My mom with early vascular dementia, won't do brain games or write things down. Thinks it is stupid to do so. Any ideas? - AgingCare.com

My mom with early vascular dementia, won't do brain games or write things down. Thinks it is stupid to do so. Any ideas?

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How can I get her to help herself?? These things suggested by her neurologist, but she won't do any of them.

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Mom used to make plenty of notes but wasn't able to remember she had written them in a steno spiral book. The notes she had written were completely foreign to her. It became just another cause of confusion followed by agitation because she didn't think the notes were hers. Eventually she became unable to read.

Find other activities for her. Jeanne had some excellent examples. Learn to choose your battles.
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Reply to gladimhere
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You can’t get her to help herself. That’s the crux of dementia — early, mild, raging or anything in between.

My Mom had notes all over her kitchen. ALL OVER. Including taped to the stove (don’t get me started) and the sink spigot.

Ha! Mom wasn’t terribly productive before her mind started slipping. The later years were even worse.

Mom’s monument to notes was like an absurdist modern art exhibit. If one could find the humor in it. (At the time, I couldn’t.)
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And if she played brain games and wrote things down, would that cure her vascular dementia?

Nope.

If she had some mental stimulation that she ENJOYED she might be more content. Physical exercise can have that result, too. And so can social interactions.

She'll still have vascular dementia but she may be less miserable, and a bit more able to cope.

If her brain weren't broken you could reason with her that we often do "stupid" things for the sake of some goal, but reason is not likely to work with her.

Are there any physical activities she enjoys? Golf? Bowling? Or just walking in pleasant weather? Or walking around a store? (My mother enjoyed plant nurseries -- and I enjoyed taking her.) Don't tell her that this is something she should do for her health. She'll think that is stupid, but it would be good for her.

How about social activities? Does she fold programs for church with other volunteers? Are there people she meets for coffee? How about lunch at the senior center? Could she play cards there? (Maybe not bridge, but even 500 would be mentally stimulating as well as giving her some social interaction.) Again, this is just because it would be fun -- not because it would be good for her.

An adult day health program (adult day care) could be a great way to get some exercise, some social interaction, and some mental stimulation. She could go to her "club" one day a week or more. And you'd have some respite, too!

My husband's neurologist encouraged exposing the brain to new experiences. He always asked where we went for vacation, and where we were planning to go next. He approved of going to the state fair and the science museum and concerts. We have a beautiful conservatory here, and that is a pleasant place to visit. It seems there is always something new to discover.

It wasn't available while my husband was alive, but our community now has a weekly coffee meet for folks with dementia. I think they often have some live entertainment. Try to see if there is anything like that in your community.

These activities didn't cure my husband's dementia, but he was relatively content most of the time. And I enjoyed most of the outings, too!
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Dear bbooks5720,

I know you love your mom and only want to help her. My father was very stubborn and it seems he was just set in his ways. It was hard. I could talk till I was blue in the face and he wouldn't listen to me.

Do you think if the doctor, nurse or another person talked to her she would be more receptive? Or if she was around other people, these brain games might be more fun with a friend or companion,

I know others will have more to add. I hope your mom comes around.
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