Tru here with some activities that i choose on days with lower abilities … which will probably then become activities for my next “future normal”.
If you are follower of my blog you probably have some insight in my CURRENT activities, which are largely dementia awareness, staying connected with my dementia friends, Dementia Mentors, care and training of animals, Arts/Crafts, writing blog, and strategizing how to fulfill tasks with limited abilities.
… but what about days when my abilities are lower-than my USUAL “normal” ??
So these are my thoughts when asked about activities for Loved Ones with medium stages of dementia; more severe than my current “normal”.
i am partial to Teepa Snow’s categories for activity;
Productive activity: “I am still here for a reason, and the reason matters” / helpful or meeting needs in family, friends, society, or environment.
Leisure activity: (fun/play in passive and active activities).
Self-Care activity: (body, care, transportation, exercise, etc).
Rest and Restoration activity: (sleep, spiritual, battery re-charge is highly influenced by introvert/extrovert preferences).
. Activities i would probably NOT take part in are games and “toys”.
in my innermost being, i am driven to gather, change, then distribute. … and for ME games and toys leave me completely disinterested.
.Games of various types may be enjoyed by many, but i have never enjoyed games, puzzles, or mystery stories.
i enjoy “people-watching” while other folks play a game, and participating in the conversation, but most games seem pointless to me. If i actively participate in a game, it is probably because i felt my participation was needed in order for someone else to enjoy the game.
TOYS: These look like a fun “toy” >> https://www.getspeks.com/products/fleks-magnetic-silicone-building-set , but like Duplo Building blocks or other “toys”,
i personally would probably not be interested unless there were children around, as an effort to spend time together. … Or “needs” of someone else, as in
“Could you please build something for me to take a photo of, because i want several examples when i give this gift to my nephew”.
Similar to playing with “toys” with children, i also find myself spending lots of time with DOG toys. The little “Hero” (in contrast to my first “Hero” which was the Service Dog in picture above) gets a new toy monthly, and he is a very social animal, so very very much wanting human interaction with his toys. Probably half the time is bringing the toy and wanting me to throw it or squeak it or in some way interact with him. So i find myself spending lots of time playing with the dog. His latest toy is here, which involves plenty of time with hide and seek, and put the hedgehogs in the log … and take them out. >> https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01NBIY3ZE .
SCHEDULING: We often have the FEELING that we should be busy working on things and contributing to family welfare, so large calendar helps with what activities are on the schedule. In our home, after breakfast we discuss the day’s coming events. (We dont do it the night before, because then i spend the night thinking about tomorrow’s activities, and it impacts my ability to sleep.) For ME, this activity is both self-care, (because it pertains to MY schedule) and Productive activity (because it is the merging of schedule for me and my HUSBAND). i usually participate in joint project of changing bedding and folding laundry on Fridays.
You might even go to a craft store or stationery shop and pickup stick-on images for Doctor Appt, Shopping, etc that have PICTURES (because on bad days i have problems connecting words with meanings). So dinner could be “taco Tuesday”, etc, or PICS of grandchildren for visit. This activity of creating and maintaining calendar would be the above categories, but also bring in aspect of rest and restoration or Leisure activities for ME, because i always feel most alive when i am creating something.
MENU: We have not had time to implement this one yet, but would like to prepare a binder with recipes and PICTURES of dinner selections, so the person with dementia (me, LOL) can give some suggestions for foods i would like to eat this week. if PICTURES of ingredients, then i could even gather supplies and have them ready on the countertop, for my husband to cook. Since i have bad tremors, i do much better in kitchen if foods are pre-cut, and since Labels dont do much for me any more, it is much better if supplies are stored in clear containers — again, all too often words get in the way these days.
MOBILITY: Balance is often more problem on my “slow” days, but animal-needs are still a priority, so must use a walker to take the dog back and forth for potty outings, but need help for moving chickens. This also provides some necessary physical movement. Dog needs brushed, creating more physical activity. Dog craves his ball-time as a TOGETHERNESS function, so there is more arm-activity. Love the “exercises” Larry encourages with his mother at https://youtu.be/ndlZYZfaRWk .
CREATIVITY: For ME, creating is crucial for my well-being — that is when i feel most “alive”.
* … On my “Bad” days one of my favorite activities is the art program called “Silk2” . it is ever-so-fun, and has soothing sounds that go along with it. i use it with Apple Pencil 2 and iPad — especially in the last hour before bed. This product would not interest me near so much except that it has a SAVE tool, so i can save and print the pictures created for use on cards, etc. Silk app examples and instructions at https://truthfulkindness.com/about/life-other/arts-crafts/apps/silk/ ;
* … i like taking paper cut-outs (or making paper cut-outs with my Sizzix/Cricut) then composing them together to make cards for my loved ones. it can consume much time getting ready for Valentine’s Day or a major holiday. The easiest way is to use ready-made cards and envelopes. A $20 set of over 100 cards is at this Link >> https://smile.amazon.com/Envelopes-Cardstock-Supplies-Invitations-Announcement/dp/B083J3RM98 .
Using collage-style, i enjoy making cards of card stock cut-outs, felt cut-outs, glitter cut-outs, feathers, stickers, tissue paper, etc … and maybe even some type of paint in background for the card; i cut my own cut-outs with my Sizzix, but IF i did not have a Sizzix (or a Cricut) die-cut machine then i would probably invest in a few packs of card stock cut-outs like the $11 feminine package at https://www.amazon.com/Prima-Marketing-Ephemera-Cardstock-Pkg-Shapes/dp/B084GX3TP9 , and the package from Tim Holtz at https://www.amazon.com/Tim-Holtz-Idea-ology-Ephemera-TH93114/dp/B00IXWLWMM . IF i did not have a Sizzix then i would probably also invest in some felt cut-outs and glitter cut-outs. Then i have feathers, a few sparkly stick-on “jewels”, washi tape, and tissue paper to be randomly torn and used for background. And personally, finger paint would be very frustrating for me in painting background, but i especially use Tim Holtz’ Distress Mini Ink called “Stormy Sky” (using small foam applicators) on cards or cardstock paper. >> https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L2PBY4I/ .
