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I need advice to help mother with boredom

ajnoselbon

New member
Oct 23, 2020
6
Myself and my husband are in our early 70s and care for my 92 year old mum. She has mid stage vascular dementia. The big problem is that she is almost blind, can walk a very few steps and gets extremely travel sick, is quite deaf and refuses, except on a rare occasion, to wear her hearing aids. I am at a complete loss as to how to keep her occupied. She wants my company all the time, and has to have either conversation or some kind of tv, music or story constantly. She just wants to be entertained. Her tastes are very limited e.g. Miss Read or biographies of certain favourite tv personalities (so long as they do not name drop or have an accent she cannot pick up easily). I have tried everything I can think of, but the bottom line is she would like a close friend. sadly they have died. She has 2 living sisters but cannot see them because of covid and too far to travel. I am stumped and mum is so unhappy. Any ideas how to keep mum happily occupied. ps she never dozes during the day. The worst time is the evening when I would really like to rest. However, if I put something on the tv mum does not like she lets us know, so we try to watch something in the kitchen for an hour in the evening. During that time mum will come and say she is lonely and wants company. Please, is there someone with more experience who can point me in the right direction. We have always been close but this is putting a strain on all 3 of us. However, we do not fall out over it, but do our utmost to stay calm. Many thanks.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
760
Mum has the TV on at 1000 decibels.
I sit with her, I watch my I Pad with big headphones on.
There is no way to drown out the noise of the main TV but I have mastered Coping with it to a certain extent.
Every now and then she talks to me, and I smile and try and look engaged, I have no hope of hearing above the two devices! I decipher her body language, if she is talking about the programme I just nod, and she seems satisfied, but if it looks like a conversation I turn off the IPad.

So there you are, a rubbish tip to start you off !
I hope the next person along can do better than that!
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,352
Get her a cat, real or stuffed.
Really, would a companion animal help, it is known to, most Care homes have cats, they are an independant animal, and seem to know if company is wanted.
An older animal from a rescue centre, might not be a lot of trouble. BUT it will be your responsibility.

Bod.
Ps Toy stuffed, not real stuffed.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,946
South coast
Have you tried employing someone as a companion a couple of times a week?
Introduce them slowly, as a friend of yours. To start with make them tea and everyone chat together. You might have to stay with them for a couple of times then once she is happy with this new person, sneak of to go to the loo, or do something in the kitchen for a while, and gradually extend the time that they are alone together.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
760
Get her a cat, real or stuffed.
Really, would a companion animal help, it is known to, most Care homes have cats, they are an independant animal, and seem to know if company is wanted.
An older animal from a rescue centre, might not be a lot of trouble. BUT it will be your responsibility.

Bod.
Ps Toy stuffed, not real stuffed.
That is such a good idea.
My mum is going to receive a ’ Joy for all robotic cat‘ for Christmas . Available from Amazon or EBay.
Glad you clarified the stuffed !!!!
1603523750205.jpeg
1603523750205.jpeg
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
760
Sorry I just realised it would have been a lot more considerate to post a picture of the Joy for all cat.
1603524243583.jpeg
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,946
South coast
I must be in a strange mood this morning @Weasell - I scrolled down the thread and when that picture of a stuffed cat popped up I just burst into laughter. It looks more scared than scary!
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
1,832
cornwall
Myself and my husband are in our early 70s and care for my 92 year old mum. She has mid stage vascular dementia. The big problem is that she is almost blind, can walk a very few steps and gets extremely travel sick, is quite deaf and refuses, except on a rare occasion, to wear her hearing aids. I am at a complete loss as to how to keep her occupied. She wants my company all the time, and has to have either conversation or some kind of tv, music or story constantly. She just wants to be entertained. Her tastes are very limited e.g. Miss Read or biographies of certain favourite tv personalities (so long as they do not name drop or have an accent she cannot pick up easily). I have tried everything I can think of, but the bottom line is she would like a close friend. sadly they have died. She has 2 living sisters but cannot see them because of covid and too far to travel. I am stumped and mum is so unhappy. Any ideas how to keep mum happily occupied. ps she never dozes during the day. The worst time is the evening when I would really like to rest. However, if I put something on the tv mum does not like she lets us know, so we try to watch something in the kitchen for an hour in the evening. During that time mum will come and say she is lonely and wants company. Please, is there someone with more experience who can point me in the right direction. We have always been close but this is putting a strain on all 3 of us. However, we do not fall out over it, but do our utmost to stay calm. Many thanks.
Hi. My dad is about the same stage as your mum. He also has VD. I have to sit with him and talk about the weather etc. He also listens to music and watches tv. There is very little to interest him as he does not have the concentration to keep it up for a length of time. I have given him some photos in a book to look at but that only lasts a while.I’m sorry I cannot be more helpful.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
760
Many thanks for the scaredy-cat feedback.
@ajnoselbon , I have been thinking a little more and have a few more points to make.
I have overheard my mother complain of being lonely to her sister on the phone, when I have been in the next room!
I have heard her also complain of boredom one hour after declining my offer to take her to the garden center.

