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Inspiration needed!

blueboy

Registered User
Feb 21, 2015
125
My Mum aged 93 has dementia to the extent that she is incontinent and has carers 4 times a day. However, so far, she still lives in her own home but refuses daycare etc. I visit most days but am finding it increasingly difficult due to her constant repetitive questions and very limited conversation. She has AMD, doesn't watch TV any more or listen to the radio. Is there anything I could perhaps do with her when I visit to make the visit more pleasurable for both of us? Because of the AMD it is very difficult to look at old photos etc and she never wants to listen to music. I try to resurrect old memories but not very successfully on the whole.
I am the only relative who visits most of the time and would very much like the visits to be more enjoyable for both of us. Any ideas? I know I am very lucky in that she is 'no bother' but there must be some way we could connect better.
 

Sue J

Registered User
Dec 9, 2009
8,035
My Mum aged 93 has dementia to the extent that she is incontinent and has carers 4 times a day. However, so far, she still lives in her own home but refuses daycare etc. I visit most days but am finding it increasingly difficult due to her constant repetitive questions and very limited conversation. She has AMD, doesn't watch TV any more or listen to the radio. Is there anything I could perhaps do with her when I visit to make the visit more pleasurable for both of us? Because of the AMD it is very difficult to look at old photos etc and she never wants to listen to music. I try to resurrect old memories but not very successfully on the whole.
I am the only relative who visits most of the time and would very much like the visits to be more enjoyable for both of us. Any ideas? I know I am very lucky in that she is 'no bother' but there must be some way we could connect better.
Hello blueboy,

it is very difficult when sight gets weaker and conversation too is limited. I wonder if a tactile object, would help e.g. a teddy bear or something that she would have once been interested in. It can be surprising how even one small thing can promote conversation that breaks the monotony. Maybe 'ignore' her 'doesn't want to listen to music' and do it anyway unless of course it causes distress. She's maybe forgotten what pleasure it can bring until someone plays it for her.

Fragrant flowers if she can smell ok or a plant that she can touch with bright flowers - Kalanchoes have thick leaves and bright blooms.

Hope you find something that works.
Best wishes
Sue:)
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
My Mum aged 93 has dementia to the extent that she is incontinent and has carers 4 times a day. However, so far, she still lives in her own home but refuses daycare etc. I visit most days but am finding it increasingly difficult due to her constant repetitive questions and very limited conversation. She has AMD, doesn't watch TV any more or listen to the radio. Is there anything I could perhaps do with her when I visit to make the visit more pleasurable for both of us? Because of the AMD it is very difficult to look at old photos etc and she never wants to listen to music. I try to resurrect old memories but not very successfully on the whole.
I am the only relative who visits most of the time and would very much like the visits to be more enjoyable for both of us. Any ideas? I know I am very lucky in that she is 'no bother' but there must be some way we could connect better.
The other day I saw some tactile dominoes - they have furry spots on them making them easier to count - I saw them being used in a care home with some quite advanced residents but it might not be her 'thing'

The other thing I saw which again might not be suitable was a large breadboard and onto it they had firmly screwed down things like a push bell, an old fashioned light switch which you flick up and down, a door lock with a chain and some other twiddly bits and pieces from an ordinary hardware store. I just thought it was a great idea for people to fiddle around with. She must be bored, how on earth does she spend her days? Is there no music she likes - even if it is out of season carols, or hymns if she went to Church as a young girl (my ma never stopped loving 'all things bright and beautiful'? I don't suppose audio books are great although some of the short stories are good and some of the Roald Dahl books provide some amusement.

You've probably tried everything x Good luck
 

blueboy

Registered User
Feb 21, 2015
125
Thanks both! Not sure that she gets bored as she sleeps a lot when she is on her own. She doesn't seem to be in to tactile things and her sense of smell has declined a lot. I honestly think she would be better in care where she would maybe get more stimulation but she refuses and wants to die in her own home. Ah well, guess I will have to keep answering constant repeated questions. I have read 'Compassionate Communication' so try my best to follow the guidelines in that.
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
Thanks both! Not sure that she gets bored as she sleeps a lot when she is on her own. She doesn't seem to be in to tactile things and her sense of smell has declined a lot. I honestly think she would be better in care where she would maybe get more stimulation but she refuses and wants to die in her own home. Ah well, guess I will have to keep answering constant repeated questions. I have read 'Compassionate Communication' so try my best to follow the guidelines in that.
My mum had a cute little very very soft lamb which was also a wheat bag so you put in into the microwave and it warmed up in a few minutes, she just loved holding it and took it to bed with her every night - it might be worth a try, even I find them comforting. We bought it at our local chemist and it served two purposes, comforting warmth and soft to touch
If she is happy where she is then I wouldn't push for a home unless it is difficult for either her or you to cope - if she wants to die in her own home then it is great for her to be able to and she might find the noise and confusion of a care home too much although she could stay in her room, see how you manage and yes, do keep posting xx
 

