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Activities for Alzheimer patients

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Old 11-12-2005, 05:47 PM   #1
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Post Activities for Alzheimer patients

Does anyone have any ideas for Alzheimer patients. I take care of a lady who is in the late stages of it and she will not sit still long enough for her to focus on one thing let alone just sit still. She is up and ready to go 24/7. She is out the door before you know it.
Taking her for a drive or walk seems to help pacify her - but not for long.
The family doesn't want us to take her for rides much anymore and they want us to spend more time doing activities with her.
What Activities????
I am lost and they don't have a clue. I am working a 12 hour shift with this woman tomorrow and it is suppose to rain and storm. I am hoping enough that it will keep her inside.
Any ideas would be appreicated. THANKS!

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Old 11-12-2005, 06:24 PM   #2
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

Hi and welcome!

I know this isn't what you asked about, but the doors to your patient's home need to be locked so she cannot get out the door at all, much less quickly. She could wander away and be lost. I had to keep the doors locked and hide the keys so my 85 year old mother didn't leave in the middle of the night.

My mother enjoyed stringing colorful wooden and plastic beads on a shoestring. These were not tiny beads. They were about 1" across and with a good size hole in the center so the shoestring went in easily. I bought the beads at the local Ben Franklin store.

Mom also enjoyed looking at old greeting cards that she'd received over the years. She'd forgotten who the senders were, but just liked the pictures and verses.

Maybe someone else will have better ideas. It's a shame you can no longer take your patient shopping. That was my mother's all time favorite thing at this stage.

You might find the Stages of Alzheimers sticky at the top of this thread interesting as it explains what behaviors are common at each stage of Alzheimer's. You'll be forewarned and can better help your patient and her family.

Wishing you well - Barbara

Old 11-12-2005, 07:01 PM   #3
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

In my research, I have come across a thing called a "busy apron" .. it's your standard apron, with things attached to it to keep them .. well .. 'busy'.

On the apron is some:

shoestrings = tie them in a bow or a knot, undo, retie, undo, retie .. you get the idea
Velcro .. = gotta love that ripping sound
A zipper = up and down, up and down
A pocket with a button = do it up, undo, do it up, undo ...

It's a great idea and easy to make (although they are available to buy if you do a hunt)

It helps their fine motor skills as well, coordination and muscle functions too.

I also found plaster creations and a small amount of paint were a source of utilising fine motor skills, visual coordination and personal satisfaction. Just make sure you use washable paints as my charge tended to paint herself as well.


Last edited by angel_bear; 11-14-2005 at 12:07 PM. Reason: adding

Old 11-12-2005, 09:47 PM   #4
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

Hi Mank,

The ladies came up with some good ideas. Simple things around her house, might help to solve your problem.

Yall could make things (only very very easy ones) out of spools of thread and shoestrings or ribbon. Or, empty carton or boxes (small to med, not big ones). And then AD (some of them) patients love to fold towels and such. You can either wash some dirty ones or just pull the ones out of the cabinet and jumble them up!

Lets see...I read where some alzheimers people like simple, simple cooking. Like mixing stuff in a bowl, or playing with biscuit dough. Messy but busy keeping for a little while and then yall could bake and eat the very hard biscuits!!! :>

If she can control her movements at all, yall could have a pretend exercise class in chairs. Just simple movements. My dad watches a program on public television station, called "Sit and Be Fit". He enjoy that and thinks he is getting exercise, but he only half way does them correctly. He cannot get the fine motor movements right, buy does try!!!

If there is anything, like office supplies and art or childrens school supplies, yall could make a turkey, for Thanksgiving, out of yalls hands (you know, trace them) and cut them out and then color them! Sort of think preschool and kindergarten things. They love anything that they think is beautiful!!!

Depending on how her mind is, both of yall could pay some pretend bills. With envelopes and stickers - like address stickers and pretend stamps and either real or pretend addresses or just names or real people. You could do some of the harder things and she could do some of the easier things?!

Just ideas. Maybe you can come up with some things, now that we have gotten you thinking. You may have a few easy, simple, cheap things around your house!!!?

Hope you can find enuf to do to keep her busy part of the time. Then if not, try tv and or nice music.

Good Luck. Take care and try not to worry about it.

Love, Wannabe

Old 11-13-2005, 09:56 AM   #5
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

Hi Mank,
Oh, some great ideas. I thought I might find some new ones for my Mom, too.