* … i also have a crochet tool that does not require remembering how many stitches; several sizes of “Loom Kits”, which allow me to have wonderfully cuddly warm yarn in my hands, and give ability to make stocking cap or other gifts. But when my tremors are extra-severe then even the Loom can be very frustrating. i do not see the brand i have in Amazon, but this set has high satisfaction rating >> https://www.amazon.com/Readaeer-Round-Knitting-Needle-Pompom/dp/B0182IQHYE .
* … I have some just-right-for-ME coloring pictures selected and saved in digital file. These can be printed on index stock, so that I can use my watercolor pencils on them, then experiment with wet paintbrush and water (to minimize staining of my clothing and anything else around me). This is the brand of watercolor pencils that i bought >> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078XGWPNL . This is a 12-min demo for use of watercolor pencils at >> https://youtu.be/y1VAxJf6VXw .
My friend Jennifer Bute uses RE-USABLE AquaPaints in her activity groups (product at https://relish-life.com/us/dementia-arts-and-crafts/aquapaints/ and video demo at https://youtu.be/1PH1SenYguY )
You might want to dedicate a box, or dresser-drawer with dividers, for craft and activity supplies to be stored in. i have a box of craft projects specifically for days when my cognitive abilities are lower than my usual normal (whether from infection, extra fatigue, etc).
READING / PICTURE BOOKS: On days when i cannot read, then i like the old Ideals Publications with ONE short poem on each vintage-type picture, in magazine size format. Examples of what they look like are here >> https://youtu.be/WSH8BeGAMmc . Places you can purchase are at >> https://www.etsy.com/market/ideals_magazines and https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/ideals-publications-inc/256590/ ;
If you want newer version of this idea, check out “Nana’s Books” at https://www.nanasbookseries.com/ .
But we can also CREATE picture books with our own FAVORITE poems, songs, etc, using collage material listed above in the “creativity” section, then assemble the pages in 3-hole binder. Personally i would like to take a few of the selections from author Abraham Joshua Heschel’s anthology book “I Asked for Wonder”, and give them wonderful backgrounds. i would also love to take some of the selections from the childCraft book “Poems of Early Childhood”, which we enjoyed as children – and as adults we read to our children when they were very young. i would like to either scan, enlarge and print the poems in their wonderful vintage artwork, or create collage pages for them, as described above in the “creating” section. … just have not found time to do it yet.
GARDENING/Flower Arrangements: i have a definite black thumb; i cannot tell when plants need water and when they dont, so either i drown them or they die of thirst. Some plants do pretty good with that format — but i still seem to kill them. So i can clean silk flowers and gather them for floral arrangements, or i have the “wild” Calla that grow abundantly beside the garage, which i can select for my Week-End arrangement on Rowena’s table. (Rowena’s Round Table is an elegant carved piece that was involved in my first conscious memories as a child.)
FILM: i now have a hard time finding shows or movies that i enjoy. Even many of my old favorites dont work for me now because of violence or suspenseful music. On days when even my repeat of familiar movies does not work, i enjoy scenery with soothing music. Some of mine are Aquariums, Ocean, MusicMeditation, Forest Rays, and WaterFalls. As a SAMPLE, My Favorite Films are listed at https://truthfulkindness.com/2017/01/17/favorite-films-why/ . i want to make a binder with a large photo from each video that we have in our library — because hearing the name of the movie often does not trigger memories of the video like pictures do — then i can better find movies that i want to watch.
MUSIC: Because the notes in the Pentatonic scale all harmonize with one another, there are no wrong notes. When i am at lower abilities any musical instrument i “play” with must use a pentatonic scale. i can no longer tune the harp that had strings removed for pentatonic scale, so … a few years ago my husband gifted me with a mini Hapi Drum. i dont have finger strength to play only with fingers, but i enjoy using the small mallets. professional sample is at https://youtu.be/aSQg-ff5exE . The tone is similar to singing bowls or musical bells . i do not try to play any specific “song” but just strike random notes — and i enjoy it.
As far as LISTENING to music i highly suggest listing favorites and being sure to include reasoning of WHY they are favorites. Sample is at https://truthfulkindness.com/2015/08/25/music-is-connection-dementia-symptoms/ ;
FAMILY HISTORY, Memory Box, Memory Book: One of my biggest projects is Family History. You might want to keep various types of books on recent history handy, and use them to trigger reminiscence. Then jot down notes when person with dementia is talking about memories, or even better would be to turn on your iPhone video and record a short video.
i think it would be great TOGETHERNESS project to make a memory box or a few Memory Books. This is 2-min vid on making a Memory Box or Memory book >> https://youtu.be/I8lYBhG6cCc . and https://youtu.be/dUwSm1RA2b8 .
i am trying to get my own Family Tree established on https://www.wikitree.com/ , where no membership is required.
STUFFED ANIMALS: Need to re-arrange my stuffed-animals in the bedroom every day, in order to get out my clean sox and underwear.
Each stuffed animal is associated with memory of special Event. That is MY version of doll therapy and a TACTILE memory box, LOL.
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