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She lives in her own house with 24/7 aid. Whenever I visit she asks me what can I do? I just sit here all day I want something to do. I tried puzzles, books, magazines, even bought her crochet needles and yarn (used to do that years ago I thought long term memory would help) but she says her hands hurt her. I'm open to any suggestions.

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These two things work for my mother.

She loves to arrange flowers. So, I bought several floral plastic containers with foam inside, and a big load of plastic flowers from the dollar store. I separated each flower from the big stems, so each flower can be picked up individually. I placed the floral containers at 4 places round her room with the flowers. She then arranges the flowers on her own and really enjoys doing it. Once or twice a day, I undo the flower arrangements (when she's out of her room) so she can start again.

The other thing that I have her do is hang clothes. I take from her closet a couple dozens of her pants or shirts and pile them on her bed with the hangers next to them. I tell her that these are her newly laundered pants/shirts, and that she can put them on the hangers and then put them away in the closet. She does this everyday.

I like the sorting/matching socks idea. I'm going to try that next week.

I also plan to make a small fidget blanket to hang on the wall, one with lots of little flowers attached to the end of the zippers so she can move them up/down and sideways to rearrange them. Can't find anything like that online.

When I can supervise, I ask her to wash some dishes and sweep the floor. Then I redo the chores.
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NeedHelpWithMom Oct 18, 2020
I think the fidget blankets are nice. No loose pieces to get lost. They can be used in bed or sitting in a chair or taken on a car ride.

They are kind of expensive to buy. I wonder what it would cost to make. I bet it would be fun to make.
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When I was in nursing there were times, in advanced dementia, that elderly women loved nothing so much as to be delivered a stack of unfolder wash clothes to fold for us when we made the plea "We are so busy. Could you help us? These need folding." They spent hours often enough, wrapped in the zen of feeling, folding, looking. It is amazing how often it worked when any "games" were way beyond them.
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Mepowers 23 hours ago
I was going to say folding a stack of washcloths as well!
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My mother liked using the shredder. She ground up many piles of junk mail and anything that wasn't needed anymore (old utility bills, old hospital bills, etc...). If it had a name and address on it and wasn't needed anymore, it became fodder. We cleaned out many old file cabinets this way and got rid of so much unnecessary paperwork long before she passed. The best part is that she really was being helpful.
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Seniorsurfin28 20 hours ago
What a fantastic idea! My mother is 92, moved in with me in May, has some moderate dementia, and fingers won't straighten due to rheumatoid autoimmune disorder. She has had several falls in the past 2-3 years, breaking 2 ribs last January, so she needs to be seated when she's doing anything. She always asks if she can help when I'm in the kitchen, but there's just not a lot she can do.
I have a ton of shredding that needs to be done. My grandkids do it sometimes when they are here, but this would be perfect for Mama.
Thanks so much for this idea!
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Dad took up coloring in the adult coloring books in his late 80s as dementia set in. He was adverse to it at first, but he was incredibly good at it and soon he was coloring for hours a day. This lasted for a maybe 5 or 6 months until the dementia took another step down.

Mom does really well sorting a big bowl of change into smaller bowls by coin. She also likes looking through boxes of greeting cards and sorting them by "type". We go to estate sales and pick up boxes of miscellaneous cards for a few dollars and this keeps her busy for hours.
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Beatty 22 hours ago
I just love that card idea!

I have been known to spend way too much time in opportunity shops looking at old greeting cards... that's my sunset years sorted then 😁
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Have her pray for people. Maybe work in conjunction with a local church or synagogue.
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What are the 24/7 aides doing? You could work with them to help them to include your mother in the household routines. For example, meal preparation, doing the dishes, setting the table, folding laundry - anything and everything that your mother used to do when running her own show. There's almost always some part of the task that a person can manage, and it's not so much about their feeling "useful" as about not excluding them and making them feel completely helpless.

I talked about this with a lady of 92 who is being driven up the wall by having nothing to do. At first when we visited this home we were supporting her husband, even older, and we all thought he must be the most terrible tyrant because of how this sweet elderly lady scurried around fetching and carrying and cooking and cleaning. But now she's put her shoulder out, so she needs temporary support with personal care and rehab, and we see the truth of it - she just can't bear to sit still.
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Maybe you could have your mom dictate parts of her life story into a recorder. Even if some parts aren't quite accurate, (due to dementia), that's fine. The accurate parts can serve as a legacy for her friends and family, and the inaccurate parts can serve as creative story telling. I wrote a book about taking care of my mom with Alzheimer's entitled, "My Mother Has Alzheimer's and My Dog Has Tapeworms: A Caregiver's Tale," and I highlighted some of my mom's memories and accomplishments, (as well as some of her Alzheimer's-driven delusions). You might even find out some interesting information in the process, if your mom recounts her history. You could even write down some of the interesting parts and make a book out of it.
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Onlychildbutnot 15 hours ago
That is a great idea! thank you!
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I find that my mom likes to do things that are useful -- to me, of course. I got her to cut out patterned material which I then took home and made masks. I always show them to her when they're finished - she loves it. Don't expect too much, Mom goes to sleep about 20 minutes in. I had her starting seeds in her room in a planter with dirt. As they grew, I would remove them and go plant them. Most did not make it but she didn't know that. I just bought plants at a nursery and told her they were her seedlings. She too can no longer crochet or knit, so it's hard. Glad you asked this question.
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My dad has dementia too. He often feels useless. I give him small tasks like folding dish towels and wash cloths or socks. I go on and on about how much help that is to me.
I also give him the task of clearing the table after meals. I will use paper plates so he can help. He does a pretty good job if I set the trash can near him. He can also help make sandwiches if I walk him through it.
There are many tasks that dementia patients can do.
Look at the shelves in the hobby shop, try scrapbooking. Print up pictures and buy some emblems, she might like putting scrapbooks together. The memories are good for her too.
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NobodyGetsIt 18 hours ago
Dear "lauramay,"

I really like how you've helped your dad be involved with your own daily tasks making it a win-win for the both of you. It made me smile thinking of him helping you while you walk him through it as needed!

You've been doing so good with your dad -
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My mom had dementia and she loved coloring, folding towels and folding the plastic bags you get at the market at
checkout. Sometimes I would throw clean towels in the dryer and have her fold them while they were warm. She loved it and she felt needed. I always thanked her and told her I hate folding towels. I miss her everyday.
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