Do you have a loved one with dementia? Have you come up with special activities that add pleasure, assistance, or comfort for your loved one? Please submit your experiences so that others may consider using, or varying, your suggestions with the ones they care for.
Here are some examples:
Example #1: For many years of his life, my husband was a stamp collector. In the late stages of his dementia, he became a stamp collector again. I asked my condo neighbors to please give me envelopes they had received that bore real stamps. I took the donations to my husband and I supplied him with a large magnifying glass and a small box. His new method of stamp collecting consisted of examining the stamp before tearing it off the envelope and dropping it into his stamp collection box. Sometimes he liked opening up his box of stamps and examining them over and over. But mostly his pleasure came from tearing off the stamps and popping them into the little box.
Example # 2: When I went somewhere with a friend doing the driving, I sometimes took a video of an interesting area as we were driving, using my iPad tablet. My husband loved watching these short clips because he said it felt like he was on the trip with us. I was very careful NOT to show him things on my smartphone because the images were too small. The tablet size, however, was easy for him to see and enjoy. I also noted other LTC residents looking very confused when directed to speak on a cell phone. In their minds, a phone likely had a separate receiver and a dial on its base.
Example # 3: A sidewalk bordered the front lawn of my husband’s LTC home and a path connected through the lawn to the sidewalk. I sometimes wheeled him to the sidewalk, where we counted vehicles. The focus was to count 3, 5, or ten red cars. Or blue ones. Or white ones. It didn’t matter if he didn’t get the numbers right. What was of value was that he was attempting to focus on a colour. This was a brief game depending on his level of energy and ability to focus at the time.
Example #4: My husband liked to draw. But a blank piece of paper seemed to offer too much of a challenge. So I began to add things to a page. Perhaps a large butterfly sticker. Or a cut-out heart, or a flower image, or an animal. Then I would suggest that he finish the picture.
Example # 5: After my friend completed a drawing, I would ask her, “Is there a story that goes with this picture?”She would usually tell me something and I would print it on the side of her drawing. She could no longer read, but visitors were able to read her stories to her and that made her happy.
Example # 6: I had an app on my iPad that displayed a section of a piano keyboard. A sound came when a “key” was pressed. This amused my husband greatly as he ran his fingers over the keys.