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Keeping an Alzheimer's patient occupied
Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2022 10:12 AM
Joined: 12/23/2018
Posts: 7

Here's a challenge I've run into. My wife is not really capable of keeping herself occupied much of the time. She does get outside to do gardening when the weather allows it. Inside is another story. During our marriage she never really showed an interest in any particular subject as a hobby.

I had a suggestion from someone in a support group that there are a number of apps or games that I could load onto a tablet computer that she might enjoy. I've been looking and there seem to be a ton of arcade games, but they just don't seem appropriate.

As with most Alzheimer's patients, she doesn't have a whole lot of success with concentration. Perhaps some of you may have suggestions along these lines. FYI, the tablet is a Samsung with the Android O/S, not an iPad.

Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2022 10:36 AM
Joined: 5/30/2019
Posts: 386

My husband seems content. Sometimes, when I think he’s asleep upstairs, I find him staring up at the ceiling when I go to check on him. He can do this through noon so I try to get him up. He doesn’t want to read and he no longer has the ability to putter around the house or pursue any of his old hobbies. He watches TV and seems content to do what I’d call “nothing.” If I try to engage him in any activity that involves more than one simple step, he cannot handle it and the frustration can lead to rage so I just let him be.
Gig Harbor
Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2022 11:21 AM
Joined: 3/10/2016
Posts: 1019

Paris I agree. My husband is happy to watch TV or snooze. He would love to be walking all day but that is not possible. He certainly does not want to sort coins or nuts and bolts. There are far worse things in the world than sitting in front of a TV. Sometimes I can get him to help me outside but he will only fold laundry as an inside job. I am busy keeping everything going so when I have some free time I feel I deserve to be able to read. I can’t be “on” all the time.
Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2022 12:04 PM
Joined: 8/22/2020
Posts: 2514

Byteguy, this is an issue at our house too.   My partner is very claustrophobic so wearing masks is very hard for her (and she is immunocompromised), so she really hasn't left the house in months, although she does ride with me for grocery pickup sometimes but she can't go in the stores.   And she has a lot of apathy and loss of executive function, so it's very hard for her to initiate any activities on her own.   She lost computer skills a long, long time ago; maybe that will work for a while for you, but I wouldn't have great expectations about learning new skills/games.  

Especially during these winter months I know my partner bored to tears and wants to have people over (forgets about the pandemic continually).  The only activity she can initiate is cleaning/vacuuming, which she seems to enjoy, and rummaging through old papers in her desk--this is risky though, because she'll find old tax documents, bills etc. and think they need to be paid all over again.  She is/was very artistic and used to love to paint--has quite the art studio-- but I can't get her to engage with it any more.  It's just not there, apparently.

What with my trying to work and take care of everything, I have limited energy for entertaining her.  I can't be activities director all the time along with everything else.  So I know she's bored, but we just try to muddle along.  Spring will be better because she can be outside, though even there the loss of executive function is very limiting.

Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2022 12:56 PM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 5748

Byteguy, here is a link that might give you some ideas. I hope it does.  
Rescue mom
Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2022 2:13 PM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 2572

Byteguy, she sounds a lot like my DH with Alzheimer’s was. One thing he liked doing was sorting coins, and we had tons accumulated over the years. Also liked sorting nails vs. screws, from the junk drawers and his old projects. He’d fold simple clothes for a while, but that stopped pretty quickly. Also folded paper constantly. All the folding and sorting made me think he might like some of the shapes-related activities for elders/dementia, but no.

He liked looking at magazines with lots of pictures, of things that interested him (mostly boats and cars).

He lost all computer/tablet abilities very early, so I can’t help there.

Now he rummages a LOT through drawers and shelves, but no longer able to sustain any “purpose” in it. It’s just restless movement, sort of. He also looks at the TV, and a lot of just sitting watching out the windows, but he does not seem to be bored or distressed at doing nothing (best I can tell).

Frank Wesley
Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2022 2:28 PM
Joined: 7/16/2021
Posts: 7

My DW is middle stage AD. She loves doing large-print dot-to-dot puzzles. Also large-print word search puzzles and sometimes large print easy crossword puzzles. She works on these puzzles all day lomg and takes great pride in completing them. When she was last tested by a neuro-phycologist, he felt these puzzles helped her cognitive skills greatly. Unfortunately, not much help for memory issues.
Posted: Monday, January 17, 2022 10:40 PM
Joined: 1/15/2022
Posts: 6


YouTube for:

Funny pet and baby videos

Kids say the darnedest things videos

You can go and purchase a very cheap Google chrome cast and it’s all right on the tv and easy.  

I would record programs you know they like and pretend they are new (I watch the same hockey game almost nightly) 

Picture books / old family photos and videos

Car rides

Consider a small dog 

Ping pong 


Shift your entire mindset to “what did they used to enjoy” and try to enable that as much as possible.. I made super easy fake sudokus for my mom because she read the paper every morning

Establishing a routine helps a ton too

Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 6:47 AM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 5748

"(I watch the same hockey game almost nightly) " 

That wouldn't be when the Maple Leafs won it, would it? Welcome to the forum.

White Crane
Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 4:22 PM
Joined: 2/27/2017
Posts: 498

Hi Byteguy, My DH used to be an avid and expert birdwatcher.  He also used to paint, draw, and carve.  He knew computers inside and out.  And he loved working in the yard.  Now he sits all day except to eat and use the bathroom.  He hasn't much interest in the birds these days.  I've tried to get him to draw a picture but he doesn't seem to be able to do that anymore.  One of our sons gave him a fidget cube and he put it in a drawer.  Another son gave him an adult coloring book and some colored pencils.  He put them in a drawer.  He used to play some games on the computer but can't even use a computer these days.  What he enjoys most is for someone to sit down and visit with him and pay attention to him.  He also can play rummy and we do that a lot.  Other than that, he sits in his recliner and watches TV or else just sits with his eyes closed.  I'm sorry to not be of more help.  There just doesn't seem to be too much that interests him.  I wish you the best.
Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 6:54 PM
Joined: 8/19/2016
Posts: 472

2448 is a good low stakes game app.
TikTok videos max out at 3 minutes each, but can be watched for hours. Also, try adult coloring books with colored pencils. Get good quality colored pencils (Faber Castell). Stage 3/4 my wife resented these books when they were given to her as gifts and set them aside. Now she's stage 5/6 and spends hours each day coloring. Good luck finding something that works.


Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2022 8:28 PM
Joined: 1/15/2022
Posts: 6

No, I save those for April when they can’t seem to find the wins

I’m here in Winterpeg, so our hockey team is better but your city is much better! Fair Canadian trade 

Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2022 9:54 PM
Joined: 7/9/2020
Posts: 62

Monkeyapple wrote: I would record programs you know they like and pretend they are new (I watch the same hockey game almost nightly 

This made me smile. Over the past year my husband has been more and more disturbed by any violence on TV. Sometimes we can’t even watch team sports or the evening news, but golf is sure to catch his interest and keep him calm. I record tournaments Thursday through Sunday and replay them the rest of the week. Thank heaven I like golf. The repeats test my patience at times, but not as much as answering the same question 30 times in an evening. 

Wheel of Fortune is another reliable favorite.