....things they used to do so they can identify with the tools. My dad also grew his own jalapeno chili's in his backyard, and they know this , so they pull him in with some of the ladies when it's time to plant flowers in the garden...and water it etc. He enjoys that too. So perhaps, for a Dad who is still at home, some of those kinds of things could still be found to do also.
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Useful things to do at home: Folding laundry; dating canned goods after they are purchased so things get cycled out regularly; any house cleaning task that is comfortable to do, like dusting or vacuuming, taking care of one room; setting the table or clearing the table after a meal. Think of the many things that you do during the day that are very routine but do take time. I imagine he wants to feel he is really contributing, and working from your list will help. These are suggestions that a friend of mine had used with her mother.
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Be direct & use no abstract thinking at all, avoiding it if possible.
If allowed to, maintain eye contact.
Your attitude plays an very important part.
LISTEN~GIVE PRAISE FOR SMALL ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
Don't shout or talk down to him.
Keep decreased stimulation.
(Lord, I am writing a care plan?) I might as well finish it.
Repeat if necessary, if need be.
Loss of independence is a large cause of aggression. FYI
Your not alone~IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER.
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I am presently caring (in my home) for an old friend (my junior prom date) we rode the school bus together. So I remember him as a boy and a good friend. He was very strong, a good athlete, was a construction worker, and loved to garden. He also loves to collect things, stamps, guns,civil war books etc. He feels useless because he cannot physically do things he used to do. He also feels guilty about it. I do know he is a very private proud person. All of the things he did for pleasure were solitary projects. Here is how I have found some success.
1. We share household duties. I cook - he cleans up and loads & empties the dishwasher. I told him it would help me if he doesn't know where something goes to leave it on the counter for me to do later. This sorta works. But it gives him a responibility (sp) that makes him feel usefull.

2.He also is in charge of emptying waste baskets and taking the rubbish out. A manly chore.

3. When my sons come to do the heavy yard work that he is unable to do. I suggested he just take a nap. They always stay and talk with him. They make sure he knows what sports teams are playing and what time- and what channel. If they are here they write him a list to keep by his tv chair - if not they call to remind him. My son played college ball and they often discuss the game afterwards. So even if I can't share these things with him - I found someone who could. He is not forgotten.

4) I do remember when he lived in his home he had bird feeders and watched the birds feed while he had his morning coffee. I am fortunate and have a detached cluster home with a small farm pond in the backyard. This year I made a bird and butterfly garden outside the back windows. His job is to fill the bird feeders. He has his morning coffee watching the birds feed in a comfortable chair with a small table in front to hold his coffee or a snack. We take the bird feeders in at night (because of racoons) and that is his job. Many a pleasant hour has been spent with he and I enjoying the birds and ducks and squirles(sp?) cavort in the backyard.

5. My friend was a confirmed bachelor and took care of a blind diabetic mother. He forgo many things. His mom was a diabetic and blind. He took wonderful care of her-the best he could. This resulted in after she died him never having to cook again and he ate all his meals out. I love to cook so eating out does not appeal to me. However, I cook what he likes and keep the menu varied (similar to a restaurant). What we do is go out to eat at his favorite restaurants of the day and make an occasion of it.

5. I think the most important part of this is that we are a team. He often has bouts of the guilties. I handle that with humor. We laugh and I tell him that what is important now is that we are together - working together - and enjoying it. I am also old and have health problems. He takes care of me and I take care of him. That reasoning is how I reached an understanding with him. If you are a son or daughter that is much younger and inexperienced it would be difficult to know the things about your person that you who are caring for could relate to. However I am sure there is some way.

It would be difficult for a younger person to relate to this problem and visa/versa them to understand you and your life style. I guess the best part of this dilema is we are talking about responsible adults dealing with things that we have not experienced - yet!! I wish you the best of luck and I also understand.
Take a deep breath. Look for alternitives. Make your choice and try them one at a time. What seems great to you may not interest them. I admit I had an inside track - riding a school bus with him and he taking me to my junior prom because my current boyfriend was in the navy and they would not let him come home! A castrope (sp?) to me at the time!

So, my advice or consolment is to, take a deep breath and look at this situation from a different viewpoint. It you are the caretaker I feel for you and wish you luck. It often seems life is not fair - however if you do what you think is right (whatever that may be) it will be right for you. You can only do the best you can. What more can life ask of you?

Rose
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I can identify with your 'problem'. My dad was/is the same. fighting hard to hold onto his dignity and feel useful. Due to his prostrate problem, he has started to soil himself and we were obliged to put him into a AL. He never wanted to acknowledge the problem and wanted to do stuff, but he did not cope and we tried. We tried involving him in the garden, but he got bored after a short while. he was always creative and loved working with his hands. Now he plays games at the AL with friends or sits in the garden with them.

Games or puzzles might keep him occupied.
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I agree with all the Answers. Gives Hubby dignity to be able to still do something. He wanted to write his life story. So, I taught him a word processing program on the computer (OpenOffice openoffice.org is free & a lot like Word). So that I don't need to constantly peek over his shoulder (cause I can't see the screen that far anyhow), I've installed TeamViewer teamviewer (another freebee) on our putters so I can see his monitor on mine. I'll be glad to help you set these up.
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If he can't use the computer, why don't you get a note book and a pen. Sit down beside him and tell him you and he are going to write his biography. Let him tell it to you as you write it down. It will get him thinking. He may remember some happy times. If he gets into unhappy times to often, tell him you already have that, and go back to happy times. His growing up, Military life, if any. When his children were born. I am sure you can think of other times.
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Lots of good answers here! Another thing both my husband and my mother enjoyed doing once in a while is running private papers through the shredder. I always seemed to have enough on hand, but you could supplement the stack with junk mail.

My mother really seems to get into sorting things. (My husband wasn't as fond of this.) She liked matching socks from the laundry. If I emptied my purse of all the miscellaneous coins she would stack them for me. Now at the nursing home I've given her a large jar of beads and a container to sort them into by color. She just likes the activity but it also makes her feel good that these are for the beading activity that is held periodically there.

Just sorting for no reason is fine, but if it can be tied to something useful that is a bonus.
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Several activities my husband enjoys, each one requires my coaching, but he takes pride in helping with my too-many chores: sweeping off the decks any time of year, letting the dog out and waiting for her return, loading and unloading the car after trips or grocery shopping, vacuuming, helping unload the dishwasher, making money decisions after i explain all aspects to be considered, making his own bed in the morning, clearing the dining table, choosing a movie or tv program, changing batteries, changing license plates, carrying out trash or recycles, helping cart those to the street on wednesdays, playing solitare, with my coaching. All these require unobtrusive supervision by me, but the payoff in his self-satisfaction is worth it.
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