My Mom is 80 and her all-time favorite thing to do is to color. She will color until her entire coloring book is full. She signs each page with her name and insists that any visitors must color one page and sign it.

Her biggest smile came when I purchased a box of 64 crayons that were her very own, instead of my grandchildren's broken crayons. She was thrilled! And it had a built-in sharpener on the back which just amazed her!

She also loves to paint those little plaster knick-knacks. Children's water-color paints are fine. I bought several sets of xmas elfs on clearance at Walmart for $2.00 each. 8 figures in each set. She tends to paint the entire piece in one color, but she loves doing it and thinks that each one is a masterpiece when she's finished. I always agree that they're gorgeous!

I try to keep her age "emotionally" in mind and purchase appropriate toys.

Hope that helps a little.

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Old 11-13-2005, 12:35 PM   #6
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

Hi Sandyspen,

That is a great idea about coloring and painting! I would like to do that myself. Maybe when I get older and not so busy! My dad is not that far yet, but probably will be next spring. I will have to keep that in mind for him. He might like the colored pencils and he would probably love to sharpen them. He loves making copies of important (or not so important) papers on their computer printer/copier!

Thanks, anyone got anymore ideas for all of us? Yall take care.

Love, Wannabe

Old 11-13-2005, 03:01 PM   #7
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

As a former preschool teacher and Alzheimer caregiver, my advice is THINK Nursery School.

Anything kids of 2 to 4 love to do, so will an AD patient.

-Looking at pictures (old albums are great)
-You reading a story to her.
-Stringing beads, as Barbara said
-Play Dough! Squeezing it and rolling it with a rolling pin and cutting out play cookies - if they eat it it's Ok too, safe for babies and oldies.
-singing games, "if you're happy and you know it clap your hands!"
-reciting nursery rhymes: Mom remembered the ones she learned as a child in Germany, and I filled in the missing words she didn't remember.
-Singing old songs (I have NO singing voice, but Mom didn't care.)
--Good night Irene
--I'd like to get you on a slow boat to China
--I'm looking over a four leaf clover
--She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes
--When the moon comes over the mountain
--kids' church songs too: Jesus Loves Me etc.

Good luck and enjoy it yourself too!



Old 11-13-2005, 05:30 PM   #8
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

I'd LOVE to see this as a sticky! There are some WONDERFULLY CREATIVE ideas here!

Love, Barb
Live, Love, Laugh.

Last edited by Administrator; 11-14-2005 at 01:03 PM.

Old 11-14-2005, 09:01 AM   #9
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

My mom can usually manage the 100 piece puzzles (e.g., by Kodak of different animals in nature settings). She also pencil colors some of the adult coloring books of flowers or butterflies I found on Amazon. Sometimes though both of these can get her frustrated, and something as simple as selecting a color will upset her.

My mom also has boundless energy and is BORED. Oddly enough she never feels like bathing, washing her hair, dusting or doing things that she could/should do, ha. She can tell if I try to get her to do something that is "make work" just to keep her busy so I can't fool her that way. She wanted to give her colored pages to children to play with and couldn't understand that the fun was supposed to be in coloring the pages.
When I take her outside hoping the fresh air and outdoors will help, within 5 minutes she wants to get back..sigh.

She says she loves all the photography books (mostly animals and nature with cute or inspirational sayings, or the Anne Geddes books and similar), but I've yet to see her pick one up unless I go through them with her page by page myself.

She can't watch regular television, but loves certain videos like Andre Rieu and Dean Martin. I'm trying to see if I can get the Lawrence Welk videos that PBS airs every Saturday night--she loves those (me too!). He really put a lot of work into the staging, costumes, performances, etc., and mom can enjoy without having to understand anything. David Hannan's DVD, Coral Sea Dreaming, is a thing of beauty to watch with no narration and is wonderfully relaxing (with loop so it will replay on its own), beautiful soothing background music.

Editing because I got carried away. Puzzles and coloring won't work for late stage. Maybe the smaller wooden puzzles with only a few pieces? Ack, so frustrating. Now I'm wondering if the videos will even work due to vision problems. My mom is hearing impaired but so far her vision is okay.

Last edited by Glenna; 11-14-2005 at 09:33 AM.

