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I have been full time caretaker for over a year with 83 yr old mom with Alz living in my home. Many difficult issues with her due to AD ( significant AD abotu mid stage to some latter stages) due to Alz she fell and broke her hip. Had partial hip replacement and in rehab now. Leanring TONS from reading others stories in here. Guess all depends upon how quickly my mom can and is willing to rehab her leg working with PT when she will come home. Taking it one day at a time. In the mean time having a hard time finding things for her to do as she doesn't read any more ( due to AD I am sure) she doesn't so any hobbies with her hands she says she can't do jigsaw puzzles ( we tried) she gets bored of too much TV so she sleeps a WHOLE lot when I am not there and when I am it is VERY difficult to carry on conversations with her due to AD etc.... so I wind up talking to room mates some and she gets angry at them. She use to do crosswords but they just sit there nowand she doesn't do them.

Just trying to find something to exercise her brain and not doing a very good job of it. WHat are some good activities for AD patients I can try on her?

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It's good to see other responses to help our fellow caregivers! Thanks! I want to add a few suggestions to all the great ones added above!

It is very important when we try to get our elders/spouses to participate that they believe it is THEIR idea to do so. I found it helpful to just START a project and then ask Mom for her help! This seemed to work better than just putting something in front of her that she may no longer understand how to begin, even something VERY simple. If they do not know what is expected, nothing may transpire. Just get the ball rolling, (oh I did use a beach ball too and a squiggle ball that was fun to try to hold).

When Mom was still at home, I kept her involved in 'useful household activities' like Jeanne does with the laundry. In fact I had a load of towels that we just fluffed in the dryer then gave to her for folding. BRIGHT colors, and soft fabric seemed to make Mom really happy and she didn't mind doing laundry.

We even 'cooked' together with SAFE utensils, and complete caution. My brothers could not believe that I was letting her cook! My mother cooked her whole life, so the actions were deeply ingrained in her mind. We watched cooking shows, and in the kitchen I would have a 'crock pot' of similar scented items cooking to match what they were cooking on the shows. She would help me put a casserole together, or set the table (melamine dishes, nothing breakable).
Did all this take some planning, yep.....was it worth it... YOU BET!! She ate more, was happier and our home never smelled so good! Oh... and the meal were great... she felt part of the process and ate much much more! (me too unfortunately...lol) I would let her 'wash' the dishes, and when she was done, pop them in the dishwasher. She thought that was where they were kept, so she was none the wiser. AND the dishes were clean too!

When she went to rehab, I couldn't do the same things. But I tried. I brought in the towels, the fabric, the puzzles (numbered on the back for REALLY bad days) and all the other craft projects. I learned quickly that having a 'tea party' that she helped with made it easier to include others. When Mom was not in a social mood, we would sit in her room and get involved in something. REfolding her clothes in her wardrobe was easy for her to do.

On nicer days, I would take her outside for walks (she was in a wheelchair) and our conversations were about plants, and the traffic and the cars in the parking lot and the people passing by. We would talk about the plants in the garden and what we should plant. I brought in a plant book with big pictures that she would go through and we could talk about. I bought "lawn furniture" for the facility, since theirs was sadly lacking in seating for others. It was a worthwhile purchase for all.

On hotter days, we would sit and do 'yarn project's and I had baggies of the project for others to do if they wanted to join in. There were some challenges with this, but even the CNA's (certified assistants) would get involved. I preferred this over everyone just SITTING around! I insisted on COMEDIES on the tv instead of intense movies, news or other 'soap operas.' The television can be used to HELP our elders in rehabs if we insist the programming be proper.

After I became a volunteer for the facility, I was able to include others in projects and not violate any rules of the facility. I would have the activities director approve the projects (when others were concerned), but with regards for my mother, "I" was allowed to pick whatever I wanted to keep her happy while I was there.

