LO is 92, some mild cognitive impairment/ dementia that has worsened during this pandemic and lack of contact with loved ones. She is also almost blind in both eyes, very hearing impaired and very frail with limited dexterity in her fingers. (She is unable to open wrapped items or take caps off of cups — all must be done for her.) She has a broken bone and sits in a wheelchair that she cannot move on her own.

We have hired a companion to be with her part of each day in the facility in that we cannot be there.

However, she spends most of each day alone, in the wheelchair, parked in front of a television that she can barely (if at all) see and barely hear.

This is no quality of life! She is very depressed and cries a lot. It is heartbreaking for me, and I am unable to figure out how to make the situation any better.

Does anyone have a loved one who suffers the same or similar fate and what have you done? Specifically, are there any activities she might be able to do on her own to pass the days and bring some quality to her life?

Listening to music or audiobooks aren’t possible due to minimal hearing. Coloring, drawing and reading aren’t possible due to very limited vision. She never learned to sew or knit and could not do so now due to cognitive decline and lack of dexterity in fingers.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

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My mom has similar issues --bad macular degeneration and she's pretty deaf, too.

She's in memory care, and has done much better than she did at home,because there's activity going on all the time. They do a different activity every half hour or hour, so that variety seems to keep her more engaged. Even if she's not actively participating, she's aware of the action around her.

A typical day would be breakfast around 8 a.m., then around 9 they'll go over some of the less-gruesome news of the day and read Dear Abby and the like. Around 9:30 they do their exercises while sitting in their chairs and waving their hands around or using those stretchy bands. At 10 they go outside for a while and watch the hummingbirds fight or "help" the activities director tend to the planting table where they grow vegetables. They may also knock a golf ball around on the little putting green.

At 10:30 it's snack time. They usually get a small bowl of fruit and some juice. (Hydration is important, so there are always a couple of small glasses of juice or water at their place at the table.)

After about 45 minutes or an hour of snacking and visiting among themselves, they may have a craft of some kind. They'll arrange some flowers one day, paint some silly little thing another day, or just do something small with their hands.

After that -- lunch time! Another hour of getting everyone to their tables, handing out the plates, and letting everyone eat at their own pace. That kills another hour.

At 1 pm or so, it's time for trivia or a "discussion" about whatever National (fill in the blank) Day it is. The leader will read some history about whatever the topic is (all about coffee, for example), and they talk about that for a bit. (The leader usually does the talking).

1:30 is Bingo time, which my mom hates because she hates Bingo and also can't see. She'll usually snooze in her wheelchair, but she's sitting at the table with the rest of the players anyway.

Around 2:30 is snack time again. They'll get some kind of dessert item, like a couple of cookies or a piece of pie. Another hour gone.

At 3:30 they'll have a sing-a-long or the activity director may play Hangman or read them trivia about famous people. My mom loves the music, because that's one thing she remembers well. She can sing any song from the 1940s with no problem.

By 4:30 they're starting to slow down on the activities, so they let the residents chill out for a while or visit with each other. At 5 it's dinner time, and that kills another hour.

After dinner is the only time they turn on a TV, and they'll watch about 45 minutes or so of I Love Lucy or an old movie. Few are able to follow a storyline well, so it doesn't matter that they turn it off around 7 pm. The aides start the bedtime routine of getting folks ready for bed, and I think everyone's tucked in by 9 pm.

Variety and stimulation is what your mom needs. I learned that memory care is much like kindergarten with its varied activities, and that's what keeps them engaged. It's been great for my mother who was an artist and a librarian before her vision went away. She was really smart, and while she's not the person she was, she's still getting face-to-face stimulation, and that's vital.
Helpful Answer (3)
PAH321 Sep 2020
MJ1929 - It sounds like the activities person at your Mom’s MC is a good one! A good activities person can make all the difference! Thank you for your detailed response.

My LO is not in Memory Care and the activities person at her facility does maybe 2 activities in the morning and then calls it a day so she is on her own to keep herself busy the rest of the time.

note: My LO hates bingo as well. Lol.
Is there any possibility of getting her some sort of adaptive hearing device/amplifier (that is not actual hearing aids)? Getting at least one of her senses improved would expand her options. It seems like her senses of touch and smell are basically the most functional, so:
- try touch using different materials & shapes and have it be a guessing game.
- smell senses guessing game using herbs, flowers, fabric softener sheets, scented soaps, smokey things, spices, etc .
- spa treatment day: foot soak & massage, hand message
- pet visits (any snuggly, certified comfort animal)
I hope this helps!
Helpful Answer (2)
NobodyGetsIt Sep 2020
"Geaton777," -

Good ideas!

I don't know why I didn't think of the pet visits as my mom just started getting them from the Activity Director at her facility. She brings one of her own rescue dogs that was abused and the director just had a litter of Boston Terriers that she brought - five of them.

My mom also, enjoyed hand massages.
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The only thing I can think of is having a large screen TV that she can use headphones with.
Helpful Answer (1)
PAH321 Sep 2020
NobodyGetsIt - Hmmm... I’ll have to think about that & see what headphones I can find. Maybe it would help with hearing the TV. Thank you!
Dear "PAH321,"

This was heartbreaking to read and I wish I had some ideas for you!

The strange thing is I went to Google and asked "what kind of activities can an elderly person do who can't see or hear" and I just clicked on the first result that came up without looking at the origin and it turned out to be an AgingCare thread from 2010 and even saw one of our posters on the thread!

I did read through a lot of the comments but, the problem that we have today that didn't exist in 2010 is COVID!!!
Helpful Answer (0)
PAH321 Sep 2020
NobodyGetsIt - Yes... Covid. It seems as though the plight of the elderly during Covid has been forgotten by everyone except loved ones. My state’s governor no longer even discusses the elderly in nursing homes or long term care. It feels as though it may be months before families will be allowed inside again.
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