What are good activities for dementia patients?

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I'm trying to get some things for my cousin, who has significant dementia, to occupy her time. Right now she seems to watch tv, but she can never tell me what the show is about. I gave her some coloring markers and books, but she hid them and didn't use them. She puts all reading material away and doesn't read them, though she can read because I have had her do it aloud. It seems nothing really interests her. Any suggestions?

She'll be going into AL soon, but thought she would like something to do while in her room.

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My heart goes out to all of you. My mother had a stroke in September 2013 and as a result she now has what they are calling stroke related dimentia. Finding something that interest her has been very difficult. I ave tried coloring, puzzles, tv, cards, old maid. Nothing seems to hold her interest for very long at all. Recently I started looking at magazines with her which I had done in the past and she loved it for a while then lost interest in that as well but seems to enjoy it again and loves looking at the pictures . Hope this helps!!!
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Sunnygirl - Pam's suggestion about giving her time to learn what is at the ALF is a good one. Once she is settled then you may want to bring her a couple activity items. Have you thought about music. My mother listens to the 50's, 60's and 70's all the time and sings right along with the songs. She works on crossword puzzles and seek and find puzzles too. She also does jigsaw puzzles. Your cousin may be at a point were she could only handle a puzzle that had a few pieces...I don't know how advanced her dementia is. My mother reads as well. I think it is important not to overwelm them with too many things at once.
Here are a couple youtube links you may want to watch from Teepa Snow that will give you ideas on activites for people with dementia. Hope they give you some ideas.
youtube/watch?v=VoJl9-MxXqY

youtube/watch?v=RsWsh6ONZ8w
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Sunnygirl, we didn't even bring the TV at first, the idea was for Mom to get OUT of her room and participate in the activities at ALF. For example, after breakfast there is an exercise class, after lunch a craft or sing along, and after dinner a movie or bingo. There are little bus trips twice a week. Get a copy of each month's calendar and talk up the activities and encourage her to get in the mix.
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Thank you for the kind words. I'm going to take her small tv to her room at AL.. She wasn't successful with the old remote, but I got her one that has only ON/Off, Vol up/down, Channel Up/Down, so I"m hoping that is going to work. If not, it's going to be a problem, because she loves the tv, even though she really doesn't know what's on.
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Your cousin is lucky to have you and is lucky that you care about how she is doing.

Trying to find things for people with dementia to do can be challenging especially if they're dementia is advanced. I've discovered that the desire to read is one of the first things to go in someone with dementia. I have a patient right now who gets the newspaper but she never reads it. She'll hold it, she'll look at it but not read it. She'll look at the tv but she can't really follow anything that's going on and she'll sit and look at c-span or the Spanish language channel for an hour (she doesn't speak Spanish). I relate to your problem.

Some people suggest folding towels or little kitchen towels but I've never had much luck with that. I have had luck with domino's. Someone with dementia may not be able to follow the rules but I've had success with just spreading them out on a table and sitting with my patient and placing them together.

Another thing I've had a lot of luck with is YouTube. I have a patient who loves animals so I bring my laptop when I have an appointment with her and bring up funny dog videos. She loves that and it's a great way for me to evaluate her without her knowing that I'm evaluating her.

I think it's pretty hit and miss. There's no one size fits all remedy to this problem. What works for one person may not work for another. But since you're trying to find something for your cousin to do, that you care enough to want to find something, I think you'll be successful. Just keep trying. It may be the last thing you would have imagined.

Good luck!
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