The projects we did were not meant to replace therapy. Physical therapists at the facility did not govern the activities that residents could participate in. If there are physical limitations, they should be consulted, but keeping someone involved mentally can be done by any caring individual!

p.s. Grand children and great grand children seem to be the 'energizer bunny' for all the elders, even if they were not related. And younger children don't seem to mind if 'granny' can't do everything right. Kids just want to have FUN!!
The suggestions I make are to help others get over the ackward moments when you visit, or even at home with our loved ones, not to circumvent protocol. God bless.
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Have you discovered the Alzheimer's Store catalog? (You can find it online.) It has activities and other items selected specifically for people with dementia. You might find some ideas in there.
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They will tell you ( and her) what exercises to do and how often. Rehab specialists know more about that than any of us. Ask questions and participate.
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I am so happy someone asked the question I have had on my mind for some time now. My mom 77, has just been diagnosed with moderate Alz. She no longer reads the newspaper or is able to easily knit like she used to. The water color painting is a great idea. She has a 2 yr. old great great granddaughter who is starting to want to use pencils and so forth. I am going out to get paints and books right away. Thx for the really good tips!!!
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Thanks fir suggestions. I may try some easy "new" craft for her as the old ones weren't working ( like making those yarn hangers)but what really caught my eye was the comment about reptitive things. That is really interesting. I know when she does her PT exercises ( they also include hand and arm exercises to keep her strong) one is putting these clothespins around a small cardboard box then taking them off switching hands. I watched her and thought that was keep her mind busy to swtich hands etc..... but wondering what she thought about doing it as I am not sure where her brain level is really at any more. But seems to go along with the reptitive thing. I am really gonna look into something like that. Thanks you two!
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My husband (85, dementia) folds towels. We use wash clothes as single-use hand towels. We keep a basket of such towels on each bathroom sink, and a hamper to hold the used ones in each bathroom. We each take diuretics -- believe me, there is a LOT of handwashing in our house, and a lot of towels to fold. Some people with dementia find repetitive tasks soothing and enjoy feeling different textures. Hubby sits on the couch with a small cardboard box on his lap (about the size of an encyclopedia), and a pile of clean wash clothes next to him. He smooths each one out, folds it, and puts it in one of the many bathroom baskets. This is not "make work" -- it is obvious to him that it is a way to contribute to the functioning of the household, which is still important to him.

I started out with white wash clothes so they could be bleached, but now I use mostly colored ones, some with stripes and patterns, because they are more interesting to fold.

Another thing I like about this activity is that it does not require supervision.
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I'm surprised you haven't received any answers, so let me start the ball rolling. When my mother stayed with me, I was also challenged to keep her active and happy without making it seem like 'work'.

I started with things that she used to enjoy only in a more creative *(and safer) way. My mother could knit, crochet, sew.. all of that, but her 'skills' greatly diminished, so we modified these activities. She would make balls of yarn for crocheting, and did some 'artistic' crocheting (nothing compared to the afghan's she used to create.

Next I used knitting LOOMS, and even in her later stages she was able to loom hats and small items. The looms we used were from Walmart, so the expense was small.

Painting. Paint by number (or make your own) Use acrylic paints,or even cake decorating supplies to 'paint with'. Clay projects, paper clay is non toxic easy to shape, and fun! Look for similar items on Michaels.com (kids crafts) but do NOT present them that way.

I would buy oversized coloring books, and have my Mother 'trace' the pictures for the "KIDS" to play with. Made her feel like she was doing something for someone ELSE, instead of just something to keep her busy.

Try 'group' projects: get a bunch of recipe cards from a local grocery store, or make your own, and have her plan menus.

Watch the Food channel and see if that sparks any interest in food related activities. You can do mini-muffin decorating, and if anyone 'eats' the tools, they won't hurt themselves. Decorating with food items can be fun too.

Why not try a game of checkers with vanilla and chocolate cookies (mini ones). Or make a 'fruit display' with grapes, and star fruit, anything 'colorful and lively.'

Or go to the 'patten store' and get some old pattern books, have her pick out her favorite! Buy some dollar a yard fabric for her to use on the patterns, use safe scissors for all cutting.

OK.. that will get you started...lol. God bless.
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