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Fun stuff to do with Alzheimers/Dementia Residents:


I have found that in dealing with Alzheimers/Dementia residents, you need to try to find out what your residents like and their individual needs, read their history,talk to their families,ask them.You will find that different activities will work some days and times and others wont.The best thing to remember is that the residents are not babies and should be treated with respect at all times.Have fun with them and keep them busy,look out for Sundowning(restless behavior towards the late afternoon hours ),Try to keep a consistant program.Enjoy yourself!These are the most rewarding residents that I have found to work with.Here are a few ideas and sample activity days that you might try:

Sorting:Get items that can be sorted by the residents such as Buttons (different sizes and colors), poker chips, balls, bottle caps, forks, spoons, rocks, etc.
Have residents sort items out, make sure to always have staff by the resident to watch that they dont eat items.
Play dough/Clay: Give resident some clay or play dough and have them make something,anything.
This is good exercise for their hands.
Book Making:Have your residents go thru different magizenes and look for a specific item.Examples:
birds,ladies,babies,cats.dogs,food,cars etc.then have residents cut the items out and make their own
What 's in the Bag? Get a bag and fill it with different items such as cotton balls,sandpaper,leaves,newspaper,felt,q-tips,golf ball,sock,clothespin,etc,then have residents take turns and feel whats in the bag,and tell you what the items are.
Stringing: Get Cheerios, fruit loops, popcorn,or honey combs cereal and some string and let  your residents string up a chain to put outside for the birds.This activity is fun because they can eat some while they make their chains.
Cooking Class: Make a fruit salad:get different fruits and have residents cut up with plastic knives, add whipped cream or plain yogart,Yummy!
BBQ:get a small/large George Forman Grill and buy some hot dogs and have a bbq!! The George Forman Grill is great to have for your facility because its small,cleans up easy, and the smell of the cooking item on the grill is wonderful for the residents .Other items to grill: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches,Chicken Breasts for Chicken Salad & Quesidellas.
Other stuff to make:
Tuna Salad,Smoothies,Ice cream Sundaes,Pizza Boats & Nachos.
Pet Therapy:  I have found that if you can have animals at your facility, do it!!! They can be alot of work but they residents really respond to dogs,cats,rabbits,birds,turtles and most any animals.And the fun part is that you can get your residents to help with their care,feeding,and walking the dogs.
Ball Toss:  Get some residents and a ball and have some fun, place residents in a circle and roll ball towards residents,let them kick it or toss it.
Lifeskills:  Have residents fold clothes, sweep,dust, vaccum and set dining room tables. Alzheimers residents love to help. I have found that if you say " I am so busy,can you help me fold these clothes Mrs.Johnson" they will love to do it.
Exercise:  Take your residents outside for a walk, always take a caregiver or someone else with you and a cell phone if possible.
Music Appreciation:  Music soothes the soul,put on some music any kind of music, and just sit back with your residents and listen, some residents may sing along, some will dance, anything goes.Have fun....
Tips on Sundowning: 
~ Provide a Quiet area that residents can relax at any time.
~ Watch to see certain triggers such as t.v.,mirrors,pictures of family members,radios or anything that "sets"your residents off.
~Be sure that your residents are getting enough rest,lack of sleep can be a trigger for sundowning.
~ Be free of clutter,make sure that there is nothing in the way of the floor and have clear walkways,hallways,common areas,etc.
~Limit length of activities and amount of stimulus- in otherwords keep your activities short and sweet.15 Minutes is usually about all the alzheimers resident can process and stay focused for.
These tips are not fool proof and will work at times or may not.Just remember to be patient and try to enjoy your time with your resident.

