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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...

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Porn Fridays!
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try chess or checkers. Did you ever go dancing with him? try that. My brother had early onsetALZ. I got him outdoor magazines. Before he was admitted I took him to a Barns and Noble book store. Went up the escalators, boy that was exciting. My daughter stood in front of him and I in the back holding onto his shirt, he was leaning very far over. And when he saw the gun magazines, he was in his element. Boys and their toys. I miss him a lot
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I have one thing that has been very, very  successful. He does not have to join a group activity, but aides and people visiting him seem to like it too and it gets conversations going. Years ago I got him a Telikan computer, advertised in AARP magazines. Out daughter loaded about 100 of our family photos onto this computer. Most she had to actually use her iphone to take photos. She loaded them on to a portable thumb drive and put that into the Telikan computer. The person's home page can be made to show a slide show. It runs automatically and the photos are almost as big as the screen. He sits for hours watching and him and I can watch together reminiscing.  chris
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That sounds wonderful! I wonder how many others would enjoy looking at photos. I love how you customized it for him.
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I have been fighting this fight for years. I want my husband to join activities at his new home--a nearby nursing home. Nothing worked till I started to go with him. I hope eventually he will go by himself. I know he is very, very dependent on me . He has been there for 6 months now. Up till now I did not go to those activities with him. I just now tried. Tuesday they have Mass. I went twice. Yesterday they have a woman play the piano in a lounge area. I was waiting for him to get out of PT. When he finished, he joined me in the lounge. It was kind of fun. No--he is very stubborn about attending the activities they have. Before this we were both in an independent living apartment. The activities there were excellent. I could not get him to attend either. Is it him or most men? I know some men do enjoy group activities. chris
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This shows a long held belief I've had - women live longer than men because women have hobbies that are more varied with some active & other more sedintary like reading, knitting etc - the sense of accomplishment that goes with doing something concrete can't be under estimated

However it is unsafe to have guns, major electrical woodworking tools etc in a NH - so many 'male' hobbies do not work in that type of setting - alternatives have to be started early enough in life that they are automatic when dementia sets in - good luck
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Tracy1967: Agreed!
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How about starting with a fairly simple model kit. You can tell him it will go to a childreds hospital (Or any needed recipient)

If he copes well, may be they could have a build day (Or two). If one of the guys is too shakey, they he could pull off the bits, another could make shure they have no 'stick out bits' if they do file them off with a nail file (Round ended for safety)

Are any of them able to paint the models (with guidance?)
They dont have to be small pieces.

Have a day where they cut up old, donated cards into gift tags (for charity). If they use pinking shears, it will give they an interesting finish.

I agree with the knitting. LOads of different coulour of wool can be knitted into squares. Then someone, may be you, could sew them together and donate to a worthy cause or animal shelter.

If they feel they are doing it to help others, it might make it more interesting for them.

Good Luck
Buzzy
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I'm going to try to be more realistic and suggest that he might enjoy a "girly" magazine (unless he finds it too frustrating). It doesn't have to be hard core (maybe something such as a Victoria's Secret catalog), but maybe at least he would find it interesting enough to hold his attention.

Other possibilities might be finding and bringing in some old magazines and advertisements, and asking him what he knows about them.
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montanacmm Feb 2019
Great idea
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I have heard that pets are good therapy for the elderly. Take a pet when you visit your husband or play some audio books if he choose to rather lie in bed, He can close his eyes and focus on the story being read.
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Oh pets are amazing!
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That's the activity director's job.
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Tracy1967 Feb 2019
That’s how I feel too!
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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.
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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.
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Alexa Video... I got one for myself and my brother. When I can't get up there to see him we do video chats. Alexa also will play music, read books to you and a million other things. I would check into it. You do need to have Amazon and a cell phone. Also, Alexa never gets tired of you asking her the same questions.
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Wonderful!
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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.
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jacobsonbob Feb 2019
What's a gavem (or is this a typo)?
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Excuse me? The Activity Director asked YOU to suggest things for the men to do?

I'm not sure the Activity Director has fully read the Activity Director's job description.

Poker.
Motor sport related video games, ideally motion-controlled types so that they get some physical activity with it.
If there's space in the car park, invite local plant hire companies to come and give guided talks about their machines.
Scalextric is the car race game Becky's thinking of! - just glanced down and saw her post.

But meanwhile - get your husband's mental health checked out. Dementia and cognitive impairment do not stop you developing depression, quite the opposite, and it sounds as if that might be half the problem. Boredom and poor sleep patterns are classic signs as well as causes of it. It's a real chicken-and-egg problem, and there might be therapies and/or medications that could help.

