Activities for the 'extremely confused'

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Marnie63, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. Marnie63

    Marnie63 Registered User

    Dec 26, 2015
    Hello all,

    I've posted before - mum became confused very suddenly a few months ago. She has now been diagnosed with Vascular Dementia (though the psychiatrist still maintains her onset and symptoms are very atypical - which in turn makes me cling onto the hope (silly, I know) that there might be something else wrong with her ...). Home carer visits are working well, first day care visit was a bit odd, but we are trying another next week, and she is now No.3 on the list at the care home, so I am probably treading the same path as many in this awful journey.

    My issue is that while she is here with me at home, I just cannot get her interested in anything due to the extent of her confusion. She stares at the TV without understanding it's a programme as she has lost all sense of reality, and any reading matter upsets her. The only things so far which she seems to take any interest in are washing dishes and a bit of embroidery. I'm thinking of visiting a toy shop to see if I can buy a few toys for very young children - maybe some cards with pictures or some shapes or something like that. Does anyone here also care for someone with a very high degree of confusion - and do you have any ideas on how to keep her 'entertained'? I suppose it's OK for her to stare are the TV and not do much else, but I can't help thinking I should try something else.

    It's very wearing trying to find something to keep her occupied.
  2. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    Hi Marnie63

    Sorry to read of your Mum's confusion, it is difficult to know what will help as everyone is different. Sometimes it can be helpful to just have some beautiful nature images on a digital frame rather than TV that is more confusing. It can be calming and doesn't need understanding.

    If she like embroidery maybe have a box of mixed embroidery threads that she can sort into colours?

    I hope you find something that helps.

    Best wishes
  3. Quilty

    Quilty Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    What about a baby doll or other type of soft toy. One of the ladies in my mums care home has a toy seal that she sits and strokes. I know others do enjoy a baby doll.
    Hope it helps
  4. PollyP

    PollyP Registered User

    Nov 1, 2013
    I have the same with my Mum - she used to be very active and enjoy creative activities, so it's quite distressing to see her just sitting or dozing. She does play patience (card games) - if you watch her she cheats like crazy! Regarding TV, she responds to programmes with animals or slapstick comedy - she can't follow anything so it has to have a strong and immediate visual impact. We also spend time looking at photo albums; also scrapbooks of birthday cards which she made up when she was younger.

    One thing I've discovered - she used to love puzzles like crosswords etc - one day I left a Sudoku lying around and to my surprise she had a very good go at completing it. She has no memory of doing them before, but she obviously does remember the rules. Now I photocopy them up onto individual sheets and leave a thick pen for her (this is because her eyesight is not brilliant). But it does show that she still has her intelligence despite the dementia which makes her very confused.

    Also, a friend who works in a day centre tells me about a lady who did nothing until someone brought some flower arranging in, when she came to life - it used to be her hobby.

    So I would suggest trying activities which your Mum used to enjoy (everyone is different), but be prepared to adapt them. And don't feel guilty if you can't spend much time being 'entertainments officer'. My Mum is often quite content just to look out of the window and watch the world go by.

    Wishing you all the best
  5. onlyme1

    onlyme1 Registered User

    Sep 10, 2011
    how about singing together? can you take her to a singing for the brain group?
  6. mancmum

    mancmum Registered User

    Feb 6, 2012
    About the embroidery

    Just because this is what I do to stay sane and partly because it is something my grandmother did so is embedded in very long term memory.

    You can get a plastic mesh to embroider on using a large needle and may be wool or silks that are not split. If she needs to follow a design you could put one on with marker pen. Try Hobbycraft for this.

    Of course you can do the same with pictures on cardboard.

    I buy silks second hand on ebay. Sometimes they are from kits so are precut. My Dad sorts them into colours. You can get little plastic cards to wind silks onto and little compartmentalised boxes to keep them in. Unravelling not too knotted batches of silks is thearapeutic thing. My dad does this for me. Just sorting through the colours of silks and looking at them is a nice thing to do. I buy half finished embroidery on ebay and finish them off...(its massively cheaper and the quality is better).
  7. Marnie63

    Marnie63 Registered User

    Dec 26, 2015
    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    Mancmum - yes, I buy tapestries/wools on ebay too - much, much cheaper! Funnily, mum has been doing tapestry with wool, but in the past few days has gone off it saying that she keeps getting it wrong (though actually she does it right). Sadly, I think the confusion is even affecting her ability to understand that. I will persevere with the tapestry. I have one on the go as well so sometimes sit and do that to encourage her to do hers (but that defeats the object of getting her occupied with something so that I can catch up with jobs!).

    I am praying that I can get her through the door of the home again for day care on Tuesday as a full day of me catching up with myself seems like a real luxury right now. One thing about caring for someone with this illness is that it makes you appreciate the simple things in life that you used to do (without any cares or worries ...).

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