Find something that fascinates them or something they enjoyed in the past that is still within their abilities. A busy box of odds and ends works with some. A stack of old photoes or personal items works with others. My mom irons, even Dad's underware, and reads magazines. She rarely finishes an article because she is interrupted before she completes it and goes back to a different article but it keeps her busy. My Dad reads the funnies. He will spend an hour at a time reading the funnies several times a day. My grandmother folded wash cloths. If she didn't have those she would fold up paper towels. Another lady I knew was always taking care of her baby doll. We had a gentleman that would hammer nails into a board, for hours. So it definitely depends on what level they are at and what catches their fancy. Just keep trying until you find something that works.
Welcome to the forum. What stage is your loved one? Hope you find answers here that will be helpful. The great people here have been my sanity and salvation many times.
We have a sticky in this forum (one of the permanent messages up the top of the list of threads) that says "Activities" .. you will get a LOT of ideas from there.
But just quickly:
A 'busy' apron - attached to a bib'n'brace apron is a zipper, a button, velcro, a chain ... whatever you can think of .. different samples of different fabrics etc, just make sure NOTHING can come off and be put in a mouth etc.
A 'busy' box - these can be themed: a Handbag full of old makeup compacts, lipstick tubes, mirror, comb. For a man, a razor without a blade, a shaving brush, an empty bottle of after-shave (they still smell nice if opened). A colourful box with tapestry threads and some material (no needles), a finger protector (can't think of the name, alzheimer's kicking in already lol), a stationary box with pens, pencils, notepads, rubbers etc. A box FULL of old photo's is ALWAYS a handy item to have tucked around the place.
Just remember: Keep them safe. Blunt scissors (or rounded edges). It's a bit like having a toddler around sometimes! And you can sometimes have just as much fun!!
... your loved one hasn't forgotten you ... the DISEASE doesn't remember you
My mother had an ancient kitchen table with a drawer in it for tableware. Every night, she used to wander around the house and eventually sit at that table and 're-arrange' everything in that drawer. I heard the rummaging (it was a small apartment) but did nothing to stop her, glad she was not heading for the street! In the morning, everything was in the 'wrong' place, knives and forks mixed with spoons and gravy ladles and potato peelers. I used to sort them out and get them back to normal, only to repeat the exercise a day or two later. I never realised at the time that this was therapeutic for her. Her inner life was in such disarray that she needed to 'straighten' something out ...
My DH used to carry silver dollars in his pocket. He collected them and must have found them one day and he picked them up and carried them for months! He found comfort in counting them, or putting them in piles etc. He also like to get the mail each day, something he used to do when he was healthy, and I would give him the junk mail to open and he loved the idea that he was still getting mail. Anything that your Mom liked to do in the past might be comforting to your her as I believe it's "familiar" to her and she'll find comfort in that.