Old 11-15-2005, 11:36 PM   #10
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

I found some of these activities .. good for groups or 1 on 1 as needed:

Leaf Hunt - decorative collage - Single or Group
Take your AD charge outside armed with a basket and a mission...if they are in a wheelchair they can be a "spotter" and find the prettiest colored leaves, sticks, seeds, pods ..whatever. If your AD charge can walk get them to pick them up and shape the decorations onto a piece of cardboard and glue with a water based glue (PVA is good (white glue)) these can be given to people as presents (and raises self esteem)

Shopping Treasure Hunt - Group
Collect sales ads from several papers. Pass ads and scissors out to everyone. Also give them a list of items to search for: example-
1. tent
2. baby diapers
3. blue dress
Type out over 50 items to search for. Assist them if they need help. If they were unable to cut out the items, a volunteer would do this. The participant would cross off the items on their list as they found them. Items found on the hunt were placed on a plastic tray. A count was taken at the end of the activity and the person with the most items was the winner. They would share their ads with others and ask if anyone had ones they needed.
The interaction was fantastic. Even my low functioning people could participate. It was a fun activity....

Note: Higher functioning people can search for the highest or lowest priced items. Also, the cut out ads can be saved for a collage as a later activity.


Old 11-21-2005, 12:28 PM   #11
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

My best friend's father is 87. He can no longer drive, and he gave up his license without a fuss. He doesn't remember what he's ordered for lunch, or even if he's ordered it, but he doesn't behave badly (unless he's had a drink - which is rare).

I take him to lunch once a week and would like ideas for things to keep him interested. I think doing things that interest children age 3-7 is a wonderful suggestion, but I don't think he's that far along. I don't think it would fly, and I don't want to belittle him.

Lately it seems like he enjoys our lunches, and recently I get the sense he looks forward to them - which is great!! (at one point I almost stopped doing it, as it can be difficult and I felt it was sort of pointless).

Frankly, I don't think he has Alzheimer's. I think boredom and lack of interests outside of work has contributed to what is probably due to reduced blood flow to the brain. He's had some vascullar issues.

Sometimes I get stressed out trying to think of things to do. "Good" days are so gratifying, and bad ones are deflating. I would really appreciate ideas to increase my batting average.

Old 02-07-2006, 04:38 PM   #12
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

Hi -

My mother enjoyed going to a garden center when the weather was pretty and warm. She needed a hat and sunglasses often, so I kept those in the car. When she had forgotten how to walk and was in a wheelchair, this still was a great outing. There was no hustle and bustle or crowds and the flowers were colorful and delightful.

She also enjoyed being taken to the park to sit and watch children play, have some lemonade or ice cream in a cup (no cone as that was forgotten). It was pleasant, shady, and quiet.

In autumn the colorful leaves were a joy to her and in the winter she liked to stay inside. She didn't like being cold after she had AD.

I got some colorful silk flower "bushes" (several flowers on a fat plastic stem), made a simple arrangement in a basket for her ALF apartment and she loved that. By then, she didn't water any plant, so there was no use in dooming any live plant to her lack of care! She became child-like in her love of color.

Cheers! Barbara

Old 03-07-2006, 04:34 PM   #13
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Talking Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

Hi, I work in a seniors residence so I see this problem a lot!
These people still LOVE music! Find their favourite tunes and let them sing, or dance if they are able.
Music is a wonderful tool.
If he or she used to play piano I bet they still could play a few tunes if given a small lap keyboard.

Old 07-06-2006, 06:35 PM   #14
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

Tissue Paper Collage

Get some colourful tissue paper and cut it up into little squares.

Scruch each little square quite tightly if possible (no biggie if it can't be tight)

On a large piece of paper, draw an outline of something : Eg; Horse for Racing Day, Rabbit for Easter, Santa for Xmas .. you get the idea. Make sure the tissue paper is colour coded too! Glue the appropriate scrunched up tissue paper in the appropriate area ... and voila .. one collage ..

Some Dementia victims LOVE scrunching up little bits of paper, and what better to do that scrunch AND make a picture!

It's good when they're in the repetitive stage or chair-bound too!


Old 08-13-2006, 11:56 AM   #15
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Re: Activities for Alzheimer patients

My Mom used to knit. I take my knitting with me for my daily visit and she holds the yarn and often can put balls of yarn in the carrying bag, and take them out again. Other residents like folding towells, some can match socks, some color in coloring books. Keep trying.

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