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Finding things to do with my grandma who is living with V.D
Welcome to our world Samantha. I'm so glad you found our site.
SamanthaW - What a caring and loving granddaughter you are to want to help your grandma stay involved. "Contented involvement" is a term I learned in one of the classes I took. Getting your grandma involved in an activity that is appropriate to her level, with the outcome being less important than simply being involved.
As Mimi suggested, what did she like to do? My mom loved cooking but could no longer follow a recipe, let alone physically stand up in the kitchen. We worked at the dining room table and I would simplify the activity and have her do 1 step while telling her the direction (ie; While making pancakes, I would have her hold the measuring cup and I'd pour the milk into it. Then she would add it to the batter and mix it.) Another activity was taking the Tupperware out of the cupboards and asking her to sort them. If your grandma liked sewing, you could ask her to sort old buttons or spools of thread. Then, encourage her to reminisce about the activity...maybe an old dress she had sewed or a favorite meal. If she can use scissors, ask her to cut out some coupons. Anything to feel useful and included.
A book called "Creating Moments of Joy" by Jolene Brackey might also provide some helpful ideas for you. Hope you get some helpful ideas.
Hi Samantha, Here are some ideas I put together a while ago:
Activities for Mid and Late Stage Dementia
Look at the things available for babies to grasp, shake, rattle or just
feel. Yes, your LO is an adult, but these things are made to
stimulate and entertain. You might try Twiddle Muffs, or Twiddle
kittens and pups, (go on line to see the stores that have these, or make
one for her) activity aprons, etc.
Sensory stimulation: put a few cotton balls in old pill
containers (the kind you get from the pharmacy) put a few drops of
vanilla, chocolate extract, lemon extract, etc. or even one or two
perfumes in them and let your LO sniff at them. Try spices like oregano,
basil, mint. etc.
How about music. Try different sounds to see if your LO likes them.
There are wonderful sounds in "relaxation" type music. Also try old
music from the 40s and 50s. I am an nurse who worked for years on
dementia units. My residents LOVED gospel music, especially the Statler
Time Radio Shows on CD:
Touch - a bowel of rice to run their fingers through or petals from
flowers to touch and smell, Does a neighbor have a dog or cat they can pet? Or consider
getting one of the animated dogs or cats that look real. Bring
in some snow when the weather gets colder. Let your LO experience it once
again. You can think up more based on her background.
The idea of sensory stimulation is to help the person remember what
things feel like or smell like. It might trigger a memory and you can
gently ask and pry a bit to get your LO one to remember. Same with the music. I
had residents who could not string 3 words together, but remembered the
lyrics to some of the gospels or older songs.
Try blowing some bubbles around them and see if they catch their attention enough to poke at them.
Let your LO wind yarn if they can, or sort socks and fold wash cloths.
If your LO is a female, give her a manicure and polish her nails. She might like looking at them. If not, you can remove the polish.
Give your LO seed catalogs to look through. Loads of great pictures of flowers.
If you do find something they like , don't forget that they have a memory problem. You can use the same thing over and over again.
When wandering is a problem
Many people with dementia go through a stage when they wander. It is up to the facility or family at home, to provide a safe wandering area. It is often helpful to devote a room or area to things the person likes to rummage through or look at. Pictures, books, items to touch and take with them as they wander.
Make sure there are no obstacles in the way of the person's wander path. Think about taking the person on walks outside, especially if a patio or backyard is available. At home, doing things like walking the dog, or even helping with tasks like raking or washing the car, help expend energy and may reduce some of the need to wander.
Remember, wandering is a "phase". It will not last long. Keep your LO safe and keep the environment interesting.
Hope this helps,