Follow
Share

My husband is 74 and has dementia. I had to put him in the nursing home because I wasn’t able to care for him at home anymore. He sleeps and smokes all day and is up and down at night going out to smoke at all hours. Today he said he’s board and that’s why he goes to bed. I’ve brought things up to the activity director and I’ve been told if I think of anything for the men to do I needed to let the director know. I don’t mind helping but I don’t know where to look for ideas. I’ve thought of word finds for my husband but he sees that as childish. He built major roads around KS City yrs ago and wasn’t into word games, sports or golfing. He likes skeet shooting and messing with guns. He used to play in a band back in the day and I’ve taken his guitar to the care home thinking maybe he’d work with that but nope he wasn’t interested. They play bingo down there twice a week but he sees that as ridiculous. I’ve taken some of his gun books down that he always said he wanted time to read but he hasn’t opened them, but I don’t think he could read a sentence or two and even remember what he read. I tried telling him that it’s exercise for the brain. I keep telling him he’s got to challenge his brain instead of sleeping all day and being up and down all night...


Can anyone give me suggestions of where I can look for ideas?


Thank You in advance...

Find Care & Housing
The facility my Papa was in had Beer & Movie night for the guys. They also had Poker night. They bought those miniature cars that you race, using a remote control. They set up an easy obstacle course for them to race around. They loved it! They had aides help those who were unable to do it on their own. The whole thing was No Women Allowed.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to BeckyT
Report
Tracy1967 Feb 18, 2019
That sounds like fun!! My husband never learned to play cards bc he’d rather work he said...
Thank You for your response
(1)
Report
A lot of activities are tailored for women since there are typically more women. Maybe you could get him to paint something that he is interested in. I would try legos or get him a model airplane that he could put together. If he use to build they make 3D puzzles or maybe just a puzzle that has buildings or duck or deer. Craft stores have bird houses that he could paint. Does he have access to a tv or radio? I am not sure how long he has been in the NH but it may get better if he is just transitioning.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to linda2019
Report
Tracy1967 Feb 12, 2019
I’m going to Hobby Lobby and see if I can find something simple he could build. I wish I had thought of that myself. Thank You SO much!!
(2)
Report
My suggestion: Find the music from his era, stuff he liked in his teens and 20s (and presumably the other men his age will like), and make a playlist on any of the inexpensive music streaming services. I suggest Spotify but there are others. The men can listen to the old tunes and talk about the memories that listening to them will stimulate... hopefully.

It may sound idealistic but this kind of music therapy has been shown to provide dementia patients with a lot of joy and helps to activate parts of the brain, get them talking and laughing.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to AliBoBali
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Feb 15, 2019
I love that answer. I love when my mom tells me about the songs that she danced to with my daddy when they were dating, so special.
(1)
Report
If he used to be in a band, I would try something to do with music. Maybe singalongs or bring some of his old sheet music and have him sing with you, either in his room or in the living room. My Mom used to play the piano and still likes to sing old tunes. I’ve been told she sings at breakfast and other residents join in. When we sing together in the living no room other people sometimes join us. I have an app on my iPad called Piano With Songs that makes your iPad into a keyboard and is preloaded with lots of different genres and you just follow the red key to play them. Now that shes blind we still play it but I move her finger to play. It’s $4 a month, but the enjoyment she and I have gotten from it is priceless.

Another thought is is to bring stuff to the NH for him to sort out with you there. He’s probably got boxes of old paperwork and junk from when he was working. I know my DH has boxes of that old crap from when he was working, and I would toss it in a heartbeat, but yours might enjoy going through it with you and telling old stories about it.

And if he built roads, maybe he’d be interested in local maps or an atlas. Some guys love researching stuff on a map.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to rocketjcat
Report
Tracy1967 Feb 12, 2019
Thank you for your response and all the good ideas
(2)
Report
A facility I used to work at held weekly poker games. They were open to everyone, but the players did end up being all male. It was the only activity that a lot of the guys participated in and was very popular. They even had poker chips to use, but didn't redeem them for cash. Some of the player's had dementia, but remembered how to play poker as this was something they had done their whole lives, and thus it was a "long term" memory.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to katydid1
Report
gladimhere Feb 14, 2019
That was my thought, poker, any kind of cards.

Bowling with one of those indoor sets, what about a table top pool set?
(0)
Report
Does he like to watch movies? Also, perhaps audio books; you have to be careful here in terms of the amount of memory needed to sustain interest. In other words a collection of short stories in hunting, fishing, adventure, detective genres. (Think The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway; my father loved listening to that one.) Is there anything small that he would like to collect? Collections can be revisited and added to. Also, scrapbooks of his work projects, old newspaper articles and photos can allow him to remember and retell his experience on those projects.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to lynina2
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Feb 13, 2019
Ahhhh, The Old Man and the Sea is a great book! I should read it again. We actually have a public radio station that reads all the classics, fiction and nonfiction, plus the local newspaper, etc. I love listening to that station. It’s a station that caters to the blind but just as many sighted people listen to it. Does he have access to a radio or internet to stream public channels/stations? Can be a lot more interesting than regular television programs.
(4)
Report
Just my two cents for what it's worth, but I think music is the key with dementia patients. My mother rarely listened to music at home, but at the assisted living facility she loved to sing. The staff told me she has an amazing voice, I couldn't believe it, but it was true. I think with Alzheimer's they have a very short attention span for projects and the music can keep them engaged for longer. Your husband playing a bit for others and being encouraged may help too. Keep encouraging him and he will find something to engage with.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to saranewman22
Report

At my mom's assisted living place there is a man who comes in once a week to read stories. Most of the residents like to listen because it's difficult for them to see or follow words in books. Also, it is social. When everyone else laughs around my mom she is encouraged to join in and pay attention. Listening to music works for most people. I have a friend who plays the music of the residents' youth at assisted living homes and they love it. They can't help tapping their feet to the music.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to ArtistDaughter
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Feb 13, 2019
I truly feel that music is therapeutic. Sure, it’s enjoyable but it’s much more than that too.

I can personally think of so many times in my life where music was so helpful.
(2)
Report
Nursing Homes are required to complete an activities assessment for each resident. Many dementia residents are unable to respond to the assessment but family member must be included. Ask the activity director to review that assessment with you. The purpose of this assessment is to identify what activities individual residents may be interested in or might enjoy participating in Since you've had no professional response from the activity staff you should make an appointment to speak with the nursing home administrator asap. The response from the activity staff person you spoke with is unacceptable and leads one to question just how care is planned and implemented at this facility.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to brad4d
Report

One thing that I think is important is not to ask, "What do you want to do?" But instead lead him into some activity. These places are boring. And boredom breeds tired and lethargic behaviors. Make a daily schedule and keep to it.
1. A shave
2. A shower
3. Breakfast
4. A five minute walk
5. A gavem
6. Rest perios
7. Snack
8. A five minute walk
9. A treat if allowed ( icecream, cookie, etc.)
10. Checkers Challenge. (Keeping track of your and his wins and losses.)
11. A five minute walk
12. TV Time
13. Cribbage. Learn it with him. Great for memory

The key is to make a schedule that is posted, and then one that check marks can be added to. Routine and order help with memory.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to ElderlyCareNow
Report
jacobsonbob Feb 15, 2019
What's a gavem (or is this a typo)?
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter