My Mom, 90, has had Dementia for a little over a year. She was quite an avid reader of novels for much of her life. She also enjoyed watching television. Now she wants nothing to do with either. Can anyone tell me why?
The hard part is over.
I'm matching you with one of our specialists who will be calling you in the next few minutes.
That is my guess about the "why."
As to the "now what?" others have given some good suggestions. By trial-and-error find what she does enjoy looking at or occupying her time with. My mom loved to do crosswords and did them obsessively, but her handwriting it too cramped now to pursue that. She likes magazines with lots of pictures. She hasn't cooked for probably 10 years, but she still likes to read recipes! On one visit she and my sister were looking through separate magazines and my sister said, "Oh, this blueberry cake recipe sounds good!" and Mother replied "Yes, especially with the lemon. But you have to have a Bundt pan." This from a woman who cannot remember what she ate for lunch once they take the plate away! Why can she remember reading a recipe and details about it when so many other items don't stick in her memory at all? Who knows, but we're pretty sure it is good to give her women's magazines!
How long is her short term memory? My mother's seems to vary between 30 seconds and sometimes up to 2 minutes. I have found that tactile materials seem more interesting...right now she's enjoying holding fall leaves in her hands and looking at them. No interest in photos, TV, radio, news broadcasts...none of makes sense or she just doesn't care anymore. I bring in Women's Day or Southern Living or National Geo picture magazines now and then. Remember any one magazine will be endlessly 'new' to her until she wears the pages out. I also got her a picture book of Bible stories...but have not seen her use it much. She seems to get pleasure out of rearranging her nick-nacks on the shelves. Not even interested in family photos anymore because she doesn't know who they are anymore. She enjoys organizing her clothes in the closet.
There's another one called Puppy Bowl, which is an absolutely adorable version of little puppies playing football. Of course, they just ramble around, hopping, stepping into the water ball, colliding with each other, but it's really amusing, and so innocent and pure.
He also still reads the newspaper and can spend hours on the sunday paper.
Perhaps she could watch shows that don't have any plots...perhaps just documentaries. Even if she doesn't follow the narration, the scenery would be relaxing.
I've noticed more and more that doctors' offices and areas in the hospital we go to are using ocean imagery or a fish tank in reception areas and ER trauma units as well as waiting areas. It's intensely soothing, just watching fish meander in and out between seaweeds and rocks.
Instead of novels try something like Country or Country Extra magazine, which is primarily beautiful photos of magnificent outdoor scenes. Just looking at the photos is relaxing.
I've also found that magazines with photos of animals (such as dog or cat fancier magazines) induces relaxation. She might not have a dog or cat to pet, but the cute expressions on their faces are soothing.