It is also possible your mother is sundowning, which would cause her behaviour to deteriorate.

when your mother complains, do you become agitated, ( letting your body language disclose this) and offer suggestions of activities and generally give her lots of attention?
Because if you do you are ‘rewarding negative behaviour’ !
When she complains I would try saying in a flat voice ‘ yes I am bored too and I am 30 years younger than you’. Then walk off.
This method works well with most groups, it is not so successful With dementia, due to them not being on a learning curve, and sometimes struggling to remember What you said half an hour ago. But it could be something to try.
 

ajnoselbon

New member
Oct 23, 2020
6
Mum has the TV on at 1000 decibels.
I sit with her, I watch my I Pad with big headphones on.
There is no way to drown out the noise of the main TV but I have mastered Coping with it to a certain extent.
Every now and then she talks to me, and I smile and try and look engaged, I have no hope of hearing above the two devices! I decipher her body language, if she is talking about the programme I just nod, and she seems satisfied, but if it looks like a conversation I turn off the IPad.

So there you are, a rubbish tip to start you off !
I hope the next person along can do better than that!
That is a trick I try to employ. It is mostly Judge Judy as the stories are very short. There are other reality type things like Caught on Camera that she likes even though she cannot see it. I have bought 60 pairs of reasonably efficient ear plugs. Mum will use headphones if I sit with her, but for some strange reason not hearing aids. Thanks for your response. It is helpful even when it is something I have tried because at least it kind of validates my efforts.
 

ajnoselbon

New member
Oct 23, 2020
6
Many thanks for the scaredy-cat feedback.
@ajnoselbon , I have been thinking a little more and have a few more points to make.
I have overheard my mother complain of being lonely to her sister on the phone, when I have been in the next room!
I have heard her also complain of boredom one hour after declining my offer to take her to the garden center.

It is also possible your mother is sundowning, which would cause her behaviour to deteriorate.

when your mother complains, do you become agitated, ( letting your body language disclose this) and offer suggestions of activities and generally give her lots of attention?
Because if you do you are ‘rewarding negative behaviour’ !
When she complains I would try saying in a flat voice ‘ yes I am bored too and I am 30 years younger than you’. Then walk off.
This method works well with most groups, it is not so successful With dementia, due to them not being on a learning curve, and sometimes struggling to remember What you said half an hour ago. But it could be something to try.
Thanks so much. I feel guilty most of the time for not being able to keep her occupied. I have heard of sun downing and will look up what sort of things to expect as our mums sound similar. I have also found my mum can do something she wants to. For instance she has been saying she needs help in dressing in the morning - laying out her clothes in a particular order and then going through them item by item as she puts them on. This morning we had flu jabs to get to. For a reason I cannot fathom, mum was up, a quick wash, dressed, found her shoes within 15 minutes! Mum may not be on a learning curve, but my husband and i certainly are!!
Your reply and others are so helpful and have given me hope and much food for thought. Thank you
 

ajnoselbon

New member
Oct 23, 2020
6
Hi. My dad is about the same stage as your mum. He also has VD. I have to sit with him and talk about the weather etc. He also listens to music and watches tv. There is very little to interest him as he does not have the concentration to keep it up for a length of time. I have given him some photos in a book to look at but that only lasts a while.I’m sorry I cannot be more helpful.
It is extremely helpful as I can see others struggle just like we do. That of itself is a kind of perverse comfort as I am seeing that there is no real answer. Dementia is a horrid illness for all.
 

ajnoselbon

New member
Oct 23, 2020
6
It is extremely helpful as I can see others struggle just like we do. That of itself is a kind of perverse comfort as I am seeing that there is no real answer. Dementia is a horrid illness for all.
 

ajnoselbon

New member
Oct 23, 2020
6
Get her a cat, real or stuffed.
Really, would a companion animal help, it is known to, most Care homes have cats, they are an independant animal, and seem to know if company is wanted.
An older animal from a rescue centre, might not be a lot of trouble. BUT it will be your responsibility.

Bod.
Ps Toy stuffed, not real stuffed.
I really thought about this one. My mum would love a dog. I spoke about it to my husband this morning and he is not keen on the idea because from experience we have both learnt that for my mum the grass is always greener somewhere else. I will continue to consider it. It is a big decision. Toy cat or dog maybe.....she has a few small stuffed schnauzers in her bedroom (toy naturally. Thanks for the smiles!