Louby65

Registered User
Mar 26, 2014
619
Scotland
Hi blueboy , I found a game called Quirkle which you match colours or shapes with . My mums concentration isn't good either but she quite enjoys playing this . It's a bit like dominoes which she plays too. We do jigsaws also which are more geared towards people with dementia ( big jigsaw pieces and not many to piece together ) . Have you thought about putting the photos onto the television screen . It will make them bigger and she may be able to see them better . Anythings worth a try to make the day a bit better for both of you . Good luck . Lou
 

blueboy

Registered User
Feb 21, 2015
125
Thanks all but she has never been one for games or jigsaws! I did buy her a snowman which can be put in the microwave for Christmas and she spoke to it a bit then cast that aside. She was always very active, doing housework and gardening but, of course,does neither now. I will just have to persevere with the old memories, I guess though she remembers fewer and fewer of them. Like many others on here I hate to watch the sad decline..
 

arielsmelody

Registered User
Jul 16, 2015
516
Could you possibly find something that you could do while you are talking to her - something practical like baking a cake, or knitting, drawing, jigsaw puzzle, even cleaning. It sounds as if she doesn't need your 100% attention while you are there, and it's not really her that needs to be occupied, she's got you to talk to (in her own way), it is you that needs something to keep you busy to stop you getting so bored.
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
I am always surprised at how people take to things that they would never have taken to before the dementia so it is always worth trying a few new things - bits and pieces can be bought from charity shops and boot fairs for next to nothing to just try out
 

lori107

Registered User
Nov 4, 2014
45
Thanks everyone. I will see if I can find anything to amuse her.
Hi blueboy,

Just to reassure you that we are in the same situation. Fil has AMD, and dementia and we really struggle to keep him stimulated. He won't listen to the radio we got him, can't look at photos as he is virtually blind and has no interest in anything any more. He is currently in a care home and at least they have him helping pot seeds and have entertainers going in twice a week. Before he broke his hip in October he was in his flat on his own and did nothing all day every day. Even when we visited him he wouldn't listen to music or anything, he just hankered after what he couldn't do like driving in his car or playing bowls. It is really difficult as he struggles also to converse properly so everything gets really confusing. I wish you luck

Lori
Xx
 

Rodelinda

Registered User
Jun 15, 2015
172
Suffolk
As others have said, you're not on your own. My mother also has AMD and hearing problems to add to the dementia and seems to spend a lot of time sleeping and everything I try to engage her doesn't seem to get anywhere. She lives with us which probably makes things a bit easier as I can try to get her involved with tasks to help with supper and can pop in with cups of tea and a brief chat and to show her things. I also try to get her to sit in the kitchen while I'm doing stuff. We get repeated questions but I've sort of settled into the rhythm of answering them. I sometimes find she is content just for me to sit with her and have a cup of tea even if we don't talk. I'm trying to relax into this which is hard as she was always a 'doer' and very busy making things and at first I still hankering after recreating that though more recently have recognised that was then, and this is now.

Although she has no short term (working) memory, things do trigger older memories so I ask questions (never 'do you remember') to try to to do this and it does work sometimes.

I think I've found relaxing into it to be the best and hope that she is just content that someone is with her. Good luck.
 

Hubbard

Registered User
Jan 5, 2016
2
My Mum aged 93 has dementia to the extent that she is incontinent and has carers 4 times a day. However, so far, she still lives in her own home but refuses daycare etc. I visit most days but am finding it increasingly difficult due to her constant repetitive questions and very limited conversation. She has AMD, doesn't watch TV any more or listen to the radio. Is there anything I could perhaps do with her when I visit to make the visit more pleasurable for both of us? Because of the AMD it is very difficult to look at old photos etc and she never wants to listen to music. I try to resurrect old memories but not very successfully on the whole.
I am the only relative who visits most of the time and would very much like the visits to be more enjoyable for both of us. Any ideas? I know I am very lucky in that she is 'no bother' but there must be some way we could connect better.
hello blueboy. have you tried you tube? it is a godsend as you can find anything to act as a reminder. we care for anne,and i have watched stavros flatley 50 times and even susan boyle.andrea bocelli is a fave,but i wouldn't know if your mum can hear or see the telly.we,ve added a sony soundbar to boost the sound.we took anne to the panto yesterday and she was mesmerised at 61 years old.if it helps,my own mum would have been 95 had she lived past 1970 when i was 14.try basil fawlty thrashing his car.anne talks gobbledegook and it is at it's best or worst at three o'clock a.m, so we would think a miracle had occurred if anne asked a question.keep your chin up because you are doing a fantastic job. all the best, alan