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What activities or places do you take your love one who has dementia to help them to stimulate their mind? What stages do you do certain things?

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This is highly individual, but one thing that can rarely miss is music. I'd keep a good collection of CDs around, plus DVDs of old movies your loved one may enjoy. If he or she is in the early stages, games may work, but don't get to the point of frustration. At home art projects can be helpful and fun.
Early stages, theater, art museums and any other events that the person has always enjoyed should be continued. However, as the disease progresses, many people become anxious in crowds because they can't understand their surroundings. This is when routine and quiet times are vital.
Old photo albums are nearly always helpful and well as fun. Go through them together. Let the person tell you stories of childhood memories or whatever her or she wants to talk about. The biggest gift you can give is attentive listening.
Take care,
Carol
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my mom loves to look at the lake and the birds or other wild life. She weighs 92 pounds and loves to eat, she is always happy when she sees me whipping up something in the kitchen. She watches TV like Fox , that has that moving line on the bottom. If it is a sunny day, she is happy and stays in the living room looking out the windows. If it is gloomy, she stays in her room a lot. She loves to go for a ride in the car. Sad part is, 15 seconds after doing all of these things, she cannot remember doing them.
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YES..Music. My mom and I dance together...two-stepping around the living room. She played piano and guitar and sang in a band her entire life until being placed in first NH 6.5 years ago. She also sang all the old Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, June Carter Cash, and numerous other songs. I play the music on my computer and we dance and dance. SHe can OUTdance ME and she's 76 now. I used to take her to the Senior Dances each Sunday in town but they stopped having them.
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My husband is in stage 5 of dementia and he has always played cards so we still play but when he starts to ask questions he hnew earlier in the game we just say last hand and time to quit even tho he doesn't think so. He likes to put puzzles together so I get thrift store 300 or 500 count w/not a lot of same color. I pick out edges and he puts together but simetimes gets them wrong so I work my magic and we start in and at a point he doesn't want me helping. I have to remember it's for his brain workout. If he gets discouraged i work my magic for a while till he's back. He also loves to pick up rocks and puts them all over. I throw out lots and he never knows but gets more next day.
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My mom can't do a lot of things, but one thing she enjoys is stickers and sticker books.
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There's a magazine called "A New Day" that I use to use when I worked with dementia patients. It has lots of great ideas! They also have a catalog of things useful for activities. My mother who has dementia use to enjoy word searches. She'd do them incorrectly but it didn't matter and kept her busy for a while. She loved hymns so I had a lot of nature videos with hymns as the background music. There's a large plant nursery not too far away and sometimes I'd drive her there and we'd walk (later I took her in a wheelchair), look at all the flowers, and then head home. Depending on how their long term memories are, it's great to ask them questions about their childhood... There's a list of interview questions for seniors on the Internet. I don't remember the site but should show up in a search and it can give you more ideas... If you have cable TV, you might find a seated exercise program which you can do with them... So many things to do depending on what their interests are...
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I hear you, tlhanger..mom is the same way. Can't remember what we or she just did or said. It's the "moment" we live for. And, I guess that's ok.
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One day when Mom was home with me (not in the NH) I took her to a gazebo that looked out to the lake we sat there and ate lunch. We feed the ducks and geese bread. I thought to myself well this will be a good memory for me but to bad she won't remember. Believe it or not a few weeks later I asked her "since it's such a nice day what would you like to do?" She say's "let's go to that pretty place and have lunch"... for a second I thought is this one of her things she say's to make it look like she's fine. So I asked again "where's that" ...she say's the place with the bench, we had sandwiches by the lake we fed the ducks" LOL she must have thought I was my sister when she always acted like she was OK in front of her.
AND Until now she remembers my black cat he played with her a lot he fetches like a dog, but if I say to her I got to go feed my cat she say's "OOO the handsome black one" I don't know maybe it's animals!!!
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Exercises of an appropriate level. For a few years my husband could follow a video put out by the National Institute on Aging, and later he followed the exercise sheets given to him by physical therapists.

Staying physically active is important therapy and also can be part of a familiar regular daily routine.
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It all depends on what level or stage your parent is in. If she is still attentive mentally and physically you have many choices. If not, like my mom then just reading to her or singing to her with some physical therapy.
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