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She has been blind since birth, and now has Alzheimer's. She recently moved in with my husband and I. We play her beloved classical music, we have her spiritual channel on frequently and we try to engage her in reading (a former favorite activity). She used to correspond with pen pals, but most of them have passed away (she is 87 and many of her peers are now gone). She used to knit and crochet and we have encouraged her to continue, however, she seems to have lost interest. Her companion dog is living with us as well, and she is happy about that, however she seems to have lost interest in other things. I have tried to encourage her to help fold washrags and towels, but she doesn't want to do that. She "helped" make brownies and candy, but she seems apathetic and I am worried about depression. We have her going to adult day care three days a week while we work and so far that is working out well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Since she likes to correspond with others, there are organizations for veterans where people can write to them, or to adults and/or children in hospitals or nursing homes. You can rent movies and music cds from the library at no cost. Local senior centers also have many activities, classes and outings for people. Listening to good music is always welcomed. Any type of exercise, dance class or gym activities are also great. I have also found it helpful to just take them to the activity, and not ask. Simply tell your mother-in-law you have something really fun planned for her. Once she is there with others, she will have a great time.
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This would take work on your part, but I wonder about whether visiting a local humane society to hold puppies or kittens (to help socialize them) would be something she might like? Or having a therapy dog visit her?
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Recently my son brought my almost blind mother about a half bushel of very hard granny smith apples from his trees. She became obsessed with preserving them. We have a dehydrator and I focused her on that. She has now, with the help of her caregiver peeled, sliced and dried all of them. It kept her busy for about 4 days and she was so exhausted from it that she has been taking long afternoon naps since. At least she's not bored. My mother is 103 and just within the past months she is beginning to show more and faster progressing signs of dementia, so my heart goes out to you. She doesn't have interest in much these days, but when she does, it can be an obsession.
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I wonder if you ask your MIL to knit hats for the homeless or children in need .With a lot of encouragement and maybe you asking her to teach you to knit or crochet it might work.
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Yes, the adult daycare is a great idea as I started my husband last week. He does come home exhausted though not having had his regular naps, but the socialization is good for him at 88. There are other veterans at this center, and they welcome him as he enters the room in the a.m. So this has been good. If your mom can "read" braile, get some braile scrabble words and work on her words. Do chair exercise, go for walks (if it is nice outside), and she could even walk around the house. Stimulation is the key to keeping one's mind working, even though the connections may be broken. Good luck!
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My mother is almost blind and has dementia (age 95). She uses the books on tape from the Commission for the Blind. You might want to try short stories or the type of nonfiction that doesn't require her to remember a long plot such as a novel would contain.
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Thank you for your suggestions. She used to receive books on tapes from the Commission for the Blind, and she enjoyed them very much. I'll check it out :).
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Eyerishlass is right. She's blind, 87, and has Alzheimer's. No wonder she doesn't feel like doing anything.
If there's a sensory garden near you, she might enjoy being taken there. You might contact the American Foundation for the Blind to see what they suggest.
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People have all kinds of solutions on how to keep someone with Alzheimer's active. Folding towels, snapping green beans, books on tape, etc. It's very challenging to find something that will hold someone's interest longer than a few minutes. And your MIL being blind creates a unique challenge.

She may be depressed. If I were blind and had Alzheimer's I'd be depressed. At least she's still going to the daycare. Have you spoken to her Dr. about your concern about depression?

You're going to get all kinds of suggestions on how to keep her stimulated so I'll throw in my two cents: books on tape.

Good luck.
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