PS Table tennis! With larger, soft, neon coloured balls to make it easier. In fact, look up sport and games for people with disabilities - for example, walking soccer has become incredibly popular with older men in recent years - anything that gets them moving and gives them something to concentrate on.
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Tracy1967 Feb 2019
It came up at his careplan meeting with the DON and social worker bc I asked about activities...the men didn’t have anything of interest on the activity calendar. The DON said “well our AD is out today but I’ll leave a note for him to call you. What kind of things are you thinking?” I said “idk that’s why I brought it up.” The AD called me a few days later and asked me if I could come up with some ideas for the men. I was shocked but asked him if he had other care homes he could get ideas from or I’m sure he had other avenues he could reach out to. He acted befuddled. I took it to the administrator the next day but haven’t seen any changes yet. I went in today with some of the ideas that have been posted plus I got him a bird house kit from a craft store that he’s excited to be making it for my dtr’s bday coming up soon.
Thank You for responding...
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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.
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Tracy1967 Feb 2019
That sounds like fun!! My husband never learned to play cards bc he’d rather work he said...
Thank You for your response
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My husband, Alzheimers and in a wheelchair, loves it at his MC when they play corn hole or noodle ball. Also, they have large soft balls and he would play catch with me all day long if I would do it. Maybe there is another guy he could play catch with (just tossing it back and forth).
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Does he like to build models or do puzzles? Those are things you could bring to him. At my mom's facility, they play balloon volleyball, do target practice with Nerf guns and bowling. All are good for hand/eye coordination. They also have performers who come in to play and sing and they often invite the residents to come up and perform with them. We are blessed to have a very creative and outgoing activities director at the facility. Don't overlook knitting or needlework either. Many men knit. My dad was a gruff long distance trucker but during a strike, he learned to do crewel work and made several beautiful pieces.
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Is the NH sufficiently staffed? I worked in a nursing home for a short time some years ago. Part of the job description was to engage patients in simple recreational activities as they were able. Staff was always so short-handed that there was scarcely time to do the most basic tasks, much less spend time with the patients.
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I reread your posts and it sounds like you have come up with lots of ideas. I am not sure even if you get these suggestions up and running he will want to do any of them either. He sounds like he could be depressed.....? My mom would say she was bored and we would suggest all types of stuff and she wouldn't want to do anything. I used to joke with my sister that complaining about being bored and not doing anything was her favorite activity.
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Hahaha, I know people who have adopted complaining as their hobby. Love how you worded that!
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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.
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When my Dad was recovering from a broken leg he LOVED Wii bowling. There were several get up and move a bit games that they had for the Wii at rehab.
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I would try VR in this day and age. A lot of elderly do it. It allows a broken body to still roam anywhere they want. My dad likes to use it to virtually travel the world.
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Have have I set up a Wii with the gun range that might be fun for him to do. Home Depot and Lowe's have some build it kits try hobby stores for some wood projects that he can build. Sundowners have difficulty making decisions what's fun activities but I agree he needs to be active and involved you might even want to try Styrofoam and golf tees and let him pound in with a rubber mallet. Gotta keep the other guys.

I hope this helps God bless
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It sounds like your husband’s only condition is dementia is that right. I see no other health issues that warrants care in a nursing home. I’m thinking he would be better off in a memory care place where activities are much more geared to those with dementia. If he’s able to ambulated then why would you put him in a much more expensive nursing home? It sounds to me like two things...he's bored and depressed and coupled with dementia he’s lost interest. Can you tell us if he has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia and how far along he is?
The NH activities director sounds lazy to me. Some are good at the job and others aren’t. Why should you have to do her job? She should be researching and calling other NH and MC places to get ideas. Sheesh!!
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MC in my state is a locked ward with every resident in a wheelchair.

I think it depends on where you are what this is. Here it is for the worse of the worst. It would be cruel to put anyone with any cognition at all in MC here. More of a people warehouse.
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Normally in Nursing Facilities, There are Plenty of Activities if anyone wants to Participate in them. Obviously, Your Hubby is Not into anything and No matter if they were Given to Him with His name on a Silver Platter, it still Would Not matter.
He has Dementia so at this Point, All you can do is Be there for Him with your own Hymn.
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Does he like card games, board games, perhaps he and the men can get together and play....
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My 94 year old dad likes poker on the computer...or a good old fashion game of poker with other guys. My 70 year old hubby likes John Wayne and war movies.
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When my mom was in the NH any activities usually only had women participating. Could they possibly air a baseball, basketball, horse race, or football game? Often sports channels repeat old games that were particularly exciting during the day or they could find DVDs of old World Series games, etc. They could set up the media room with decorations and snacks as though the residents were really at a game.
This could be done with showing movies too, and make it feel like a movie theater...
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I am brainstorming. Did he ever fish? What about a rod and reel with light casting weight. No hook. Maybe hit a target. What about corn hole game.

Just thinking out loud.
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My dad use to enjoy painting ceramics. Items such as small trays and little bowls. I signed his initials on them. They made great Christmas gifts.

Today, my dad enjoys music. With some of the slow songs, while standing in front of him, we hold hands & sway back and forth. I will hold his legs & move them like he is riding a bicycle. We do this everyday for excercises.
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Are you able to take him out for a short while? Has anyone done that with their loved ones? Don’t people get bored being in one place? Even if they aren’t doing well, they at least went to their doctor appointments before. The doctor/nurse is at the home so they go nowhere anymore.

Maybe he’s very bored and the only change of scenery is going outside to smoke. Even just a drive around the neighborhood if that’s possible. I don’t know your circumstances so forgive me if that isn’t feasible.
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lynina2 Feb 2019
I used to take dad out whenever possible. When he was able to, we would go to lunch. When he could no longer tolerate sitting at a restaurant table, I would slightly recline his seat and we would run errands together and go through the drive-through for a coffee, cocoa, or snack and find a pretty place to have a car picnic. He really enjoyed the change of pace and I enjoyed the one on one time with him. I miss him now he has passed but really love the memories that those excursions provided.
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