Activities to do with your loved one

What are some fun, safe craft projects to do with Alzheimer’s patients?
Crafty Lady in Madison

Dear Crafty,
There are many fun things to do with a person with Alzheimer’s disease.  Check in with your local Alzheimer’s Association (either from the phone book or on the computer).  They have a paper called 101 things to do with a person with Alzheimer’s disease and it has a lot of quick easy ideas.  A person with Alzheimer’s needs to feel useful and important but that doesn’t mean they can do the things they once did.  What it often does mean is that they will try things they were always insecure about doing before.  Keep in mind when they don’t know how to do something or they aren’t sure what you are asking the only safe answer is NO.  So, don’t ask if they want to just get started and invite them to join or just hand them something and then proceed.  They can do the same thing over and over without honestly getting tired of doing it though it often gets boring for the caregiver.  Another thing to keep in mind, just because they gripe and say things like, “this is the last time I am going to do this;”  as long as they are not visibly agitated they might just like to complain – most people like to complain a bit especially about work.  Discussions and reminiscing about anything is really fun but it requires a technique – instead of asking questions, start in the middle of the sentence or just share knowledge, such as “when I was a little girl we used to pick mulberries at my grandmother’s farm.”  If they are interested they will add something or tell a story, if not try something else.  Photo albums are great again instead of saying. “Who is this?”  Say, “This looks like, John.”  If they don’t know and don’t care they don’t know and don’t care, if they do and you have used the wrong name it gives them a chance to correct you and for them that is a “feel good” opportunity.  It isn’t what you do and it isn’t the finished project that is important what is important is that you are sharing good time together and enjoying relationship and interaction.  It is important if you are the primary caregiver that you find a place where they can interact with others like themselves and have “peers or friends” and equally important for you to have that time to do things you need and want to do without them.