101 Things to do with a person with Alzheimers:

1. Clip coupons
2. Sort poker chips
3. Count tickets
4. Rake leaves
5. Use the carpet sweeper
6. Read out loud
7. Bake cookies
8. Look up names in the phone book
9. Read the daily paper out loud
10. Ask someone with a child to visit
11. Listen to Polka music
12. Plant seeds indoors or out
13. Look at family photographs
14. Toss a ball
15. Color pictures
16. Make homemade lemonade
17. Wipe off the table
18. Weed the flower bed
19. Make cream cheese mints
20. Have a spelling bee
21. Read from the Reader's Digest
22. Fold clothes
23. Have a friend visit with a calm pet
24. Cut pictures out of greeting cards
25. Wash silverware
26. Bake homemade bread
27. Sort objects by shape or color
28. Sing old songs
29. "Tell me more" when they talk about a memory
30. Put silverware away
31. Make a Valentine collage
32. Play favorite songs and sing
33. Take a ride
34. Make a cherry pie
35. Read aloud from Ideals magazine
36. Play dreidels
37. Make a basket of socks
38. Take a walk
39. Reminisce about 1st day of school
40. String Cheerios to hang outside for birds
41. Make a fresh fruit salad
42. Sweep the patio
43. Color paper shamrocks green
44. Fold towels
45. Have afternoon tea
46. Remember great inventions
47. Play Pictionary
48. Paint a sheet
49. Cut out paper dolls
50. Identify states and capitals
51. Make a family tree poster
52. Color a picture of our flag
53. Cook hot dogs outside
54. Grow magic rocks
55. Water house plants
56. Reminisce about the first kiss
57. Play horse shoes
58. Dance
59. Sing favorite hymns
60. Make homemade ice cream
61. Force bulbs for winter blooming
62. Make Christmas cards
63. Sort playing cards by their color
64. Write a letter to a family member
65. Dress in your favorite football team's color
66. Pop popcorn
67. Name the presidents
68. Give a manicure
69. Make paper butterflies
70. Plant a tree
71. Make a May basket
72. Make homemade applesauce
73. Finish famous sayings
74. Feed the ducks
75. Mold with play dough
76. Look at pictures in National Geographic
77. Put a puzzle together
78. Sand wood
79. Rub in hand lotion
80. Decorate paper placemats
81. Arrange fresh flowers
82. Remember famous people
83. Straighten out underwear drawer
84. Finish Nursery Rhymes
85. Make peanut butter sandwiches
86. Wipe off patio furniture
87. Cut up used paper for scratch paper
88. Take care of fish tank
89. Trace and cut out leaves
90. Ask simple trivia questions
91. Finish Bible quotes
92. Paint with string
93. Cut out pictures from magazines
94. Read classic short stories
95. Put coins in a jar
96. Sew sewing cards
97. Put bird feed out for the birds
98. Clean out a pumpkin
99. Reminisce about a favorite summer
100. Roll yarn into a ball
101. Make a birthday cake

(from the Columbia, Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association)

Sample Activity calendar:
8:00 Breakfast
8:30 Clean-up
9:00 Grooming
9:30 Morning Social
10:00 Coffee,Current Events,and Chats
10:30 Groovin' to the Oldies exercise class
11:00 Lifeskills
12:00 Luchtime
1:00 Outdoor activity group
2:00 Snack Time
3:00 Lawrence Welk Music Hour
4:00 Nature Walk
5:00 Dinner
6:00 Evening Bingo
Tuesday, Thursday,and Saturdays:
8:00 Breakfast
8:30 Clean-up
9:00 Beauty /Grooming skills
9:30 Meet and Greet
10:00 Muffin Madness / Tea
10:30 Music Movement
11:00  Crafts
12:00 Lunchtime
1:00 Lifeskills
1:30 Pet Therapy
2:00 Snack time
2:30 Outting- Shopping trip-Wal-Mart and Longs Drugs
5:00 Dinner
6:00 Movie Matinee
8:00 Breakfast
8:30 Clean-up
9:00  Facials and Pretty Nails
10:00  Bagels and News
10:30  Seniorcise
11:00 Family Visits
12:00 Lunchtime
1:00 Lifeskills
2:00 Church Visits
3:00 Snacktime
4:00 Fun and Games
5:00 Dinnertime
6:00 Music Appreciation 

Use this link to bring beautiful music to your residents through your computer speakers~ Alzheimers Music Page

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Any questions or comments? e-mail me..

Senior Activity Ideas that work