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Putting joy in our LO lives
Stephanie Z
Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 11:04 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4217

Hi, I'm creating this post for SABB who just posted that she wants to find ways to put joy in her Mom's life. I know all of us would like to do this, but where to start?

Having only had a personal experience with dementia for a short time when my FIL was dying of lung cancer, I don't have a lot to share about what we did at home. However, I'd like to start the thread by mentioning a few things we did for the patients on the dementia units which can be modified for use at home.

I'm also hoping others will jump in with additional ideas and we can create a pool of neat things to help bring joy and happiness to our LO. (Doing this for my patients always gave ME a big lift)


l. Visits from puppies, rabbits and kittens.

2. I used to pick wild daisies on the way to work and hand them out to the patients on the dementia unit. Always brought a big smile.  I'd come back later in the day to find they had them in their hair or button hole or were still holding them.

3. Beauty day. One day a week when everyone put on their nicest clothes, full makeup and got hand massages from the staff.

4. Tea parties, football games for the men

5. Got the van out and went to McDonalds drive-in for ice cream cones. For some reason they loved this followed by a drive through town.

6. Popcorn. The sight, smell and sound of popcorn followed by the taste never failed to lift spirits

7. Bubbles in the winter, squirt guns in the summer

8. Box turtles on the patio

9. Videos of weddings. The women always loved weddings.

10. Videos of smiling babies

11. Joyful gospel music.


Like I said, these are just a few things we did for dementia patients on a unit. Some can be used at home and all always got at least a smile, many got laughter.

Anyone care to add to the list?


Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 12:52 PM
Joined: 1/26/2012
Posts: 5

Thank you so very much for posting!! I will definitely be doing some of these for her!! you are so helpful !!!
Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 2:38 PM
Joined: 1/11/2012
Posts: 100

This is probably not new or innovative but I took a album of old pictures to my mom's ALF.... she LOVED it & showed everyone.  She said they all liked it.  It was old pictures of her children (she had 7 of us!) when we were young and of some of her family trips fishing... I think it brought back good memories for her and she said "now when people ask me about ALL of my children, I can show them this, then they might beliee I had 7 "
Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 3:47 PM
Joined: 12/19/2011
Posts: 469


*stuffed animals


*modeling clothes- I model, she laughs at me

*Animated movies (i.e., Ice Age, Over The Hedge, Rio, Chipmunks)

*Loves to watch the Animal Planet shows

*dining (in or out) make it memorable

*playing cards- she loves to [lay 52 pick. She throws, I pick up, she laughs... 

Be back later with more thoughts...

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 6:34 PM
Joined: 12/20/2011
Posts: 78

My uncle loves when I sing to him.  It might just be some silly little tune or an old show tune.  He is delighted.  I would often start singing as soon as I opened the door to their house and sing until I reached him in his chair.  He's smile even if he was napping!
Stephanie Z
Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 7:03 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4217

I love these! Keep it going!


Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

ice cream sundaes

An old purse to rummage through

Old bottles of perfume to smell


Cheryle Gardiner
Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 10:59 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 529

Frequently when I visit Jim, there's a song playing that many of the aides (and I!) know. We'll all start singing along and then "dance" with the residents - including the ones in wheelchairs. It never fails to bring smiles all around!
Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 1:00 PM
Joined: 1/26/2012
Posts: 1

My mom loves to Zumba but had backed away from it where she used to live.  At her retirement home (where she had only lived there for two days) last week, a couple came to perform karoke.  My mom jumps up and dances for the next hour.  Another resident joined in which amazed the staff there. 


My hubby videoed it for me.  She had so much joy on her face.  She didn't look confused as she looks a lot of the time, she wasn't pacing and she wasn't anxiously wringing her hand or scratching her arms.  It brought tears to our eyes. 


She was in the moment, her spirit seemed to soar, she was smiling and she was laughing.

Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 1:55 PM
Joined: 1/15/2012
Posts: 9

Thank you for this! I was just coming to post about activities for my stage 6ish mom. The suggestions from the Alzheimer's website are just beyond my mom at this point - she can't read or play board games, etc. We are down to music at this point, so these suggestions are great. It makes me sad when she comes to me and says "what should I do?"
Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 2:07 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 18860

Thanks all...You made me realize that I had forgotten about JOY.
Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 2:16 PM
Joined: 12/19/2011
Posts: 469

My mom just spent 2 hours going through old photos. She had a great time and I was able to get a couple of things done...
Stephanie Z
Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 4:37 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4217

Here are a few more, Keep it going


Make cookies together

Do simple puzzles

Adult or kids coloring books or simply look up pictures to color on your computer and print them out.

Wind up toys and manipulatives

Hats to try on


One day a week I had a nursing assistant wear an apron with "Hug Therapist" written on it in glitter. It had a picture of two bunnies hugging. Her job was to go around for 1/2 an hour and hug any resident who wanted one.


Play dough (It's not just for kids)



Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 8:03 PM
Joined: 1/21/2012
Posts: 24

Some things we did with my grandmother, and also my mom(she didn't have Alzheimer's but suffered from dementia caused by her lung cancer) and with my Dad.


Trips to the Dairy Queen


Brushing hair, I would do hers, and then she loved brushing mine


Pictures(I bought a digital pic frame and loaded as many pics as I could find, including pics of my mom as a baby with her parents, grandparents. She would sit and look at it all the time. She loved sharing stories from the past.)


"Helping in the kitchen" My dad loves to help with simple tasks in the kitchen.


My mom liked to help fold towels. She always wanted to help. 


Short walks and "working in the garden"


My mom loved to have children's picture books read to her.


Just getting in the car and driving around helped to calm them.






Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 10:29 PM
Joined: 12/24/2011
Posts: 10

My Mom seems to enjoy reading through her old handwritten recipes. I then got the idea to cut out recipes from magazines and we are creating a cookbook. She uses a glue stick on the backs of the recipes and I let her paste them to construction paper pages then they go into clear 3 hole punched page protectors. Keep her busy and jogs the memory of recipes she used to make. Great conversations.
Stephanie Z
Posted: Sunday, January 29, 2012 11:36 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4217

TL, if you have the time, why not make one or two of those recipies and let her help. She can unwrap butter, help measure liquids, stir batter, knead bread. Just break the tasks down and instruct her. Don't worry about what the result looks like, it won't be perfect, but so what. She will enjoy herself and love eating the result.