Alzheimer's Reading Room
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Some games may need to be adjusted, however, to accommodate your loved one’s diminishing mental capacity.
For example, you may need to play a child’s card game instead of bridge; checkers instead of chess. Or, if the person previously enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, you may need to find ones with fewer and larger pieces (see below for a source of these).
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At the mid stage of the disease, people with Alzheimer’s may have more or less the mental and social skills of a toddler. While it’s excellent to do the standbys - things like looking at old pictures or watching movies together, those are somewhat passive.
With a little thought you can find more active ways to spend time together, such as giving your loved one toys or other “props” that the two of you play with together. The key words here are “play” and “together.” If you find some item the person really likes, you can use your imagination to invent simple games to play together with it.
Some people with Alzheimer’s cannot be reached by any means, but try experimenting with the ideas mentioned here. You may be amazed to find your loved one can suddenly function at a higher level and become happier when involved in these types of activities. And that can bring joy to both of you.
Note: You can find puzzles designed especially for Alzheimer’s patients at Max Wallack’s website, www.PuzzlestoRemember.org. They come in various sizes and number of pieces to accommodate the skills of early or middle stage patient and they have scenes that are appealing to people with Alzheimer’s.
Other sources for entertainment can be found at www.Best-Alzheimers-Products.com, an online store that features games for those with Alzheimer’s. Another item often successful in reaching people with Alzheimer’s is Harvey, a stuffed parrot that repeats whatever a person says. This can be found on Amazon.
Do any of you have any other methods for entertaining people with early- to mid-stage Alzheimer’s?
Marie Marley, PhD, is the award award winning author of, Come Back Early Today: A Story of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy. You can visit Marie’s website at ComeBackEarlyToday.
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