How do I keep mom with dementia busy when she's on her own in independent living apartment? -

How do I keep mom with dementia busy when she's on her own in independent living apartment?


I moved my mother into an IL community near me a month and a half ago. Mom has dementia and had isolated herself when living on her own. I'm thrilled that she is eating meals with other residents and goes to Bingo and music performances. The problem is when she's alone in her apartment. She doesn't know what to do with herself. She doesn't recognize that she has dementia so suggesting that she do things to actively combat the dementia won't work. I'm trying to find something that she will enjoy to keep her busy when she's on her own. You people are amazing and I've no doubt that someone out there will have some suggestions for me!

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One day I brought a big bag of socks into the NH. Mom was sitting at a table with a resident I hadn't seen before. When I got the socks out this other lady was thrilled. She simply assumed it was a NH activity and she dug right in, matching socks!

I think this activity is well-liked by many impaired older folks.
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Thank you for the sock and towel ideas. The other days Mom offered to help me fold laundry and all I could think of was where he would be able to put the folded clothes. But socks take up no room at all and I can easily go behind her and fix mistakes. Towels are pretty mistake proof. I'll just empty her linen closet into the dryer and have her refold them.

I have tried and failed to get her to engage in:

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Thanks, jeannegibbs! I started to chuckle and the idea of matching socks...then realized that my mom would love that! It would occupy her time and make her feel useful. I can certainly find other things I "need" sorted. Mom still does Jumble puzzles (I cannot do those and it amazes me that she is still so good at at them) so that's a wonderful thing.

Oddly, the residents where my mom lives don't tend to congregate unless a musical performance or Happy Hour are on the horizon. Mom is onboard with some of the activities including those, so that's good news.
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Oh, and my mom liked coloring, too!
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It sounds like IL is working well right now. Does the facility have higher levels of care? As the dementia progresses being alone in an IL apartment might not work for your mother.

But for now ...

My mom liked matching socks up. When I had a lot from the wash I brought them to her. Sometimes I pulled some out of my drawers, too. She saw the activity as helping me. If there are any parts of your laundry that mom could help with, try that out. Folding towels is another "helpful" activity.

Mom liked sorting almost anything. I had her sort beads by color, for the craft department. I'd often bring a big bag of mixed coins and have her sort them into small baggies. Buttons might be good -- sort by size, or color, or material.

My mom loved looking through magazines, especially those with recipes and food pictures.

She also loved doing crossword puzzles, but she had done that all of her life. I doubt she could have learned it new after she had dementia.

Do people congregate in a common area? Might she hang out there a bit, and strike up a conversation with another resident?

Good luck!
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