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Hi Everyone,


My grandma is 89 years old has been really bored, complains of long days. She currently lives in an independent senior community. My mom had been looking at assisted living for her, but due to the pandemic, she has decided grandma is safer where she is right now. As a family, we all agree with the decision. There are no covid cases in her building.


Its been a little rough over the last 5 months for grandma. Covid has disrupted her routine, she can be difficult, and her memory issues don't help. We decided as a family to limit in person contact with her. We keep masks on when we do see her. Because it's summer, we'll visit her and sit outside. The other issue we have is, grandma doesn't watch the national news and has no clue how bad it is right now in parts of the country.


Anyway, she's bored. Grandma won't do jigsaw puzzles, she doesn't use her blu-ray player, or read books. She likes adult coloring books and word search puzzles. My sister bought her a magazine subscription and has been sending her coloring books. Grandma is not good with technology so getting her a tablet won't help.


We need some more ideas. I know there is only so much we can do.

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There are two fun magazines that are old time stories, Reminisce and Good Ole Days.

Check them out online to see if you think she would enjoy them.

She may even have a few stories to share with them.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I would contact your local charities and ask if they have any need for friendly callers.

She can call people who are isolated and alone every day to chat or you can sign her up to receive the call.

I would put her to doing something that helps others. Believe me when I say that a phone call means the world to someone living alone without any family. Getting a phone call from a peer is a new friendship waiting to happen.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Can she play patience with cards? Lots of older people grew up knowing more than one patience game (the one now called Klondike, and clock patience for me). Not all that exciting, but at least something!

Can she read large-print books? Most libraries have scads of them, and around here so do OpShops. Even talking to her about what authors are available might be a good conversation starter.

Good luck, and I hope there are more ideas.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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SNeedsAVacation Aug 3, 2020
Her building actually has a small library but she never read that much to begin with. Even when I was little I never saw her reading books. She'll read the newspaper and magazines. My sister's old boss was from down south, gave my sister a bunch of Garden and Gun magazines. Grandma enjoyed them so my sister just got her a subscription.
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Dear "SNeedsAVacation,"

I'm glad your family has decided your grandma is safer staying at her independent senior community since there are no COVID cases in her building. That is amazing in and of itself! However, I do understand how the virus has disrupted her routine as it has for all the others - us included!

My mom is 95 with Alzheimer's and is in a new facility in their memory care wing due to contracting COVID back in April. I don't think she watches news per se but, I do tell her often about it and that she had it (she doesn't remember that part). This helps her know why we can't visit with her inside her apartment.

I do feel bad for all those who are in their facilities under lockdown. So it's no wonder they are bored, especially if the facility has had to discontinue their activities. So add to that the fact loved ones aren't allowed to visit them in person - no hugs, no sense of touch or connection and what do they have? Not too much.

In our case, the Activity Director is heavily involved with each resident trying to find something to help combat the boredom. I filled out an information sheet of interests she's had in the past so the director could know my mom better. I recently went to Amazon and bought a simple hand-held poker game - that's what my mom always used to do to pass the time long before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and had to be moved to a facility. I gave it to the director so she could show her how to use it again since it had been four months but, my mom said she remembers how. At her previous AL facility, they tried to give her coloring books but, she told them she's not a child (she's the oldest of 8 siblings, 5 which are remaining)! I used to give her the word search puzzle books until clearing out her previous apartment and finding them all untouched. I would also give her a magazine every now and then but, could never tell if she looked at them. Also, I brought a small, compact boombox and set it to her favorite classical music station so all she had to do was push the "on" button (I took red nail polish and painted the "on" button).

So now, the director brought her dog and took her to visit my mom. Yesterday, she sent a picture of my mom laying in her hospital bed with the dog laying across her lap. She was smiling and petting the dog. I was very appreciative that the director would do such a thing and she said she would start bringing her dog once a week to visit my mom. I've brought our Dachshund to one of our "window visits" but, that was too difficult. So maybe you can talk with the Activity Director at her facility to see if they have any ideas or if your grandma likes dogs, ask the director if anyone on staff has a dog that would be able to do a pet visit. If it weren't for the virus, there would be organizations to call for trained "pet therapy" dogs.

I hope you and your family will be able to come up with something to help grandma with her boredom!
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Reply to NobodyGetsIt
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SNeedsAVacation Aug 3, 2020
We've be been trying to figure something out. It would be nice if they had a dedicated activity director, but it's handled by the office manager. I've been thinking since you mentioned the handheld games of trying to find some sort of tabletop bingo game she could play. She played bingo every week until they stopped all activities.

It's not the same as playing in the common room with other people but it might help pass the time.
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If she is of sound mind then she has to make her own friends and activities. Why are you enabling her choosing you to live her life ? Because you are giving her permission.

Now think back on her past life and personality. Was she always this way? Encourage her to look at the event calendar. Limit your visits and rides to when you WANT to do it. Let her figure things out
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Reply to MACinCT
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SNeedsAVacation Aug 2, 2020
She has never been a social person, my grandpa was the social one. Her building has cancelled all social activities due to covid. Management has even cracked down on social gathering in common areas.

Grandma can be very demanding but I have no problems telling her no. We went for a ride this week because I had to drop off a few things she needed.

Don't assume I'm push over, because I assure you, I'm not. We're just looking for a few more ideas to help her pass the time.
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There is really not much you can do. Can you take her out for a ride? In my state they are allowing outside dining.

When they get this age its hard to keep them entertained especially when they didn't enjoy puzzles or games before the memory issues. Now, with memory problems, they can't be taught. COVID has put a "crimp" in everyones life, the elderly even more so.
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SNeedsAVacation Aug 2, 2020
We end up taking her out for rides every week. This week I took her to the Culver's drive thru and we sat in the outdoor seating area. Even I won't dine in a restaurant.

The covid-19 response in my state is messed up. The republicans are currently trying to undo the governor's mask mandate that was just implemented. The state supreme court said the governor couldn't implement any restrictions back in May. As a result, the municipalities have been left to their own devices and our cases are going up. The whole situation is infuriating.

Sorry, I got on a bit of a tangent.
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Bring photo albums for her to look at. If you have really old ones maybe she can write down who is in the pictures. My Covid project has been to go through my 75 photos albums and consolidate. I just found a huge stash of brown and white photos (from the 40s & 50s). No one ever labeled photos so unless it is my father, uncle or grandparents I have no idea who anyone is.
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SNeedsAVacation Aug 2, 2020
My Mom actually has a lot of the old family photos. She has been working on the family genealogy for years. I know she has some photographs that she can't identify the people in them. Next time we bring Grandma over, I'm sure she'll bring them out. Grandma can usually figure out who's in the photo.
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