Plan Short, Interactive Activities For You and Your Alzheimer’s Loved One

September 29, 2009 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

Hanging out with someone who has Alzheimer’s is a lot like enjoying the company of a 2-year-old. Don’t get upset with them just because they have a 2 minute attention span–work with it. I used to plan 2-3 things for my mom and I to do together, but I had to stay on my toes. Caregiving requires creativity and ingenuity.

What You Can Do With Your Caregiving Buddy:

  • People watch–this is fun at the doctor’s office, on a park bench, and especially at the airport. I used to make up stories about what they were doing, who they were, and where they were going. I’d comment on their red handbag, their dog sticking out of their purse, or imagine they were flying to Paris to meet the President and his model-wife.
  • Enjoy a magazine together. Just look at the pictures, point out a few words, say what you’d buy and what you wouldn’t.
  • Pick up an old movie star book from a used bookstore. My mom really enjoyed photographs of movie starts from her era–Mary Pickford, Clark Gable, and Shirley Temple. We’d look at the pictures and make little comments about their hair–it was fun just to see her face light up in recognition.
  • Does your loved one like gardens, birds, vintage cars, or stamps? If they liked something before getting Alzheimer’s, chances are they still like it. Go to a home and garden show, sit outside with a pair of binoculars, or go to a Vintage car show. Even if you’re there ten minutes, isn’t ten minutes of making someone you love happy worth it.
  • Shell peas together, decorate cookies, paint your mom’s toenails, or clean out the junk draw together–small motor skills are important.

Doing things together is comforting and it’s great for your brain and relationship. Don’t get hung up on the fact that you’re lucky to get five minutes before their mind (or body) starts to wander. Ironically, Alzheimer’s holds some unexpected insights. It teaches us to live one moment at a time.

Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving.

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This Blog

Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

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