Any ideas for early stimulation


Registered User
Mar 2, 2005
Hiya, I posted last week about my father in law, he's got a Dr's appointment this week and if he refuses to go, the Dr's going to come for a house visit.

I was wondering though if anyone knows anything we can do in early onset to keep his mind as active as possible. Him and mother in law never leave the house ever as it makes him uncomfortable and he doesn't like being out.

I'm reckoning that this isn't good for it, seems like giving in before you've even started, we all want to hide from it, but don't think we can. I'm just racking my brains to think of things around the house or garden that will keep him ticking over instead of letting him sit in front of the telly all day, not even watching it.



Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hello Jax

well, there is no one thing that works for everyone. It depends on the stage they are at, as well. Beyond a certain stage, nothing may work.

You need to experiment a bit, starting with things that your father in law has been interested in previously. Don't worry if that doesn't work, because it may only serve to remind him of faculties he knows he is losing. If that happens and he gets uneasy, then drop whatever it is at once. I found that I couldn't wean my wife onto anything she did not want to do at once.

Try anything - gardening, walking, talking, photographs, music, drawing and painting, ball games.... anything at all.

You may have to accept, if nothing works, that his being seated in front of the TV is better than some of the other things that might happen - for instance his walking out the door and getting lost.

Good luck.


Registered User
Sep 16, 2004
Dear Jax
Dominoes can be fun not to taxing, my husband played with them a lot for at least two years now he just puts cards in order. Hope this helps a little.
We always go to the shops I invent things that we can’t possibly do without to get him out of the house, he would just sit at home otherwise. I got rid of the car so that he has to walk or we would be driving all the time.


Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Hi Jax, my Mum liked helping with crosswords, she couldn't fill em in or always think of the answer but her spelling was brilliant to the end so we did loads of those. She also liked a simple puzzle for a while, gradually reducing in pieces as she got less able. She liked potting up plants, flower aranging, cleaning silver/copper bits etc. Singing along to Vera Lynne etc. She also liked to make packet puds, cheescake, angel delight type, so she was "cooking" still. Your Dad may enjoy some of these, or how about shoe polishing, digging, (that was good when Mum was in a hyper mood) weeding, watch the plants a bit or they get carried away!! cleaning the lower windows inside and looking and chatting/reminiscing about old photos etc. She also loved to natter on the phone to relatives given the chance, her sister and my daughter were brilliant with her there.With love, She. XX


Registered User
Mar 13, 2005
reply to Jax

Hi Jax - see U got several already, suggesting many of the things I was going to offer. Word/mind games are good - like simple crosswords, cards, etc., or try drawing/painting. Anything which uses the mind AND the hands is good, but be prepared for loss of interest after a very short time. Things that can he can come back to again & again are useful, which is why I suggest drawing or painting. Dad will have to be reminded each time what he was doing & why, but once started, paintings can be left & picked up on again later.

How about bird-watching? Put up a bird-table & buy him a pair of small binoculars. Mum can put out the food each morning & prompt him to sit & watch.


Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
Mum and I find that sitting at a table can concentrate Dad's mind a bit better than in a comfy chair. A change of scene can be a good stimulator. Sitting by a big window, he sometimes marvels at how high the areoplanes are ("I've never seen one that high"), or sees birds/animals moving.

While we're at the table we:
look through books with lots of colourful pictures (Dad likes to smooth the pages as I turn);
sort things in order - like duplo bricks, in colours or sizes, or fridge magnets - Dad can often spell words I wouldn't have thought he'd still know;
sing old songs (including The Beatles!) - Dad knows lots of the words.

I think one of the most fun things we do is to roll a small ball (or a piece of scrunched up paper) across the table at each other, sounds simple but keeps Dad (an old footballer) alert trying to stop a goal if it falls off his side!

Of course success always depends on Dad's mood (and ours), as already described.

Good luck jax.